Classical Music News of the Week, August 1, 2020

Jupiter String Quartet Gives World Premiere

The Jupiter String Quartet remains committed to making music during these challenging times, and in place of its scheduled in-person performance will give a virtual concert presented by Rockport, Maine’s Bay Chamber Concerts on August 6, 2020 at 7:30pm, recorded from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where the ensemble has been artists-in-residence since 2012. The concert will be available for the public worldwide to watch at www.baychamberconcerts.org.

The Jupiter is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Meg Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (Meg’s older sister), and cellist Daniel McDonough (Meg’s husband, Liz’s brother-in-law). Now enjoying their 19th year together, this tight-knit ensemble is firmly established as an important voice in the world of chamber music. The New Yorker writes, “The Jupiter String Quartet, an ensemble of eloquent intensity, has matured into one of the mainstays of the American chamber-music scene.”

On August 6, the Jupiter will give the world premiere of composer Michi Wiancko’s To Unpathed Waters, Uncharted Shores, a new commission for them by Bay Chamber Concerts with the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, alongside Beethoven’s monumental String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132. The new work was commissioned in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of Bay Chamber Concerts as well as Maine’s Bicentennial, and is paired with Beethoven’s music in honor of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

For more information, visit www.jupiterquartet.com

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

What's Streaming: Classical / Theater (Week of August 3–9)
Monday, August 3 at 6:30 p.m. MT (one-time-only viewing)
Sun Valley Music Festival: Gala performances by Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara, and Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Tuesday, August 4 at 2:00 p.m. CT
Tulsa Opera’s “Staying Alive” continues with soprano Sarah Coburn.

Tuesday, August 4 at 6:30 p.m. MT (one-time-only viewing)
Sun Valley Music Festival: Reich, Golijov, Mozart, Handel, and The Beatles, for strings and percussion.

Thursday, August 6 at 6:30 p.m. MT (one-time-only viewing)
Sun Valley Music Festival: Mason Bates’s Mothership and Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata.

Thursday, August 6; Friday, August 7; and Saturday, August 8 at 5:30 p.m. PT
Miró Quartet concludes live-streamed Beethoven cycle with late quartets and Grosse Fuge.

Saturday, August 8 at 6:30 p.m. MT (one-time-only viewing)
Sun Valley Music Festival: Family Concert Inspiring Duos.

Sunday, August 9 at 6:30 p.m. MT (one-time-only viewing)
Sun Valley Music Festival: Daniil Trifonov in recital.

Minnesota Orchestra at Home

--Shuman Associates

Notable Encounters Online - Dvorak Bass Quintet
Today we are pleased to introduce a four-episode Notable Encounter Online exploring the Bass Quintet in G major by Antonin Dvorak. In this first episode, Scott Yoo discusses how the addition of a double bass affects a musical ensemble.

On behalf of our Board of Directors, our artists, our staff, and our hundreds of volunteers, we thank you for staying home and helping to slow the spread of COVID-19. We will perform for you live in our favorite venues— and some new ones as well— when our local and state officials deem safe.
In the meantime, we have prepared some new Notable Encounters Online for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Recently a few of our artists came together safely with music director Scott Yoo to prepare Brahms’s Second String Sextet and Dvorak's Bass Quintet.

For the next several days, we will send you a daily episode to illuminate the genius behind these masterpieces. We will conclude with a complete performance of each work at the end of the week.

You may view all past Notable Encounters Online here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpI84aVMZC_JMcvmgm1PMyAEKlyuY0cLK

--Scott Yoo, Music Director, Festival Mozaic

American Composers Orchestra Announces New Commissions and Virtual Premieres
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) announces Volume 3 of Connecting ACO Community, featuring seven commissions to be premiered online on Sundays at 5pm ET between August 2 and October 4, 2020, for a ticketed audience on ACO’s YouTube Channel. Each session includes a live conversation with the featured composer and performer(s), hosted by ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel or ACO President Edward Yim, in addition to the performance.

ACO initiated Connecting ACO Community in response to the coronavirus pandemic crisis and since launching it on April 19 has created twelve brand new pieces by twelve composers, written for twelve solo performers plus the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, through the program. Previously commissioned composers include Ethan Iverson, Shara Nova, Vicente Hansen Atria, Sakari Dixon Vanderveer, Gity Razaz, Yuan-Chen Li, Joseph Pereira, Karena Ingram, Krists Auznieks, Lembit Beecher, and Alejandro Basulto Martinez.

