Classical Music News of the Week, May 2, 2020

Pianist Shai Wosner Joins Piano Faculty of Bard College Conservatory of Music

Pianist Shai Wosner has been named to the piano faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he will teach a piano studio and coach chamber music starting in fall 2020. He will balance these activities with a busy concert schedule of recitals, orchestral engagements, and chamber collaborations around the world each season, as well as with his work as a recording artist for Onyx Classics.

Frank Corliss, Director of the Bard College Conservatory, said:
"We are very excited to welcome Shai Wosner to the Bard Conservatory faculty. He joins us after the recent tragic passing of our esteemed piano faculty member Peter Serkin, and we are happy that Mr. Wosner will continue that great artist's legacy of dedication to the highest musical and educational ideals."

Shai Wosner said:
"I am deeply honored to now be on faculty at Bard Conservatory. Growing up, I had the great fortune of learning from teachers who were not only brilliant artists, but also wonderful, caring people, and this spurred in me a desire to pay their instruction forward, whether in master classes, workshops, or­ my new duties at Bard. Furthermore, I look forward to being a part of the Bard family, to making great music with my colleagues and students, and to being part of this great institution's future."

For more information about Shai Wosner, visit shaiwosner.com, and follow him on Facebook (facebook.com/ShaiWosner) and Twitter (@ShaiWosnerPiano).

For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, visit bard.edu/conservatory.

--John Hamby, Shuman Associates

Doug Balliett's "Morning Meditation": Listen Now
We at Experiential Orchestra are beginning a new series called "Morning Meditations," where we share a 1-2 minute musical meditation on our YouTube channel every Sunday. There's a lot of content out there; we hope this will be well-deserved short moment of beauty and fascination in your day.

Our first offering, available immediately, is by EXO Creative Partner Doug Balliett, who composed the music and also created the videography. We are grateful to Doug for this beautiful piece.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYAs7rif4yw&feature=youtu.be

--James Blachly, Music Director, Experiential Orchestra

The Crossing Releases New Film Featuring David Lang's "protect yourself from infection"
Today, Grammy-winning choir The Crossing, led by Donald Nally, releases a new film featuring David Lang's "protect yourself from infection," a work commissioned by the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia for their September 2019 parade and new, permanent Spit Spreads Death exhibition commemorating the centennial of the 1918-19 Spanish Influenza pandemic. Performance Today will broadcast the new recording of Lang's "protect yourself from infection" on more than 280 public radio stations nationwide this week. The film is conceived by conductor Donald Nally, with a film by Brett Snodgrass based on artwork of founding Crossing tenor Steven Bradshaw and audio compiled and produced by The Crossing's sound designer Paul Vazquez.

The subject matter of David Lang's "protect yourself from infection" closely echoes the current state of global affairs, specifically at a time when America is faced with difficult decisions regarding the reopening of states during the global COVID-19 pandemic, a dilemma that has been most closely compared to the 1918-19 Spanish Influenza epidemic which killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide. Philadelphia's ill-fated Liberty Loan Parade, a patriotic wartime effort on September 28, 1918, went forward despite warnings from medical experts; it caused Philadelphia to have the highest death rate of any major American city during the pandemic. Nearly 14,000 people died in six weeks, one death every five minutes; more than 17,500 died in six months.

Watch the film, "protect yourself from infection": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejY4xvJQxtU

Learn more about The Crossing: www.crossingchoir.org

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Online Stream of "Semmelweis" - A Music-Theater Work Inspired by the "Unsung Pioneer of Handwashing"
An online stream of the world premiere production of "Semelweis," a music-theater work inspired by one of medicine's most tragic heroes, Hungarian doctor Ignác Semmelweis, will launch on Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 1PM ET, at www.Doctor-Semmelweis.com, and will be available for one month. "Semmelweis" was created by American composer Raymond J. Lustig, Irish-American writer Matthew Doherty, and Hungarian director Martin Boross. The world premiere performance in 2018 was co-produced by Budapest Operetta Theatre and Bartók Plusz Opera Festival. It will be free to watch, but viewers may make donations via the website to support organizations currently working to understand and combat the global coronavirus pandemic, and to alleviate its toll, especially on the most vulnerable populations: UNICEF USA, Alight, and the Semmelweis Foundation.

The obstetrician Ignác Semmelweis – who championed the practice of handwashing in the 19th century that is the foundation of today's antiseptic procedures – has had a resurgence of interest during the current coronavirus outbreak. Semmelweis was an "outsider," a "foreign" doctor, Hungarian, but living and working in Vienna's top hospital in a xenophobic era. Amidst a devastating epidemic in 1846, Dr. Semmelweis discovered that the deadly disease was being spread to healthy mothers by the unclean hands of their own doctors. Tragically, the medical community rebelled against Semmelweis' discovery. They scoffed at his findings, rejected his theory, stripped him of his credentials, and the doctor was subsequently driven into an insane asylum where he died alone. It was not until decades later that his discovery was validated and accepted.

