Haydn and Hummel: Concertos for Violin, Piano and Orchestra (CD review)

Solomiya Ivakhiv, violin; Antonio Pompa-Baldi, piano; Theodore Kuchar, Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. Centaur Records CRC 3742.

It’s not unusual to find works by Austrian composer Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and fellow Austrian composer and child piano prodigy Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) paired on the same record album. The two were, after all, contemporaries for a while, although Haydn was by far the older man. Hummel was for time a time Haydn’s pupil, and Haydn even wrote a sonata for him to play. But the two pieces often paired are the trumpet concertos they wrote, not, as here, their double concertos for violin, piano, and orchestra.

So the present disc is a sort of novelty, a revealing one, and excellently played by Ukrainian violinist Dr. Solomiya Ivakhiv, Italian pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi, well-known conductor Theodore Kuchar, and the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra.

The first of the two concertos on the disc is the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra in F Major, Hob. XVIII:6, written in 1766 by Franz Joseph Haydn. The music sounds about as “classical” as one can imagine, with zippy violin and piano parts and sweet, catchy little tunes. This could be Haydn or Mozart or any of their contemporaries. Except that in the hands of Haydn, there’s never a letdown of sparkling melodies. More important, Ms. Ivakhiv and Mr. Pompa-Baldi perform wonderfully together, their duets a delight in phrasing, nuance, and solidarity. There is absolutely no stuffiness about this playing, just a constant outpouring of joy. Even the central Largo, which might have appeared lethargic in anybody else’s hands, exhibits a radiant beauty. And I suppose a shout-out to Maestro Kuchar is also in order, even though his and his ensemble’s contributions are overshadowed by the soloists. The accompaniment is nothing but gracious and supportive. So, a bit of sometimes overlooked Haydn gets a welcome new realization.

Solomiya Ivakhiv
The complementary selection on the program is the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra in G Major, Op. 17, written around 1805 by Johann Hummel. One can still hear the classical echoes of Haydn in the music, but it has a more voluminous, more mature aspect to it than most earlier, eighteenth-century works. And it’s longer than the Haydn, while neither here nor there a notable feature as concertos and symphonies tended to get lengthier over time. The second-movement theme and variations are a standout and more than ever may remind one of Mozart.

We also find in the Hummel the piano taking a more prominent part in the proceedings, even though the violin still dominates. And we get a more ample sound from the orchestra. However, as with the Haydn we find no lack of clever, ever charming tunes in the Hummel piece, which everyone concerned handles with relish.

Producer and engineer Jaroslav Stranavsky recorded the concertos in Ziliny, Slovakia, November 2017. The most noticeable quality about the sound is its bloom, its prominent yet unobjectionable ambient resonance. It makes the strings and soloists sound big and full and provides an extra luster to the affair. The violin and piano do seem a bit too large and too forward at times, but they are, after all, the stars of the show.

JJP

To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Classical Music News of the Week, June 27, 2020

Now Available: Conducting Opera: Where Theater Meets Music

University of North Texas Press announces the 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.

Maestro Rescigno states, "This book is not just for conductors; it's also for avid opera lovers who seek to deepen their understanding of music and make their experiences more rewarding. For conductors, my intention is to give practical advice -- a collegial discussion of challenges and pitfalls, including how to fully support singers. Readers can now understand what a conductor must do before a first performance, and even a first rehearsal, and how a work's structure -- all of its sections -- fit together. A piece of music is greater than the sum of its parts, and this is especially true for an opera, in its fusing of music and theater."

To listen to Mr. Rescigno discuss his book, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-O2MUs6F2s

To learn more about the book, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Conducting-Opera-Where-Theater-Meets/dp/1574417932/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=conducting+opera+where+theater+meets+music&qid=1592933386&s=books&sr=1-1

--Nancy Shear Arts Services

Guitarist Sean Shibe Signs to PENTATONE
PENTATONE is delighted to announce that one of the most exciting guitarists of today, Sean Shibe, has signed an exclusive, multi-album agreement with the label. The collaboration will be earmarked by the range and diversity for which Shibe already is known, with current plans encompassing solo and orchestral, acoustic, and electric guitar repertoire. Shibe's first solo recording on PENTATONE will focus on Spanish impressionism and the French influences to be found in this music, presenting works by composers including Mompou, Poulenc, de Falla, and Ravel. Further details will be announced at a later date.

For details, visit https://www.pentatonemusic.com/news/guitarist-sean-shibe-signs-pentatone

--Talita Sakuntala, PENTATONE Music

Bright Shiny Things Launches 6-part Live HD Streaming Concert Series
The series begins June 27th during PRIDE with "T Stands For…," an exploration of the joy, struggle and liberation of the LGBTQ+ community. Featuring Grammy-winning cellist Andrew Yee of the Attacca Quartet, Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert, Metropolitan Opera pianist Bénédicte Jourdois, performance artist John Kelly, baritone Michael Kelly, and double bassist Louis Levitt. Part of all proceeds will benefit The Black Trans Advocacy Coalition. (www.blacktrans.org)

Full artist bios, updated concert descriptions, and video available at https://www.brightshiny.ninja/cell

--Paula Mlyn, A440arts

U.S., World Premiere Orchestral Performances of Dan Brown's Wild Symphony
Dan Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code, has a new credential on his already-singular resume: composer of the orchestral music from Wild Symphony, his new illustrated children's book to be released on September 1, 2020 by Rodale Kids, an imprint of Random House Children's Books.

With concerts slated in more than two dozen countries around the world – including a world premiere in Croatia and events in Germany, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, and Argentina, among others – Brown selected The Music Hall in Portsmouth as the venue where he wanted to host the U.S. premiere of his new symphonic suite, it was announced today.

On November 15, 2020, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra will perform Brown's classical debut for the young at heart as a special benefit presented by the author himself. Proceeds from ticket sales go to The Music Hall and the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, both 501(c)3 non-profit arts organizations from Brown's hometown.

"The Music Hall has been the site of similar premiere events for the Angels & Demons and Inferno movies," says the author, "and I thought it would be fun to premiere this new musical project in the U.S. as a benefit for my local community." The U.S. launch will be preceded by a world premiere concert featuring the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra on October 10, 2020 at Lisinski Hall in Zagreb, Croatia, where the recording of Wild Symphony occurred.

For complete information, visit https://wildsymphony.com/

--Bob Lord, PARMA Recordings

Michael Tilson Thomas Named Officer in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
On Monday, June 22, Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT)--Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra--was named an Officer in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters), the second of three grades recognized in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded to distinguished artists who have made significant contributions to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

Previously a Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, this promotion to Officer recognizes MTT's continued contributions to global culture and the vast impact he has had during his 25 years as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony.

For more information, visit michaeltilsonthomas.com

--Shuman Associates

Orli Shaham MidWeek Mozart
This week pianist Orli Shaham brings you the Adagio from Sonata No.17, K. 570, with MidWeek Mozart. Available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, June 24.

"The second movement is a beautiful, very lyrical adagio," says Ms. Shaham. "After the opening, it goes into a C minor section, which you cannot mistake for anything but a reference to the C minor, K.491 Piano Concerto - which is one of the two that I recorded with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra."

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

ABS "Fridays with Friends"
Mischa Bouvier came to American Bach Soloists through the inaugural Academy in 2010. He sang the role of Lucifer in Handel's La Resurezione. His beautiful singing was something that we couldn't live without, so he was engaged as a member of ABS the following season as soloist in the West Coast premiere of Antonio Lotti's Mass for Three Choirs in 2011. He has appeared in eight subsequent seasons in performances including the title role of Handel's Apollo and Dafne, Handel's Messiah and Acis and Galatea, and Bach's Saint Matthew Passion. Mischa is widely regarded as a singer of keen musicality and unique beauty of tone. Praised by Opera News for a "soothing, cavernous baritone that can soar to heights of lyric beauty," and by San Francisco Classical Voice for an "immensely sympathetic, soulful voice" and "rare vocal and interpretive gifts," Mischa continues to garner critical acclaim for a diverse performing career that includes concerts, recitals, staged works and recordings. The New York Times summed up a recent performance: "Mischa Bouvier was superb."