Volume 3 includes seven more commissions and premieres, and features four soloists, two duos, and a sextet of musicians from ACO. Commissioned composers and performers for this installment include Tanner Porter composing for cellist Eric Jacobsen and vocalist Aoife O’Donovan; Vincent Calianno composing for trombonist Mike Seltzer; Wynton Guess composing for pianist Aaron Diehl; Amina Figarova composing a flute duo for ACO orchestra musicians Susan Palma Nidel and Laura Conwesser; Dawn Norfleet composing for vocalist Clarice Assad, voice; Guy Mintus composing for violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins; and Brian Nabors composing for a sextet of ACO Musicians (violinist Debbie Wong; violist Sandy Robbins; cellist Gene Moye; bassoonist Harry Searing; flutist Diva Goodfriend Koven; and harpist Susan Jolles).

August 2, 2020 – October 4, 2020
Online world premieres streaming live on Sundays at 5pm ET


More information here: bit.ly/ACOConnectVol3

Watch Connecting ACO Community Volumes 1 and 2 on ACO’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqToHsgaez-t3iuWx42eG8pcmQTdazOuf

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

Arranging Songs That Sound Pro
When you pick up a lead-sheet for a song, it looks pretty sparse, doesn’t it? I imagine you wonder, ‘what do I do with it?’ I also imagine that you pick up already arranged versions of songs, right? The problem is they don’t sound all that wonderful, and some are difficult to play. Have you found that to be true?

The four videos in this post take a song and show several ways to create arrangements that are not only surprisingly easy but indeed, sound ‘pro’. It shouldn’t take you but a short time to get the idea of the arrangements, then start to practice them. I think you will be excited at what you can do with a minimum of effort… work smart, not hard!

In addition, you will be learning the language of music that can be used directly in the classics because you will have a working knowledge of the different chord identities with their characteristic intervals. Not hard!

But please, if you haven’t already, get your copy of ‘Learning the Language of Music… with Bach’ in my last post and continue to work with the videos in that post. It will be a life-changing experience since you will be learning things you never learned previously. The companion videos, ‘Rudiments’ are a must! I have avoided ‘theory’ like the plague in all posts!


--Ralph Hedges, Chopin Piano Academy

HAUSER Performs from Dubrovnik, Croatia
HAUSER now shares the third installment in his “Alone, Together” concert series, this time taking fans to the historic old town of Dubrovnik for a special solo performance amongst the city’s stunning scenery. “Alone, Together--From Dubrovnik” is now streaming globally on HAUSER’s official YouTube channel. With cinematic views of the city and surrounding Adriatic Sea, HAUSER’s latest performance includes a mix of classic compositions as well as his renditions of popular themes from film and television titles.

The repertoire fittingly includes a nod to “Game of Thrones,” much of which was filmed within the medieval walls of Dubrovnik’s old town, with HAUSER performing his rendition of the series’ well-loved theme song from the iconic Fort Lovrijenac. The latest in his series of “Alone, Together” performances, the event arrives on the heels of HAUSER’s previous concerts filmed in an empty Pula Arena in Croatia and the beautiful Krka Waterfalls National Park – watch HAUSER’s recent concerts here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdVkHRu3zRbJvd6VxF31HlgiNCf0mhtrQ

--Larissa Slezak, Sony Music

Episode 3 of SOLI's new Summer video series, "Moments of SOLIcitude"
Don't miss Episode 3 of SOLI's new summer video series Moments of SOLIcitude on YouTube Premieres featuring an original work composed and performed on Bass clarinet by SOLI's Stephanie Key with Sound Design and mixing by Jason Murgo.

Inspired by the prints by American artist Mary Bonner and the words of President Barack Obama, this project was created for McNay Art Museum's '100 Years of Printmaking in San Antonio' exhibit in 2018. Stephanie was inspired to create this original music in response to Marry Bonner's powerful print Fighting Bulls and inspirational text from President Barack Obama's acceptance speech on November 6, 2012.

The episode premiered Wednesday, July 29.


--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

New Century Announces 2021 Season
Music Director Daniel Hope and New Century Chamber Orchestra announced today a 2021 season that includes two San Francisco Bay Area subscription weeks in February and April.

Returning to the stage for the first time since January 2020, New Century will present a reduced season highlighted by the world premiere of a new work for piano and string orchestra by Chinese composer Tan Dun at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall, featuring Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov; an evening of orchestral works in honor of Mozart’s birthday showcasing American violist Paul Neubauer and Daniel Hope in the composer’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E-flat Major, K. 364; and a selection of string orchestra masterworks including Bloch’s Conceto Gross No. 1 and Dvorák’s Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op. 22 as well as George Gershwin and Kurt Weill song suites arranged by Paul Bateman.

In addition to performances in Berkeley, San Francisco and Marin, New Century will be at the Green Music Center in Sonoma and a debut appearance at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles.

For more information, visit https://www.ncco.org/ebrochure

--Brenden Guy PR

Festival de Lanaudière Connected: Charles Richard-Hamelin Gives the Finale
Festival de Lanaudière unveils its surprise concert, scheduled for August 9: an exclusive recital by pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, filmed at the Musée d'art de Joliette. The pianist will perform Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonatas Nos. 13 and 14, Op. 27 – which includes the famous “Moonlight Sonata” – as well as Frédéric Chopin's 24 Preludes, Op. 28.

“I am very pleased to be performing live again in my hometown. Festival de Lanaudière is one of the events and places in the world where I have experienced some of the best moments of my career,” remarked Mr. Richard-Hamelin, whose last concert dates back to early March.

For Artistic Director Renaud Loranger, “It is only fitting to close our virtual edition with a unique concert given by one of the finest musicians from the region.”

For complete information, visit https://www.lanaudiere.org/en/

--France Gaignard, CN2 Communication

Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart - Piano Sonata No.16
Pianist Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart features a different complete Mozart piano sonata each week. This week enjoy Sonata No.16, K. 545 in its entirety, available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, July 29.

"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.


--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

Arlen Hlusko as the New Bang on a Can All-Stars Cellist
Bang on a Can announces Canadian cellist Arlen Hlusko as the newest member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Hlusko has been performing with the All-Stars throughout the 2019-20 season and now joins the group as the permanent cellist.

Bang on a Can Co-Founders and Co-Artistic Directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, welcome Hlusko by saying, "We're thrilled to introduce the dynamic cellist Arlen Hlusko as the newest member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Her spectacular playing and commitment to community engagement wowed us all!"

Hlusko’s first official performance as an All-Star will be Saturday, August 1, 2020 at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA as part of Bang on a Can & Friends, two nights of live-in person music on July 31 and August 1. She’ll perform a solo work - Michael Gordon’s Light is Calling - as well Louis Andriessen's Workers Union and Thurston Moore's Stroking Piece #1 with the All-Stars.

More about Bang on a Can & Friends, including program info, performer bios, and COVID-19 safety information, is available at friends2020.bangonacan.org.

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Announces CMS FRONT ROW: National
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) announces a new digital initiative to enable local chamber music venues to bring its outstanding series of digital chamber music concerts, CMS: FRONT ROW, to audiences around the country. That not only brings the concerts to new audiences, it also gives local presenters a tool they can use to stay in touch with their audiences while concert halls in the U.S. and Canada remain shuttered.


--Beverly Greenfield, Kirshbaum Associates

PARMA Summer 2020 Call for Scores
PARMA Recordings is pleased to present our Summer 2020 Call for Scores. We are currently accepting submissions for Armenian Symphony Orchestra, Live Orchestral Performance. Performing Artist: The Armenian State Symphony Orchestra

One selected work will be performed live via the PARMA Live Stage.

Studio recording and release: Selected scores will be recorded and commercially released by PARMA Recordings. For these recording options, the submitter is responsible for securing funds associated with the production and retains all ownership of the master and underlying composition. Grammy Award-winner Brad Michel (PARMA’s Senior Producer, North America) is available to produce approved sessions.

Works for soloists, duos, Ttios, quartets, or quintets. Recording locations: Boston, MA / The Czech Republic.
        
Works for full or chamber orchestra.
Recording Artist: The Grammy Award-winning Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra.

The deadline for all submissions is August 14, 2020. Interested in submitting your work? Visit our website for more information: https://www.parmarecordings.com/call-for-scores/

--PARMA Recordings

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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 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