Watch "Semmelweis" here: https://doctor-semmelweis.com/

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart - "an opera in disguise..."
Pianist Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart continues this week with the 2nd movement, Andante amoroso, from Sonata No. 3, K. 281, available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, April 29.

"This could absolutely be a scene from an opera," says Ms. Shaham. "Mozart wrote "andante amoroso" after he met Aloysia Weber, his first love and sister of his future wife Constanza!"

Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart gives you exclusive access to a different movement of a Mozart piano sonata, available for a whole week, free! Get your weekly dose of Mozart each Wednesday, and enjoy it until the following Wednesday when it will be replaced by the next installment, at OrliShahamMozart.com.

--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

New Book: "Conducting Opera: Where Theater Meets Music"
University of North Texas Press announces the May 2020 publication of "Conducting Opera: Where Theater Meets Music" by renowned conductor Joseph Rescigno. The book discusses operas in the standard repertory from the perspective of a conductor with a lifetime of experience performing them. It focuses on Joseph Rescigno's approach to preparing and performing these masterworks so that the full greatness of each opera can be realized.

Opening with a chapter discussing his performance philosophy, Rescigno then covers Mozart's most frequently-performed operas; standards of the bel canto school including "Il barbiere di Siviglia"; five of Verdi's works including "La traviata"; a selection of Wagner's compositions; French Romantic operas such as "Carmen"; Puccini's major works; and finally four operas by Richard Strauss. An appendix contains a convenient guide to scores available online.

"Conducting Opera" includes practical advice about propelling a story forward and bringing out the drama that the music is meant to express, as well as how to fully support singers. Rescigno identifies especially problematic passages, supplies suggestions on how to navigate them, and provides advice on staying true to the several styles under discussion.

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

Los Angeles Master Chorale to Pay Musicians Lost Wages in 2019-2020 Season
The Los Angeles Master Chorale announced today that it would compensate singers for lost wages resulting from 2019-20 season concerts canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the Master Chorale will provide 91% of the orchestra musicians' wages, as well as full benefits, lost due to the cancelation of the Faure Requiem concert, which was scheduled to take place on March 28 and 29, 2020. Additional canceled performances include "Come Away to the Skies: A Celebration of Alice Parker," and the High School Choir Festival. Rachmaninoff's All-night Vigil, scheduled to take place on June 13 and 14, 2020, has not been canceled as of yet, but musicians will be compensated regardless of whether or not the show will go on as planned.

The Master Chorale is successfully able to provide compensation for the remainder of the 2019-20 season thanks to the contributions of its board of directors, particularly Honorary Director Lillian Pierson Lovelace; Secretary Courtand Palmer, who made a challenge grant to support the musicians; and those directors who responded to the challenge, including Robert Hanisee, Alex Romain, Jennifer Rosenfeld, and Chair Philip A. Swan. The Master Chorale applied and was granted funding from the federal government's CARES Act and Small Business Administration's Payroll Protection Program.

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of May 4–10)
Monday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m. ET:
The Gilmore presents Jonathan Biss
https://www.thegilmore.org/

Monday, May 4 as of 2:00 p.m. CT:
Baritone Steven LaBrie, recently recovered from COVID-19, performs for Tulsa Opera followers
https://tulsaopera.com/

Monday, May 4 at 6:00 p.m. ET:
Jen Shyu hosts Jazz Gallery Happy Hour Hang
https://www.jazzgallery.org/calendar/happy-hour-jen-shyu

Tuesday, May 5 at 2:00 p.m. ET (subsequently available for 24 hours only):
2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit performs Virtually Gilmore finale recital
https://www.thegilmore.org/

Tuesday, May 5 as of 1:00 p.m. PT: James Conlon discusses Beaumarchais and Mozart
on LA Opera James Conlon at Home podcast
https://soundcloud.com/laopera

Wednesday, May 6 as of 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera's Staying Alive continues with "semi-staged" selection from Sweeney Todd
https://tulsaopera.com/

Thursday, May 7 at 7:00 p.m. PT:
UCLA virtual talk with James Conlon: "So you think you don't like Pelléas and Mélisande?"
https://schoolofmusic.ucla.edu/event/james-conlon-introduction-to-pelleas-et-melisande/

Friday, May 8 as of 2:00 p.m. CT:
Madison Leonard sings George & Ira Gershwin's "Love Is Here to Stay," accompanied by Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker
https://tulsaopera.com/