Mischa shares with us his recent experiences, interests, and a gift of his performance of music by Charles Ives. Listen and enjoy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw6h_5BPWBc&feature=youtu.be

Learn more at americanbach.org

--American Bach Soloists

ICE and The New School Present "2020 Ensemble Evolution"
"America's foremost new-music group" (Alex Ross), the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), partners with The New School's College of Performing Arts (CoPA) for the 2020 "Ensemble Evolution" program, taking place virtually from June 25 to July 2.

Created by ICEensemble founder Claire Chase and longtime ICEensemble artist-in-residence Steven Schick, Ensemble Evolution is a tuition-free two-week summer music program for early-career performers and performer-composers, providing the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from a faculty of established professionals including ICEensemble musicians and renowned guest artists through workshops, conversations, and world premiere performances.

Ensemble Evolution events open to the public include panels on topics such as Leadership, Advocacy, and Allyship in the Arts through a Racial Justice Lens; Branding and Digital Marketing for Musicians; and An Intro into Creative Placemaking; a talk with Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation; and two Quarantine Concerts featuring ICEensemble, Matana Roberts, Levy Lorenzo, David Byrd-Marrow and Ensemble Evolution participants. The final public performance of the program on Thursday, July 2 at 7:00pm features the world premiere of Nicole Mitchell's Inescapable Spiral, specifically re-designed for the digital world.

More Information: www.coparemote.com/evo

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Esenvalds: Translations. (CD Review)

Ethan Sperry, Portland State Chamber Choir; Charles Noble, viola (7); Marilyn de Oliveira, cello (7); David Walters, singing handbells (3); Joel Bluestone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, chimes (5); Florian Conzetti, vibraphone, suspended cymbal, bass drum (5). Naxos 8.574124.

By Karl W. Nehring

Program (all compositions by Eriks Esenvalds): 1. O salutaris hostia (2009) (Text: St. Thomas Aquinas, 1224/25-1274); 2. The Heavens' Flock (2014) (Text: Paulann Petersen, b 1942); 3. Translation (2016) (Text: Paulann Petersen); 4. My Thoughts (2019) (Text: Saint Silouan the Athonite, 1866-1938); 5. Vineta; (Text: Wilhelm Muller, 1794-1827); 6. The Legend of the Walled-in Woman (2009) (Text: Albanian folk song and Vendit Tem ["My Land"] by Martin Camaj 1925-1992, English translation by R. Eksie, 1950-2017); 7. In paradisum (2012) (Text: Catholic Liturgy).

A few weeks ago, I enthusiastically recommended a disc of indescribably beautiful choral music (The Suspended Harp of Babel) by the virtually unknown late Estonian composer Cyrillus Kreek. Sticking with indescribably beautiful choral music by Baltic composers, this time around I am recommending a newly released recording by the better-known (but still hardly a household name) young Latvian composer, Eriks Esenvalds (b. 1977).

Eriks Esenvalds
Conductor Ethan Sperry (b. 1971) has provided extensive liner notes that provide great insight into the music. Of the overall scope and theme of the program, he writes, "This album features seven selections on the idea of 'translation' or the transformations that occur within us when we encounter the power of nature (Translation and The Heavens' Flock}, legends (The Legend of the Walled-in Woman and Vineta), or the divine (O salutaris hostia, My Thoughts, and in paradisum). Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen, whose poetry is set on two tracks of this album, stated: 'Art is translation. Art translates the ineffable into what we can see and hear, what we can experience, what touches us. Art translates mystery for us without destroying that mystery. As translation, art truly is a vehicle for transformation. Art enters and transforms us: lucky, lucky us.'"

As the album opens, we hear a soaring soprano voice hovering above the sound of the choir. The sound quality is pure and natural, making us feel as though we are being ushered into a sacred space of beauty and rest. The soft "amen" at the end is at once resigned and triumphant (Sperry notes that after more than "three minutes of continuous staggered breathing, the choir gets one communal breath before the final, 'Amen'."). The following piece, The Heavens' Flock, finds the male voices in the choir gaining more prominence. There is an echoing effect toward the end that is simply gorgeous. Moving on to the third selection, Translation, the overall arrangement shifts again, with male and female solo voices singing the lyrics above a wordless accompaniment by the choir. As the piece progresses, an uncredited organist provides some soft background playing, the piece ending quietly with a fade from the organ and background voices.

Ethan Sperry
Whereas the first three cuts were all relatively brief, the final four are all longer, beginning with My Thoughts, which Sperry explains "is a setting of the preface of Saint Silouan the Athonite's treatise My Soul Is Crying to the Whole World. While the book itself is a collection of prayers and beliefs, the preface concerns the struggle of attempting to take divine perfection and write it down in words." It starts with both male and female choral voices, then at about the 3.5-minute mark female voices take over for a short time until the rest of the choir comes back in. The choir is briefly augmented by some deep pedal notes from the organ (a good workout for your woofers). Near the end there is an emphatic choral climax, a pause, and then a return from the choir before a fade into silence as this remarkable composition concludes.

The next track, Vineta, is the most overtly expressive composition on the album in both musical and sonic terms. Sperry explains that "Vineta is a legendary city consumed by the Baltic Sea because of its citizens' hedonistic tendencies, and whose church bells still ring from beneath the surface of the waters calling sailors to their deaths." The piece opens with bells and chimes accompanying the choir. A couple of minutes in, there are some deep organ pedal notes. Later, the bells return, with the choir contributing some wordless vocals. As the piece develops, the choir starts singing lyrics again. There are more bells, more notes from the organ, plenty of marvelous sounds to give your audio system a thorough workout. The organ fades, the bells come back, the choir then takes over, with the percussion instruments joining back in before the fade at the end. That is a sadly inelegant bare-bones account of what is a truly remarkable, complex, stunning composition.

Portland State Chamber Choir
The penultimate piece on the album, Legend of the Walled-In Woman, is the most "modern-sounding" composition, at times a bit angular and unusual, but to these ears at least, never off-putting. It begins with an intoning male voice that is then joined by the choir. As the composition unfolds, there are echoing effects, wordless wonders, sounds wild and eerie and forbidding. Listening to this piece, you can hear troubled minds, haunted places of the heart, deep conflict, fear, but all stemming from a tale (the liner notes provide some welcome background information) compellingly portrayed in sonic splendor. But as if to remind us that there is always hope shining brightly before us, the program ends on a note of consolation, in paradisum, in a beautiful arrangement with voices and strings. The heart, mind, and soul of the listener are offered peace and repose, balm in Gilead for these turbulent, troubled times.

Not only is the program outstanding, but so is the production. Former Stereophile editor John Atkinson played a key role in the recording process. In fact, there is an insightful discussion of how the album was engineered by Jason Serinus in that magazine's June 2020 issue. It is well worth perusing to gain more insight into the recording process, which involves both science and art. Although I certainly stand guilty of casting some aspersions at Stereophile over the years, I have always had great respect for Mr. Atkinson. In my admittedly few correspondences with him, he has always been a true gentleman, and his genuine love for and appreciation of music -- especially our beloved British classical music -- has always been exemplary. Bravo, John!

The liner notes by conductor Sperry are helpful, lyrics are included, and the recorded program is nearly 70 minutes long. The musicians, engineers, production staff, and the folks at Naxos have all done themselves proud with this fine release.

KWN

To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Mahler: Symphony No. 9 (CD review)

Otto Klemperer, New Philharmonia Orchestra. HDTT remastered (2-disc set).

EMI and now Warner Classics have released this 1967 Mahler Ninth recording from Otto Klemperer and the New Philharmonia Orchestra a number of times (EMI on LP and CD; Warner on CD), with the copy my having on hand being from EMI-Japan. The sound has always been good, no matter what the format or issue, but its latest remastering from HDTT (High Definition Tape Transfers) sounds better than ever.

Although Mahler's last completed symphony was the crowning jewel in his symphonic cycle, beauteous and sublime, it has always been somewhat ambiguous. Many listeners have interpreted its expressionistic content as an optimistic journey into the light, ending in sweet and everlasting repose, while others have seen the work as a pessimistic view of the world's future where degeneration and decay are our lot. I favor the former view, but I suppose there is something to be said for the second viewpoint as well. At the time of the work's composition in 1909, Mahler was aware that he was gravely ill, and in addition he may have foreseen the coming of the Great War and the end of civilization as his generation had known it. So, there is every possibility of interpreting the symphony either optimistically or pessimistically. Klemperer, who first performed the work in 1925, just thirteen years after its première, knew the piece backwards and wisely took mostly the former course in his interpretation.

Otto Klemperer
In my own view, the opening and closing movements are meant to be relaxed and serene--the first movement an admiration of life and all its beauty, the last movement a resignation of life's passing and a kind of contentment with what is yet to come. In between, Mahler provides some doubt, with a somewhat unruly yet bucolic second movement, followed by one of his patented, parodic Rondo-Burleskes. While Klemperer judges these movements perfectly, he never aggrandizes them or makes them too alluringly lyrical. Instead, his is a sort of no-nonsense approach, the conductor letting the music speak for itself in a steady, stoic, well-defined framework. And, of course, that's what Klemperer did best in all of his music, ensuring that the structure of grand music spoke grandly.

Even though I am also greatly fond of Barbirolli's performance with the Berlin Philharmonic (EMI, Warner, and HDTT), Walter's with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (Sony and HDTT), and Haitink's with the Concertgebouw (Philips), I believe Klemperer's reading deserves to be included among the top contenders as well. Incidentally, both Klemperer and Walter were assistants to Mahler, so they both speak with some authority. I can't imagine not owning their stereo recordings (along with Barbirolli's and Haitink's, of course).

Producers Peter Andry and Suvi Raj Grubb and engineer Robert Gooch recorded the symphony at Kingsway Hall, London in February 1967, and HDTT transferred the recording from a 15ips 2-track tape. Because Klemperer's Mahler Ninth is just a few minutes beyond the capacity of a single CD, HDTT have spread it out over two discs, just as EMI did.

Unlike what I found comparing HDTT's remastering of Sir John Barbirolli's Mahler Ninth to an EMI-Japan HQCD, where the sound of the EMI-Japan HQCD was slightly smoother to my ears than HDTT's transfer, the sound of Klemperer's Mahler Ninth was just the opposite. I compared the HDTT product to one of EMI-Japan's regular, non-HQ CD's and found the newer HDTT transfer smoother, richer, warmer, and fuller. EMI's sound (now on Warner Classics) is still quite good, mind you, but the HDTT is just that much better. It is detailed yet natural, with a wide stereo spread, good orchestral depth, and an appealing ambient bloom.

I know that Barbirolli, Haitink, Walter, Abbado, Karajan, Bernstein, and others have produced fine Mahler Ninths, but to my mind and my ears, none of them is any better than Klemperer's recording. It is a joy.

For more information on the various formats, configurations, and prices of HDTT products, you can visit their Web site at https://www.highdeftapetransfers.com/.

JJP

To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Classical Music News of the Week, June 20, 2020

Six Composers Selected for New Music USA's "Amplifying Voices" Program

New Music USA announces six composers who have been co-commissioned to write new orchestral works through its "Amplifying Voices" program, supported by the Sphinx Venture Fund. Composers Valerie Coleman, Juan Pablo Contreras, Tania León, Brian Raphael Nabors, Tyshawn Sorey, and Shelley Washington will each write new works to be premiered during the 2021-22 season and performed by a total of at least 24 orchestras. Each of the six composer's pieces will be performed by a minimum of four orchestras.

"Amplifying Voices" fosters collaboration and collective action toward equitable representation of composers in classical music. It was initiated by New Music USA last fall, with support from the Sphinx Venture Fund being confirmed in December 2019. Through a national call launched in January 2020, New Music USA asked orchestras to come forward with proposals for co-commissions and a commitment to promoting existing repertoire that deserves further performances.

The lead orchestras co-commissioning new works are The Philadelphia Orchestra commissioning Valerie Coleman, the Las Vegas Philharmonic commissioning Juan Pablo Contreras, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra commissioning Tania León, the Berkeley Symphony commissioning Brian Raphael Nabors, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra commissioning Tyshawn Sorey, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra commissioning Shelley Washington. Leadership at each orchestra will also work with their partner composer to increase the programming of works in their mainstream seasons by composers of all generations whose voices have not been represented in orchestral programming.

For more information, visit www.newmusicusa.org

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

Third Edition of Mozaic Moments with Scott Yoo
n this third edition of Mozaic Moments, Music Director Scott Yoo looks back to a performance of Erwin Schulhoff's Concertino, a unique piece for flute, viola, and double bass.  Performed at the 2019 summer festival, this performance featured flutist Alice K. Dade, violist Maurycy Banaszek, and bassist Susan Cahill.

Festival Mozaic has been a part of San Luis Obispo for 50 years, and we are proud to present the greatest musicians from throughout the world on our stages. We know that this is a pale substitute for an in-person concert, but we look forward to live performances resuming very soon.

Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9a-Z7-JUXU&feature=youtu.be&linkNum=1&campaignID=381105&patronID=1157244998&memberID=0f7e312e9448e6fed7cbc52ad891b3d9

--Festival Mozaic

Charles Overton's "Morning Meditation"
Today we at Experiential Orchestra are taking a moment to reflect on the past six meditations, and to share two conversations that you might be interested to hear.

On Friday, June 12th, as a part of my role as Music Director of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania, I invited three Johnstown community leaders to have a conversation called "A Time to Listen," an open-ended discussion of how music and our orchestra can help play a role in bringing that community closer together.

That conversation is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUWDpbzn-lA

The other video I want to call to your attention is by Young Concert Artists, in what they describe as a "roundtable discussion on the nuances of the Black experience in classical music and beyond." It is a powerful gathering and I believe it is an important conversation to take some time to listen to. Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48cifF97Dqg

Finally, below are all of our meditations thus far. We have many more wonderful pieces commissioned from partners across the country, and you'll be hearing those new pieces premiered over the course of the next 12 weeks. Thank you for all your support of these projects, and the ones to come!

Latest addition in "Morning Meditation," Charles Overton's Harp Meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFVLs0JA_W8

--James Blachly, Music Director, Experiential Orchestra

Music on the Rebound and ICE Host The World Wide Heart Chant
On Sunday June 21, 2020 at 5pm EDT, Music on the Rebound and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) host The World Wide Heart Chant. IONE, Claire Chase, and Raquel Acevedo Klein lead a global performance of the late Pauline Oliveros's "Heart Chant" as part of Make Music Day, a global celebration inviting all ages and skill levels to learn and perform music on the summer solstice.

The "Heart Chant" is one of composer Pauline Oliveros's "Deep Listening" meditations, her practice of "listening in every possible way to everything possible, to hear no matter what you are doing." Musicians and non-musicians alike are invited to join via Zoom for this special version of Pauline's piece to sing together from their personal phone or computer. No music experience is necessary. Initially written in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, this performance of the Heart Chant joins hearts, minds, and voices with Black Lives Matter in unity with the global initiative to redress social injustice and institute lasting moral reform.

Read more at www.iceorg.org

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Colburn School Community School of Performing Arts Offers Online Summer Camps
The Colburn Community School of Performing Arts has revamped its traditional summer programs with new and expanded online camps, workshops and intensives aimed at engaging students at home while still providing world-class arts education. Open to all and held remotely, Summer at Colburn welcomes students to participate from anywhere in the world. Please click here for specific program dates, requirements, and enrollment details.

There are four new offerings, perfectly suited for remote instruction: Brass Bonanza, Percussion Workshop, Introduction to Music Production, and College Audition Prep for Singers.

Please click here for specific program dates, requirements, and enrollment details: https://www.colburnschool.edu/community-school/classes-offered/summer-camps/

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

Washington Performing Arts Announces All-Online "Home Delivery Plus" Series
Washington Performing Arts (WPA) today announced Home Delivery Plus, a new online series of performances and companion experiences beginning in early 2021. An extension of the Home Delivery online programming launched on the WPA website earlier this month, Home Delivery Plus offers a variety of paid/ticketed digital packages that feature international, national, and local artists streamed in live or newly recorded performances; companion educational resources and activities; and "backstage" experiences offering a window into the artistic process. Prompted by this time of coronavirus, the series is nevertheless designed with the digital future of the performing arts in mind—as a complement to (not a replacement for) traditional live, in-person performance.

The series spotlights WPA's historic commitment to collaborating with artists and engaging with partners and audiences throughout its community. The performance elements of each ticketed, digital package will be streamed with the production set-up and audio/video quality required for a high-level online concert experience. At such point in the series as local health authorities and venue hosts judge it is safe for live audiences to gather for physically distanced performances, patrons may be welcomed to purchase separate tickets to attend in person, even as the digital programming continues.

Further details will be announced over the summer. For the most up-to-date information, please visit washingtonperformingarts.org/homedelivery

--Camille Devlin, Bucklesweet

Caramoor Presents Two Premieres by Anna Clyne Via Livestream
This summer, Caramoor presents two live-streamed premieres by Grammy-nominated composer Anna Clyne as part of its Summer 20/2.0. Both works are inspired by Beethoven's music in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth. On Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 7:00pm, the Calidore String Quartet performs the New York premiere of Clyne's "Breathing Statues" and on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 7:00pm, members of The Knights give the world premiere of her "Shorthand for solo cello and string quintet."

Calidore String Quartet
Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 7:00pm
Livestream link: https://www.caramoor.org/events/calidore-string-quartet-livestream/

Musicians from The Knights
Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 7:00pm
Livestream link: https://www.caramoor.org/events/musicians-from-the-knights-livestream/

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Colorado Music Festival Announces Virtual Summer Concerts
Colorado Music Festival (CMF) presents six virtual concerts on Thursday evenings from June 25 through July 30, featuring unique performances by guest artists from around the world and Colorado Music Festival's orchestra members.

Under the direction of Peter Oundjian, CMF music director, the virtual concerts bring together world-class musicians to perform exceptional pieces in intimate settings.

All virtual performances will be accessible on demand via Colorado Music Festival's website, ColoradoMusicFestival.org, and are presented for free as a sign of gratitude to donors, subscribers, ticket buyers and the community.

--Beverly Greenfield, Kirshbaum Associates

July 5 on PBS: Der Fliegende Holländer from The Met
This season of "Great Performances at the Met" continues Sunday, July 5 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with Wagner's eerie early masterpiece, Der Fliegende Holländer.

Evgeny Nikitin stars as the cursed Dutchman, alongside Anja Kampe as Senta with Franz-Josef Selig as Daland and Sergey Skorokhodov as Erik. Valery Gergiev conducts, and Lisette Oropesa hosts.

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

Semyon Bychkov Conducts the Czech Philharmonic
Performing to an audience in excess of 500, the Czech Philharmonic's concert on Wednesday 24 June is the culmination of a series of concerts that the Orchestra has presented since the beginning of lockdown which started with two players wearing masks and has built to an orchestra of 62 players. With borders opening across the Schengen area on 15 June, the concert celebrates the re-opening of galleries, museums, cinemas and theatres in the Czech Republic.

Held in the grounds of the neo-gothic Sychrov Castle just outside Prague, the performance will be conducted by Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov in his first appearance with the Orchestra since the start of the pandemic. Current regulations stipulate that audience seating will be arranged 20 centimetres apart and regulations on masks are being relaxed all the time.

The concert – on the evening of Midsummer's Day - opens appropriately with Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture and Scherzo followed by Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E flat major. Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 will close the concert which will be broadcast live on Czech TV and via the Czech Philharmonic's Facebook.

Sychrov Castle, Czech Republic
Wednesday 24 June 2020 streamed live from 8pm CET
For complete information, visit https://www.ceskafilharmonie.cz/en/concert-detail/25141-czech-philharmonic-open-air-concert-2020/

--Moe Faulkner, Macbeth Media

Orli Shaham "MidWeek Mozart"
This week pianist Orli Shaham brings you the first movement of Mozart's Sonata No.17, K. 570, with "MidWeek Mozart." Available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, June 17.

Stream here: https://orlishahammozart.com/

--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

IDAGIO Launches in Japan and Announces Live Concerts in the Global Concert Hall
To coincide with the live video stream of the Vienna Philharmonic's subscription concert in IDAGIO's Global Concert Hall on June 21, 11 am CEST, the classical music streaming platform will for the first time be available in Japan. This international expansion will give music lovers in Japan access not only to IDAGIO's Global Concert Hall, launched just three weeks ago, but also to its groundbreaking audio streaming service: a classical catalogue of over 2 million tracks in CD-quality sound distinguished by superior metadata, a search tailor-made for classical, and expert curation.

Visit IDAGIO: https://app.idagio.com/live

--IDAGIO Communications

Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson's Win MCANA's Best New Opera Award
The Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA) is pleased to announce that its 2020 Award for Best New Opera has been given to composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson for Blue.

This marks MCANA's 4th Annual Award for Best New Opera, a major recognition given annually by an Awards Committee of distinguished music critics. Honoring an opera premiered in either the United States or Canada, it is the only such award in the U.S., and one of the few in the world that simultaneously recognizes both composer and librettist. The MCANA committee completed its deliberations and made the selection of Blue as the winner on March 12—long before the current turmoil stemming from the police killing of George Floyd.

Watch Glimmerglass's promo video of Blue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75gaXxkG4GA&feature=youtu.be

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Berkeley Symphony Announces Brian Raphael Nabors Co-Commission
Berkeley Symphony announced today the co-commissioning of a new orchestral work by composer Brian Raphael Nabors as part of New Music USA's "Amplifying Voices" program, supported by the Sphinx Venture Fund. As one of six lead orchestras co-commissioning six new works for orchestra, Berkeley Symphony will premiere the new work during the 2021-2022 season.

For more information, visit https://www.berkeleysymphony.org/

--Brenden Guy PR

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of June 22-28)
Monday, June 22 – Sunday, June 28:
MTT25: An Online Tribute series continues to celebrate Michael Tilson Thomas's 25-year music directorship at the San Francisco Symphony.
https://www.sfsymphony.org/MTT25

Monday, June 22 at 10:00 a.m. ET:
Jennifer Koh speaks and performs at online conference "Orchestrating Isolation: Musical Interventions and Inequality in the COVID-19 Fallout," organized by University of London.
https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/research-and-teaching/departments-and-schools/music/events/orchestrating-isolation-musical-interventions-and-inequality-in-the-covid-19-fallout/

Monday, June 22 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera's Staying Alive series celebrates Pride Month with tenor Sam Briggs performing Bernstein's "Something's Coming."
https://tulsaopera.com/stayingalive/

Wednesday, June 24 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Tulsa Opera presents tenor David Portillo, singing a selection from Tobias Picker's new opera Awakenings.
https://tulsaopera.com/stayingalive/

Friday, June 26 at 10:00 a.m. PT:
Coffee with Conlon, presented by LA Opera.
https://www.laopera.org/discover/laoathome/

Friday, June 26 at 2:00 p.m. CT:
Baritone Lucia Lucas performs in Tulsa Opera's "Staying Alive" series in celebration of Pride Month.
https://tulsaopera.com/stayingalive/

Friday, June 26 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
New World Symphony's NWS Fellows: Live from our Living Room.
https://www.facebook.com/NewWorldSymphony/

Sunday, June 28 at 5:00 p.m. PT / 8:00 p.m. ET:
MTT25: An Online Tribute Event for Michael Tilson Thomas, presented by San Francisco Symphony.
https://www.sfsymphony.org/Buy-Tickets/2020-21/MTT25-An-Online-Tribute-Event-for-Michael-Tilson-T

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

--Shuman Associates

Miró Quartet To Perform Complete Beethoven String Quartets
For their first major project since the coronavirus outbreak, the Miró Quartet will come together in-person to perform all sixteen Beethoven string quartets and the Grosse Fuge live for online audiences via the streaming platform OurConcerts.live. Since mid-March, members of the Quartet have been apart, isolating separately at home with their families. Upon reuniting for this series, they will follow strict protocols in their daily lives to mitigate the risk of virus transmission amongst themselves.

Presented by the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, this 12-evening, subscription-based concert series is scheduled for July 16 to August 8: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. PT.

For more information, visit https://ourconcerts.live/

--Shuman Associates

Semyon Bychkov and Czech Philharmonic To Perform Open Air Concert
Held on the grounds of the neo-gothic Sychrov Castle just outside Prague for an in-person audience of more than 500, the Czech Philharmonic's Open Air Concert 2020 on Wednesday, June 24, at 8:00 p.m. CET / 2:00 p.m. ET is the culmination of a series of concerts that the Orchestra has presented since the beginning of lockdown, starting with two players wearing masks and now growing to an orchestra of 62 players.

With borders opening across the Schengen area on June 15, the concert celebrates the re-opening of galleries, museums, cinemas and theatres in the Czech Republic. The event will be broadcast live on Czech TV and via the Czech Philharmonic's Facebook page (facebook.com/CeskaFilharmonie). For the Facebook event page, click here: https://www.facebook.com/events/566143144326970/

--Shuman Associates

Q & A – Self-Powered Subwoofers…

By Bryan Geyer

What is the worst possible mistake that I could make when installing my new self-powered subwoofers?

Well, your subs probably have both "high level" and "line level" inputs, and the provided instructions will doubtless say that you can simply connect your subs' high level inputs across your main loudspeakers' input terminals. (I.e., in parallel with your main power amplifier outputs.) Yes, that's very easy to do; but is it truly advisable? Well, here's what legendary subwoofer expert Barry Ober, a.k.a. "The Soundoctor," had to say…

"Simply connecting a sub to existing mains speaker (or amp) terminals is the WORST POSSIBLE WAY to do this. EVERYTHING scientific and acoustic about this method is wrong, from the additive delay issues to the back EMF of the mains affecting the LF signal. However there are plenty of people who simply do not understand correctly integrated bass, and they will be reasonably happy simply sticking another box on to their system without regard to timing, phase and frequency issues, and they will think it sounds 'ok' or 'good' and for those people it doesn't really matter."

Take Barry's advice. Don't use those noxious high level subwoofer inputs! They're provided purely to accommodate the rank novice. Don't use the sub's high level inputs even if you aspire to behave as a duly certified incompetent jerk. Always utilize the line level inputs.

Can't I just buy one subwoofer and use it in blended "shared bass" mode for both stereo channels?

A single subwoofer setup is appropriate for home theater applications, where the intent is to reproduce the monaural low frequency effects (LFE) signal that's running on the program's "boom channel". However, two channel stereo presents a bigger challenge. The low bass content in stereo music is an integral part of the performance; it's not a random interruption, as with gunshots, explosions, and monster footfalls. Instead, real directional cues are conveyed. In addition, paired (or more) subwoofers can deliver vital acoustical advantages (refer "Acoustics" paragraph… https://classicalcandor.blogspot.com/2020/05/on-other-ways-to-woof.html) in the control of low frequency room resonance, as well as provide better midrange response (see below). These latter assets just won't be apparent unless there are two or more separate subwoofers.

"The $64,000 Question"
What are the major benefits that I can expect when adding a pair of self-powered subwoofers?

Outside of more bass, no further benefit will accrue until you… (a) finish the upgrade by adding an external active crossover network control unit; (b) adjust it properly; and (c) optimize the subs' phase angle and input level control settings. Adding subwoofers is a classic "do it right or don't do it" proposition, and persistence is essential.

What will adding an external active crossover network really do for me?

It will allow you attain the other major benefit that subwoofer installations can bestow: Render a more accurate, more realistic midrange. By inserting an active crossover controller at a point in the signal path that's immediately before your power amplifier stages, you can then dictate what feeds to the self-powered subs and what feeds to the main power amplifier and main speakers. Be aware that it's always those big fat bottom bass notes that perpetually smear midrange clarity. When you divert the low bass and send it to the subwoofers (where it belongs), the main speaker system's mid-woofer drivers are then free to handle the upper bass and midrange frequencies independently, without any of that disruptive low bass modulation. You'll get a clearer and more articulate midrange. The improvement will be especially apparent when listening at high sound pressure levels. This midrange benefit is one of the most significant assets that a properly managed subwoofer setup can bestow, and many experienced listeners feel that it's even more rewarding than gaining deeper bass response.

My subwoofers already have their own built-in crossovers. Why do I need an external crossover?

Well, first check on that purported "crossover." Do your subwoofers really have a crossover network, or is it merely a low pass filter? Here's the difference…

With a low pass filter, the signal sees a selective gate that allows only the intended low frequencies to enter. Content above the gate's setting is blocked, so higher frequencies can't progress beyond the low pass gateway. But the full frequency signal is still free to enter any other open portal that might be connected, e.g., the portal to the main power amplifier. The consequence is that the sub's low pass filter feeds only low frequencies to the subwoofer amplifiers, but the full spectrum signal—all lows and highs together—flows into the main power amplifier and then to the main speakers.

With a full crossover network there are complementary low pass and high pass filter gates. The low pass gateway works as described, while the high pass gateway provides inverse screening. It passes the high frequencies through to the main power amplifier while blocking the lower frequencies. In effect, the full crossover network splits the incoming signal into two separate paths, with the lower frequencies diverted to the subwoofers' power amplifiers, and the higher frequencies diverted to the main stereo power amplifier.

The extent of any filtering that's provided inside your self-powered subwoofers will vary. Most subs offer only some simple low pass filtering, but others have self-contained (full or partial) crossover networks. Know what you've bought. Regardless, if you elect to use an external active crossover network, it's then vital that you understand how to bypass (deactivate) all of your subwoofers' internal filtering. You never want to apply both the internal and external filtering networks simultaneously, so bypass the subs' internal filter/crossover circuitry when using an active external crossover controller.

But my new subwoofers really do have their own internal crossover networks. Is using an external active crossover network control going to work better?

In essence, you need an external active crossover controller—one that's placed in a convenient and accessible location—because you intend to use it. If you confined your use to each of the respective subwoofers' internal filters (if/when they're truly provided), you'd then have to crawl to each separate subwoofer to enter every such adjustment. That's not just awkward and impractical, it's unacceptable. Adjustments often call for simultaneous left/right channel changes. A fully integrated central controller is essential.

Do some crossover networks pass or block the signal at different rates?

Yes, and those rates can vary. There are different means of implementing the crossover filtering, with different advantages and limitations; it can get complicated. The modern consensus favors cascading two Butterworth filters to form a Linkwitz-Riley type crossover network operating at a full -24dB per octave attenuation slope. This is also known as a "4th order" filter. This design results in relatively steep attenuation, and maintains closely coherent phase response* with no loss of the summed amplitude when both passbands combine at a coincident -6dB down crossover juncture**.

What crossover frequency should I set?

It's generally best to set the crossover at some frequency between 80Hz and 98Hz. This decision primarily depends on the bass capability of your main speakers. If they're small mini-monitors with little 5 inch diameter woofer cones, then pick a crossover in the 94 to 98Hz range. If you've got main speakers with 6 inch or bigger woofer cones, then you can go lower, but don't push below 80Hz (and never < 70Hz) or you'll invite other messy problems (bass range too compressed, latency offset too long). The high end is mostly a matter of your subwoofers' capabilities. Some subs are capable of relatively flat output to 130Hz, whereas others droop abruptly beyond 100Hz. In most cases, and assuming main speakers with 6 inch or bigger woofer cone Ø, a crossover of 84 to 86Hz is ideal.

My room layout requires that my subwoofers be spaced pretty far away from my active external crossover control unit. Will I need any special cable to make the runs to my subwoofers' line-level inputs?

That route is really benign. You can use any ordinary RCA-type unbalanced coaxial (shielded) cable. Consider: The output is at low impedance (assuming the use of any respectable active crossover controller), and the signal is from the controller's low-pass output, so it's exclusively low frequency information. You can use a fancy XLR cable hookup if you like, but there would be zero benefit.

What are the essential control options that my self-powered subwoofers should offer?

Your subwoofers should provide…
(a) Automatic sound-sensing with remote turn on/off capability, and a manual on/off override switch. Also some visual means (e.g., LED lights) of indicating the current state (fully off, stand by, or active).
(b) A bypass switch to permit the defeat of all internal filtration.
(c) An input gain level control.
(d) A polarity inversion switch.
(e) A fully variable phase angle control (encompassing 0° to 280° [as referred to 80Hz]) to optimize the sub-to-mains phase synchronization setting.

BG (June 9, 2020)

*Both sections emerge closely matched in phase, although the low pass section will lag the high pass section by approximately one full wavelength due to group delay encountered in processing. One wavelength at a typical crossover frequency entails a lag time of ~ 12 to 16 milliseconds. A delay of that duration still remains well within the documented "fusion zone" limit of 30 milliseconds max., hence will not be perceived as a separate sound. (Refer 7.6.4 of Floyd Toole's Sound Reproduction, 3rd edition [Routledge, 2018, ISBN 978-1-138-92136-8]).

**Refer graphic, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linkwitz–Riley_filter.

Mahler: Symphony No. 9 (CD review)

Sir John Barbirolli, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. HDTT remastered.

The Finale to Mahler's Ninth Symphony, the Adagio, is quite possibly the most beautiful piece of music ever written. If that statement seems too bold, let me lessen it slightly by saying the Adagio is certainly among the most beautiful pieces ever written. There, now; we both feel better. In any case, Sir John Barbirolli's interpretation of Mahler's Ninth has been around for quite a while, since 1964, in fact, and it has successfully weathered the test of time. Like the music, the performance is sublime.

I also prize several other Mahler Ninth Symphony recordings: one from Bernard Haitink and the Concertgebouw Orchestra (Philips), one from Bruno Walter and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (HDTT or Sony), and one from Otto Klemperer and the Philharmonia Orchestra (HDTT or EMI/Warner). However, Barbirolli is high on my list, perhaps a shade more idiosyncratic than Haitink if not so long breathed and serene. For me, Barbirolli, Haitink, Walter, and Klemperer surpass all other versions, even the highly regarded ones by Karajan (DG), Abbado (DG), Giulini (DG), Bernstein (Sony or DG), and Kubelik (DG), offering more in the way of human feeling, with fewer of the grand gestures.

Whatever, Barbirolli so loved the Finale that he asked EMI if he could record it out of sequence so his performers could deal with it in the evening rather than in the morning when EMI and the Berlin orchestra originally scheduled it. "You can't expect people to perform that sort of music in the morning. It must be done in the evening when they're in the right mood," he explained. It was his first, and to my knowledge only, recording with the Berlin Philharmonic, with whom he maintained a long and happy relationship in the concert hall if not in the studio.

This HDTT (High Definition Tape Transfer) of the Mahler Ninth is about the fifth or sixth incarnation of the recording I've owned. There was the EMI vinyl LP years ago; then the CD's, one that I remember in EMI's "Great Recordings of the Century" series; then an EMI Japan remastering; then an EMI Japan HQCD (Hi Quality Compact Disc) reissue; and now the HDTT. The sound on HQCD and HDTT is almost as good as anything recorded today, projecting a realistic sonic presence, a reasonably wide stage width at a moderate miking distance, and more than acceptable depth, dynamics, and ambiance to make the experience appear natural. Best of all, it displays a commendable transparency. It's one of my Desert Island Favorites for good reason.

Sir John Barbirolli
You'll remember that Mahler became ever more obsessed with death in his later years, something that manifested itself in his final few symphonies, Das Lied von der Erde (1908), the Ninth Symphony (1909), and the unfinished Tenth. The fact that he had recently lost his daughter and that he learned he was dying of a chronic heart disease probably precipitated this preoccupation. Anyway, Mahler was also reluctant to assign a number to his Ninth because of so many other composers never having gotten past a ninth. In any case, Mahler's Ninth is both melancholy and vigorous, yet it is ultimately liberating in that it offers by the end a profound vision of peace.

Mahler's Ninth is a beautiful accomplishment, one in which I have found joy over the years with, as I've said, several excellent recordings: Otto Klemperer's is a sublime and lofty account; Bernard Haitink's is an absolutely gorgeous rendering; and Walter's is certainly authoritative. But Barbirolli's performance is so impassioned it's hard not to fall in love with it. And I say this meaning no disrespect to other fine conductors of the work I've mentioned like Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Simon Rattle, Carlo Maria Giulini, Georg Solti, Benjamin Zander, Riccardo Chailly, and the like. I simply find greater pleasure in Barbirolli, Klemperer, Haitink, and Walter than anyone else.

Moving on, Mahler's opening movement is extremely lengthy, close to half an hour, longer than most of Mozart's symphonies in their entirety. In it Mahler presents dual themes of calm hope on the one hand and extreme passion on the other. Sustaining the score's intensity and momentum (and the listener's interest) over such a long period is not easy, yet Barbirolli and the others are able to do so with steady, straightforward tempos and unexaggerated inflections. Barbirolli and Walter in particular make the music all the more lucid and expressive with their understated approaches. Although you won't find the same degree of impetuous emotion found, say, in a Bernstein account, what you will find instead is a more intimate, more nuanced view of the score.

Next we get one of Mahler's typically bizarre scherzos, this one in a waltz-like tempo, a landler. Mahler suggested that he intended it to represent "a friendly leader, fiddling his flock into the hereafter." He probably meant it to be ironic.

The third movement is a Rondo-Burleske. It's sort of a continuation of the preceding movement's mood of mocking the pleasures of life. Still, it tends to turn more serious as it goes along.

Mahler ends the symphony on that final Adagio, possibly a note of resignation. Of the Ninth Symphony Mahler said "There is no more irony, no sarcasm, no resentment whatever; there is only the majesty of death." Apparently, the composer had accepted his own eventuality. The finale is filled with considerable longing yet gentle repose, as though the conductor was content with his fate and ready to embrace it. It's a beautiful and highly moving conclusion, and Barbirolli understands it perfectly.

Producer Ronald Kinloch Anderson and engineer Ernst Rothe recorded the symphony for EMI at Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin in 1964. and HDTT remastered and transferred the recording from a 15ips 2-track tape. I listened and compared the sound of the HDTT product mainly to that of the EMI-Japan HQCD disc I had on hand. The Japanese product sounded to me just a tad smoother and more transparent all around. The HDTT disc sounded marginally warmer through much of the midrange but with a high end a little brighter and sometimes a tad edgier. Both sounded good, but when you factor in that the HDTT remastering is cheaper and easier to find (in a variety of formats, including physical product and downloads), it makes an attractive alternative.

I might add, too, that the Barbirolli performance is one of the few recordings of Mahler's Ninth that fits on a single CD. The symphony usually comes in around eighty-some minutes under most other conductors, necessitating two discs. But Barbirolli manages a still-unhurried reading at just a shade under eighty minutes, thus (barely) fitting on one disc. Although it's a small thing, it can be important to some listeners.

For more information on the various formats, configurations, and prices of HDTT products, you can visit their Web site at http://www.highdeftapetransfers.com/.

JJP

To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Classical Music News of the Week, June 13, 2020

IDAGIO Launches Global Concert Hall

IDAGIO, the leading streaming service for classical music, has launched the Global Concert Hall, a new online concert venue made available to audiences worldwide. Artists and ensembles will use this audiovisual platform to offer their own exclusive digital concerts, and their audiences can support them directly from the comfort of their own homes with their ticket purchases. At IDAGIO, artists are empowered in their creative endeavors through a wide-reaching platform which allows them to connect with existing fans, and enabled to share music that is meaningful to them with a broader audience. The Global Concert Hall is the next evolutionary phase of the Fair Artist Payout Model, launched in 2015, to ensure that artists are properly compensated for their content. 80% of the net proceeds from ticket sales go directly to the artists.

The concerts are streamed live and are available across the globe for 24 hours following the initial broadcast. An array of interactive features elevates the Global Concert Hall experience above existing options: artists offer personal introductions to their programs and remain online following the performance to chat directly with audience members in the Virtual Green Room, to answer questions and to collectively reflect on the performance. Further interactive features are being developed in collaboration with participating artists.

The Global Concert Hall's launch partners include Teldex Studios, Berlin, and the production company OTB Medien, both of which are synonymous with the highest quality audio and video production.

Visit www.IDAGIO.com and download the app at the App Store or at Google Play.

--IDAGIO press

Experiential Orchestra "Morning Meditations"
Beginning May 2020, EXO has become a full-time creative content commissioning organization. Please support us as we commission top-flight New York City musicians to create beautiful new music.

Initiatives include Mark Dover's unique arrangement of "Alone Together" with creative partner Jeremy Ajani Jordan, and Faylotte Joy Crayton, while "EXO Morning Meditations" are offered each Sunday as a way to prepare you for the week ahead. Future projects include our release of EXO's recording of Doug Balliett's Bass Concerto, Four Seasons of NY, with crowd-sourced photography of New York City.

For Experiential Orchestra's "Morning Meditation," click here: https://experientialorchestra.com/

--James Blachly, Experiential Orchestra

Order Your T-Shirt to Support Festival Mozaic
Festival Mozaic is proud to partner with local T-shirt company Left Coast T-Shirts in a fundraising campaign called "Here for Good SLO." Left Coast is producing T-shirts for many local organizations and businesses during the pandemic to let our customers know that we are here for good!

T-Shirts cost $25 each and half of the proceeds from the sales of Festival shirts will be shared with us. So for every shirt purchased, Left Coast will donate $12.50 directly to our organization!
Please visit www.hereforgoodslo.com or click the button below to order. The Festival shirts are currently located right at the top of the page. Men's and women's shirts are available and pictures of the shirts are below.

This fundraiser campaign ends June 30, so order now. Thank you for your support.

To order, click here: https://hereforgoodslo.com/here_for_good_slo/shop/home

--Festival Mozaic

New Podcast Series "Embrace Everything: The World of Gustav Mahler"
The "Embrace Everything" podcast series, created and hosted by award-winning radio producer Aaron Cohen, is an exploration and celebration of the music of Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) via a journey through his symphonies. Through commentary by Mr. Cohen, interviews with leading Mahler interpreters and scholars, readings from the letters of Mahler and his contemporaries, and through the sounds of the symphonies themselves, each season of the series will guide listeners through one of these landmark works in the orchestral repertoire.

Season 1 focuses on Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D major (1888), taking listeners back to the work's origins in the street songs, folk tunes, and bugle calls of Mahler's childhood. Each episode is devoted to a particular movement of the symphony, and guest commentators include Michael Tilson Thomas, who recorded a multi-Grammy Award-winning Mahler symphony cycle with the San Francisco Symphony, and Kent Nagano, who has conducted and recorded Mahler's music with orchestras around the world.

The series launches on Mahler's birthday—Tuesday, July 7—when all four episodes of Season 1 will become available for free on-demand listening via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, among other streaming platforms. That evening, at 9:00 p.m. ET, New York Public Radio's classical music station, WQXR, airs a special one-hour radio adaptation of Season 1. The program will subsequently re-air on the station; details to be announced.

For more information about the "Embrace Everything" podcast, visit theworldofgustavmahler.org. Also follow the podcast on Facebook (facebook.com/theworldofgustavmahler) and Twitter (@worldofmahler).

--Shuman Associates

American Pianists Assoc. Awards $50,000 to all 5 Classical Finalists
In response to the dire situation that musicians are living in, and in accordance with its mission to support and promote young American pianists, American Pianists Association's (APA's) President/CEO and Artistic Director Joel Harrison and its board of directors have awarded each of the five 2021 American Pianists Awards finalists--Dominic Cheli, Kenny Broberg, Mackenzie Melemed, Michael Davidman, and Sahun Sam Hong--a cash prize of $50,000 before they even begin the Awards public adjudication process.

Each pianist will travel separately over a period of weeks in Spring of 2021 for solo recitals to be professionally produced and livestreamed in HD, with no-in person audience. The competition will culminate June 25-27, 2021 with solo, chamber music with the Dover Quartet and concerto performances. The winner will receive the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship, consisting of career assistance for two years, publicity, performance engagements, an Artist-in-Residence post, and a recording contract with Steinway & Sons record label.

For more information on the American Pianists Association, visit www.americanpianists.org/.

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet

Orli Shaham MidWeek Mozart - The Complete C Major Sonata
This week pianist Orli Shaham shares the complete Sonata No.16, K. 545 in C Major, with MidWeek Mozart. Available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, June 10.

"The C major sonata is the first big classical sonata that most piano students learn. Mozart wrote this in a didactic way with all the fingerwork, technique, and getting around the keyboard with arpeggios, trills, and scales – it's all in there," says Ms. Shaham about Sonata No.16.

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

Xavier Roy Appointed General Manager of Festival de Lanaudière
The Board of Directors of Festival de Lanaudière announces the appointment of Xavier Roy to the position of General Manager Mr. Roy will take up his duties on July 1, following the retirement of François Bédard, who has guided the Festival's destinies since 1991.

"The Board of Directors of Festival de Lanaudière is delighted at the arrival of Mr. Roy, who will seamlessly pursue the organization's mission. His ambitions, expertise and his background in the cultural world and particularly in classical music will undoubtedly take Festival de Lanaudière to new heights," said Dr. Denis Richard Roy, Chair of the Festival's Board of Directors.

Renaud Loranger, the Festival's Artistic Director since 2018, also expressed his delight at Xavier Roy's appointment: "Xavier Roy was a first-rate candidate in a very high-level playing field, and he will be a formidable General Manager. He fully shares my vision for the Festival's development, and I am happy to welcome him as we usher in this new chapter."

--France Gaignard Press Relations

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Announces Summer and Fall Programming
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) announces the postponement of its scheduled fall 2020 Season to fall 2021 due to the ongoing uncertainties of the current pandemic and its commitment, first and foremost, to the health and safety of its audiences, artists, and staff. Rescheduling the fall season as a whole was a conscious artistic decision. It serves to honor both the artistic effort invested in the programming and the importance of the artists being able to eventually complete these creative endeavors. CMS will pay its performing artists 50% of their fees this season and 75% of their fees in 2021, to not only support them financially during these difficult times, but emotionally as well, by laying out a clear plan for moving forward that aims to inspire hope for the future.

CMS is currently programming an entirely new season of concerts for fall 2020 that is being curated and produced specifically for the online, at-home concert experience, and will, as always, feature exceptional production values, with crystal-clear HD video and uncompromised sound quality. Details of CMS fall 2020 Front Row programming will be announced later this summer.

--Kirshbaum Associates

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of June 15-21)
Monday, June 15 – Sunday, June 21:
MTT25: An Online Tribute series continues to celebrate Michael Tilson Thomas's 25-year music directorship at the San Francisco Symphony
https://www.sfsymphony.org/MTT25

Monday, June 15, Wednesday, June 17, and Friday, June 19 at 2:00 p.m. CT (rescheduled from June 8, 10, and 12):
Tulsa Opera's "Staying Alive" video series
https://tulsaopera.com/stayingalive/

Tuesday, June 16 as of 1:00 p.m. PT:
James Conlon continues discussion of Beaumarchais and The Ghosts of Versailles on LA Opera James Conlon at Home podcast
https://soundcloud.com/laopera

Wednesday, June 17 as of 12:00 p.m. ET:
Pop Up Pipa with Wu Man: Episode 12: Xuefei Yang
Saturday, June 20 as of 12:00 p.m. ET:
Pop Up Pipa with Wu Man: Episode 13: Duo Barocco
https://www.facebook.com/WuManPipa/

Friday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m. ET:
New World Symphony's "NWS Fellows: Live from Our Living Room"
https://www.facebook.com/NewWorldSymphony/

Saturday, June 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET (rescheduled from June 13):
Jennifer Koh concludes Alone Together series with new works by Kati Agócs, Vincent Calianno, Patrick Castillo, and Sugar Vendil
https://www.facebook.com/jenniferkohviolin/

Sunday, June 21:
Special video release of Michael Tilson Thomas's "Whistle Tune," part of San Francisco Symphony's MTT25 tribute series
https://www.youtube.com/user/sfsymphony

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

--Shuman Associates

HAUSER (of 2Cellos) to Stream Performance
HAUSER announces "Alone, Together--From KRKA Waterfalls," a special performance event from Croatia's gorgeous Krka National Park.  Performing solo among the park's world-famous waterfalls, the event will stream globally on HAUSER's official YouTube channel this Monday, June 15th at 2PM ET / 11AM PT.

The concert arrives on the heels of HAUSER's "Alone, Together--From Arena Pula," a special performance event the cellist dedicated to frontline workers in which he performed solo at Croatia's iconic Arena Pula without a live audience – watch the concert here.  The latest effort in HAUSER's continued goal to provide audiences everywhere a much-needed musical escape in these troubling times, the event will feature the acclaimed cellist performing his renditions of classic compositions.

Watch HAUSER's "Alone, Together--From KRKA Waterfalls" here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EejNUPl5bz0

Watch HAUSER's "Alone, Together--From Arena Pula" concert here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eYuUAV4YE4&feature=youtu.be

--Larissa Slezak, Sony Music

Moeran: String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 (CD Review)

Also, Fantasy Quartet; Piano Trio. Vanbrugh Quartet (Gregory Ellis and Elizabeth Charleson, violins; Simon Aspell, viola: Christopher Marwood, cello; Nicholas Daniel, Oboe; Joachim Piano Trio (Rebecca Hirsch, violin; Caroline Dearnley, cello;  John Lenehan, piano). ASV CD DCA 1045.

By Karl W. Nehring

As many music lovers everywhere are still pretty much staying home these days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this may be a good time to consider listening to some music that is easy on the ears and soothing to the soul. This recording of four pastoral chamber music compositions by Moeran, to which I have been listening quite often lately, may be just what the doctor ordered for these stressful times.

Ernest John Moeran (1894-1950) was an English composer with Irish roots. Like many English composers of his era, Moeran was a student of folk melodies and quite a lover of the outdoors – the scenes and sounds of the countryside. If you are a fan of some of pastoral works by British composers such as Vaughan Williams and Bax, you would do well to investigate the music of Moeran. Although his output was not extensive, it includes some wonderful music that deserves to be more widely performed and recorded. (As a starting point, you might want to take a quick look at reviews of his Symphony in G minor and Sinfonietta on Naxos and his Violin and Cello Concertos on Chandos in the Classical Candor archive.)

This ASV recording presents four works that display his gift for crafting melodies that stimulate the ear while soothing the soul. First on the docket is his String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, which he completed in 1921. From the opening measures, Moeran is inviting the listener to experience the at once calming and energizing sights, sounds, and smells of nature (well, perhaps not all of the smells). The music just flows, at times contemplative, at times restless, just as we might feel as we take a long hike through meadows and glens. The second movement sounds as though it has folk melodies as its basis, as though our hike has brought us into a small village where there is some singing to be heard through open windows. The third movement increases the energy and intensity level while bringing in elements of dance and merrymaking. This may not be the most profound of string quartets, but it certainly has a place among the more lovely.

Ernest John Moeran
Next up is Moeran's String Quartet No. 2 in E flat. According to the liner notes, the numbering system of the quartets is misleading. There are some indications in the historical record that Moeran wrote four quartets, but what we now have as No. 1 was probably actually the fourth of those, with what we have today as No. 2, which was not published until 1956, well after the composer's death, was either the second or third of the four. Confused? Don't worry, just enjoy the music and be glad we have what we have. This quartet is in only two movements, but does not sound incomplete, as the second movement shifts mood and style as it goes along, in some ways making it sound like it contains more than one movement. The first movement is reminiscent of the opening movement of the previous quartet, with that same pastoral, folk music based kind of sound. The second movement starts slowly for several measures, then develops a songlike quality, with some lovely lines for the viola. The mood of this movement then shifts to a more dance-like feeling, then more folksy, then back to the dance, ending with exuberant energy.

The Fantasy Quartet for oboe, violin, viola, and cello dates from 1948. It is in one movement, lasting nearly 14 minutes in this rendition, featuring oboist Nicholas Daniel. Inevitably, because of the sound of the oboe standing out from among the sound of the strings, the piece comes across as more of a reduced-forces oboe concerto than a true quartet. Still, it is a pleasant piece, at times lively, at times more subdued, but melodic and enjoyable throughout.

Vanbrugh Quartet
The final piece on the album, the most grand and least pastoral, is the Piano Trio in D, was first composed in 1920, first performed in 1921, then revised before finally being published in 1925. The first of its four movements opens with the piano as the featured performer (It is a piano trio, after all), playing exuberantly with the strings providing accompaniment. Although the mood may be less pastoral, there is still an underlying folk influence that makes its presence felt. The more peaceful second movement finds the cello taking the opening lead, then the violin, still with an underlying feeling of folk tunes. The piano gets some time in the spotlight before the strings reclaim the lead and the movement comes to a restful conclusion. The third movement turns the energy level back up, with the piano once again asserting itself in the lead role. There are some lovely passages where the strings play what sound like folk melodies that are then echoed by the piano. Later, the tempo slows down and the music becomes more reflective, piano and cello, then piano and violin, the movement ending with an energetic flourish. The final movement kicks off with the violin in the lead. The overall tone is similar to the opening movement, but with more contribution by the strings. There are some quiet passages before the energy returns at the end.

The sound quality is just fine. Perhaps not "audiophile grade" in terms of imaging or ambience, but certainly more than adequate to the task of conveying the beauty of the music. With four satisfying compositions that total more than 77 minutes of music and informative liner notes, this release makes a persuasive case for more widespread appreciation of the music of a largely overlooked composer, especially for those seeking musical balm in troubled times.

KWN

To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in D Minor (CD review)

Also, Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra. Solomiya Ivakhiv, violin; Antonio Pompa-Baldi, piano. Theodore Kuchar, Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. Brilliant Classics 95733.

No, not that one. This is the violin concerto Mendelssohn wrote when he was thirteen.

According to Wikipedia, "The Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra in D minor was composed by Felix Mendelssohn" around 1822. "It has three movements, Allegro–Andante–Allegro, and performance duration is approximately 22 minutes. Mendelssohn was considered by many of his time to be a prodigy comparable only to the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Besides being a brilliant piano virtuoso, his composition took a firm step forward in musical development. In the period when this concerto was composed, Mendelssohn composed twelve string symphonies. At the age of eleven, he had written a trio for strings, a violin and piano sonata, two piano sonatas, and the beginning of a third, three more for four hands, four for organ, three songs (lieder), and a cantata." And, of course, it would only be a few more years before he wrote the Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream.

"Mendelssohn wrote the concerto for Eduard Rietz (eldest brother of Julius Rietz), a beloved friend and teacher." However, "nobody ever performed it in Mendelssohn's own day, and it was only in 1952 that Yehudi Menuhin exhumed and premiered it." Today, we have several recordings of it, although I doubt that any of them, including this one under review, will help usher the concerto into the basic classical repertoire. While it is certainly pleasant and has much to commend it, it never rises to the level of maturity or musical accomplishment of the more-famous Violin Concerto in E minor, which the composer premiered in 1845. Still, this recording might be worthwhile if only as a musical curiosity.

Solomiya Ivakhiv
Violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv handles the solo part with a graceful ease that well captures the youthful spirit of the work. The melodies may not be as soaring or memorable as the ones he would later write, but they are sweet and soothing, qualities Ms. Ivakhiv expounds nicely. Under the leadership of Maestro Theodore Kuchar, the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra sounds as polished as ever, and Ms. Ivakhiv is appropriately expressive, lyrical, and, in the final movement, exuberant. I've heard this concerto played by four or five different violinists over the years, and none of them impressed me as much as this one. Maybe I'm just getting used to the music, or maybe Ms. Ivakhiv has given it just the right touch of sensitivity.

The album's coupling is another early work, the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, which Mendelssohn wrote in 1823. It received one private and one public performance but was never published in the composer's lifetime. And it, too, had to wait until the 1950's to receive a revival. Interestingly, Mendelssohn originally wrote it for only a string accompaniment but later added parts for wind and timpani, which we hear on this recording.

I could not remember having heard this duo concerto before and rather enjoyed it, perhaps more so than the early violin concerto alone. There is a grand sweep to the first movement that is invigorating, and the interplay of violin and piano is often a delight. The duo concerto is much longer than the early solo concerto, too, giving it a bit more substance and the soloists more room to maneuver. Then, too, Mendelssohn gives each of the instrumentalists little solo flights of their own from time to time, which add to the work's poignant charm. Another vivacious finale closes the show in rigorous fashion.

Producer and engineer Jaroslav Stranavsky recorded the concertos at The Fatra House of Art, Ziliny, Slovakia in November 2017. The orchestral sound is big and warm but without much depth. When the violin enters in the first concerto, it is well positioned and notably clearer, better detailed than the orchestra. As things progress, however, any minor qualms disappear, and we begin to appreciate how well the soloist and orchestra work together. The sound may be slightly soft, but it tends to fit the music in any case. In the second of the concertos, with both violin and piano, the two soloists appear a little too close for my taste and tend to dwarf the orchestra.

JJP

To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

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 simpleminded, 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 Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, Goldpoint SA4 Passive Preamp, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE loudspeakers. 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 cell phone. 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.

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.

The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.

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