Friday, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
New World Symphony's NWS Fellows: Live from our Living Room
https://www.facebook.com/NewWorldSymphony/

Saturday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
Jennifer Koh's Alone Together series continues with Part VI
https://www.facebook.com/jenniferkohviolin/

Minnesota Orchestra at Home
https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/community-education/lifelong-learning/minnesota-orchestra-at-home

--Shuman Associates

JoAnn Falletta  and the Buffalo Philharmonic WNED Classical to Present Weekly Broadcasts of Archived Live Concert Recordings
Over the next several weeks, JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic musicians is partnering with WNED Classical, Buffalo Toronto Public Media's Classical music station, to broadcast free archived live recordings of BPO concerts. The BPO musicians have made a gift of their archived orchestral concerts to share with our audiences while their concert hall is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BPO concerts will be available each Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the next several weeks by tuning in to 94.5 FM, or by streaming at wned.org/classical, via the WNED Classical mobile app, or by listening to WNED Classical via smart speaker.

For complete information, visit https://bpo.org/

--Genevieve Spielberg Inc.

Colorado Music Festival Announces Cancellation of Summer Festival
The board of directors of the Colorado Music Festival (CMF) announces cancellation of the 2020 Colorado Music Festival, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The six-week summer concert series was scheduled to take place June 25 through August 1 at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder, Colorado.

"While we are faced with the disappointment of canceling this year's Colorado Music Festival, we are grateful to have the opportunity to offer a virtual festival." For more information, visit https://coloradomusicfestival.org/

--Kirshbaum Associates Inc.

American Bach Soloists Will Be Here for You
Picture it…concert houses open…musicians in concert dress…patrons awaiting the downbeat…life has returned to normal…this is what we're all waiting for. American Bach Soloists will be here for you when we're able to reopen and when you're ready to venture out. Until then, we hope that you are being moved by our musical selections sent via e-mail as part of your daily engagement with us. (If you are not currently receiving them, you can visit americanbach.org/athome.)

Our first priority at ABS is the health and safety of our patrons, musicians, and staff. We are continuing to plan for the 2020 ABS Festival and Academy while we monitor up-to-the-minute information from the federal, state, and local governments concerning COVID-19, but because of this uncertainty, we have not yet placed tickets on sale. In coordination with our board of directors, we will release an official decision before June 1 concerning the status of the Festival and programming into the fall. We are considering our options with regards to physical distancing and creative presentations. In the meantime, you can visit our website, americanbach.org, and peruse our current plans for the Festival, as well as our 2020-2021 subscription season.

--Don Scott Carpenter, ABS

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor of The $ensible Sound magazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simple-minded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me -- point out recordings that I think I might enjoy.

For readers who might be wondering about what kind of system I am using to do my listening, I should probably point out that I do a LOT of music listening and employ a variety of means to do so in a variety of environments, as I would imagine many music lovers also do. Starting at the more grandiose end of the scale, the system in which I do my most serious listening comprises an Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. I also do a lot of listening while driving in my 2016 Acura RDX with its nice-sounding ELS Studio sound system through which I play CDs (the ones I especially like I rip to the Acura's hard drive so that I can listen to them whenever I want) or stream music through the system using my LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. For more casual listening at home when I am not in my listening room, I often stream music through the phone into a Vizio soundbar system that has remarkably nice sound for such a diminutive physical presence. And finally, at the least grandiose end of the scale, I have an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker for those occasions where I am somewhere by myself without a sound system but in desperate need of a musical fix. I just can't imagine life without music and I am humbly grateful for the technology that enables us to enjoy it in so many wonderful ways.
Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

I initially embraced classical music in 1954 when I mistuned my car radio and heard the Heifetz recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. That inspired me to board the new "hi-fi" DIY bandwagon. In 1957 I joined one of the pioneer semiconductor makers and spent the next 32 years marketing transistors and microcircuits to military contractors. Home audio DIY projects remained a personal passion until 1989 when we created our own new photography equipment company. I later (2012) revived my interest in two channel audio when we "downsized" our life and determined that mini-monitors + paired subwoofers were a great way to mate fine music with the space constraints of condo living.

Visitors that view my technical papers on this site may wonder why they appear here, rather than on a site that features audio equipment reviews. My reason is that I tried the latter, and prefer to publish for people who actually want to listen to music; not to equipment. My focus is in describing what's technically beneficial to assure that the sound of the system will accurately replicate the source input signal (i. e. exhibit high accuracy) without inordinate cost and complexity. Conversely, most of the audiophiles of today strive to achieve sound that's euphonic, i.e. be personally satisfying. In essence, audiophiles seek sound that's consistent with their desire; the music is simply a test signal.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job. --John J. Puccio

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@gmail.com

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa