Classical Music News of the Week, July 25, 2020

Notable Encounters Online: Brahms Sextet in G Major

This week would have been the first days of Festival Mozaic's Summer 2020 music festival, celebrating 50 years of incredible music, gatherings, and community here in beautiful San Luis Obispo.

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 Sextet in G major.

You can view all past and present Notable Encounters Online episodes here:

--Festival Mozaic

Brahms String Sextet - Full-Length Performance
And now the moment you have all been waiting for! We hope you enjoy this amazing full-length performance of Brahms' String Sextet in G major.

This performance from Festival Mozaic features the artistry of Grace Park and Scott Yoo, violins; Jessica Chang and Ben Ullery, violas; and Robert deMaine and Jonah Kim, cellos.

--Festival Mozaic

XO Morning Meditation - Panorama
This week's Morning Meditation, “Panorama,” was composed by Jessie Montgomery and Eleanor Oppenheim, and comes from their collaboration called Big Dog Little Dog. We are grateful that Juliette Woodcum created the artwork for this meditation in direct response to the music.

As a violinist, Jessie played many of my earliest compositions, recording several of them. Over the past decade or so, I have been honored to premiere several of her pieces, including her first commission for orchestra. I encourage you to listen to all of her music and read about her truly remarkable career.

The Big Dog Little Dog project is described as the "mind-melding duo project" of Jessie and Eleanor.

Listen and view this Experiential Orchestra Morning Meditation here:

To purchase “Panorama” and other music from this great collaboration, click here:

--James Blachly, Experiential Orchestra

The Language of Music… as Bach Gave It to Us
I have wondered why we must study theory to understand music.

Theory is a “system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.” …from the dictionary on the web. The italics are mine. What this says to me is that we don’t open a piece of music, but that we open a theory manual to understand music.

I don’t think so.

I have put together a set of videos that shows what there is in a piece of music, using the Bach Prelude in C major as the guide. 

There are seventeen (17) videos using the Prelude at the piano. There are also six (6) videos on areas that you can use, not the rules and procedures of the theory manual.

I will appreciate your thoughts on the matter, and I hope that you will consider purchasing the material inherent in this post. Everything is learned directly from this Prelude as you play. It is a way of learning directly from the music that is available nowhere else. I’m including a free sample here:

I also hope that you will follow me, and use the concepts that I have advanced, to be used in your own work, and in your own teaching. I use it every time I sit at my piano.

--Ralph Hedges, The Piano Professor

“Room | to | Breathe” Series Presents "Culture Creatures"
A 6-part streaming concert series co-presented by the cell and Bright Shiny Things.

Next in the series is Culture Creatures presented on July 25th, and featuring award winning composer/vocalist Kamala Sankaram, guitarist Drew Fleming of Bombay Rickey, visual artist Kevork Mourad, and Postmodern Jukebox's Arthur Vint. Culture Creatures dives deep into the great variety of cultural influences in the creative world with original compositions by Sankaram, American Songbook selections, an Edith Piaf classic and unexpected alt-pop hits from Pink and Glen Hansard. Part of all proceeds will benefit The Young Center For Immigrant Children’s Rights.

--Paula Mlyn, A440 Arts

Foundation to Assist Young Musicians: July Newsletter
While waiting for in-person lessons to resume, the need to continue FAYM’s connection to its students and families remains our prime focus. This musical connection is important to our collective well-being and it is vital that a child’s music education does not lapse. In light of the current situation, FAYM will continue to evolve, reimagining its connections to our students, families and supporters in innovative and impactful ways outside of the classroom.

We are now connecting with our kids virtually, one-on-one, bringing music education into their homes through our on-line learning experience. Currently, over 67 students from all three community centers (East Las Vegas Community Center, Pearson Center and the East Las Vegas Library) are taking advantage of FAYM’s on-line lessons on violin, viola, cello and bass.

Our dedicated on-line teaching team, consisting of six highly qualified instructors, spends valuable one-on-one time with each of their students, providing motivation and encouragement, while tracking their progress. Parents of students wishing to enroll in FAYM’s on-line learning program should do so by July 27th.

Additionally, our Program Coordinator, Tim Thomas has scheduled in-person “Instrument Days” at the East Las Vegas Community Center where students and parents can bring their instruments to be tuned, re-strung, repaired or changed out as necessary.

While distance learning continues for the time being, we are anxious to re-establish our orchestra and mariachi ensembles when it is safe to meet again. In the meantime, FAYM’s innovative approach and creative thinking underscores our unwavering commitment to uplift our community in the months and years ahead.

Please join the Family of FAYM. You can donate by mailing your check to FAYM, PO Box 1993; Las Vegas, NV 89125-1993 or directly online:

--Foundation to Assist Young Musicians

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of July 27 – August 2)
Monday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m. MT:
Opening night of the Sun Valley Music Festival, including performance of finale from Beethoven’s Fifth.

Tuesday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. MT:
Sun Valley Music Festival features Orion Weiss in Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata.

Thursday, July 30 at 5:30 p.m. PT:
Miró Quartet continues live-streamed Beethoven cycle with “Harp” and “Serioso” Quartets.

Thursday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. MT:
Sun Valley Music Festival continues with Leila Josefowicz and more.

Friday, July 31 at 5:30 p.m. PT:
Miró Quartet live-streams Beethoven’s late quartet Op. 127 in E-flat major.

Friday, July 31 at 6:30 p.m. MT:
Sun Valley Music Festival presents Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio.

Saturday, August 1 at 5:30 p.m. PT:
Miró Quartet concludes third week of Beethoven cycle with Op. 132 string quartet.

Minnesota Orchestra at Home

--Shuman Associates

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Presents Virtual Event
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra presents a free virtual concert, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 7:00 P.M. Eastern. The event features Orpheus musicians performing in small chamber groups for the first time since February 2020, and the exclusive online premiere of Orpheus’ 2015 Dresden Music Festival performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, filmed at the Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany in celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the reconstruction of the Dresden Frauenkirche after it was destroyed in World War II.

The evening will also feature free A Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed party packs mailed to those who RSVP by July 24 (available while supplies last), a pre-show happy hour with cooking videos by Orpheus musicians, illustrations of how Orpheus is taking its education and community engagement programs online, special messages from Orpheus board members and musicians, and appearances by guest artists including saxophonist Branford Marsalis and pianist Khatia Buniatishvili.

In addition to the Dresden Mendelssohn performance, the program includes Valerie Coleman’s Danza de la Mariposa [Dance of the Butterfly] for solo flute; Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Clarinet Quintet Op. 10, mvt. IV; Jessie Montgomery’s Duo for Violin and Cello, mvt. III; and Rossini’s “Di Piacer mi Balza il Cor” from La Gazza Ladra for bassoon, voice, and string quartet performed by Orpheus musicians cellist Eric Bartlett, bassoonist and vocalist Gina Cuffari, clarinetist Alan Kay, violist Dana Kelley, flutist Elizabeth Mann, and violinists Richard Rood and Eric Wyrick.

Performance Information:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 7:00 P.M. Eastern
Watch on the Orpheus Website, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram
Tickets: Free

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

“Festival de Lanaudière Connected”
Festival de Lanaudière's “connected” edition has garnered more than 16,000 screenings over its first two weekends. To date, six concerts selected from the Festival's archives and marking its 42 years of existence have been presented… and the number of registrations keeps increasing for the next broadcasts.

“This is a robust and highly positive response that demonstrates our love of classical music, the joy of revisiting great moments together, and the atmosphere of Canada's largest classical music festival,” remarked Artistic Director Renaud Loranger.

Overview of the concerts on July 24, 25 and 26. Follow the links:

Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf - July 24 | 19 h 30 -

Kent Nagano Conducts Mahler -July 25 | 19 h 30 -

Gwyneth Jones in Concert - July 26 | 15 h 30 -

--France Gaignard, CN2 Communication

Orli Shaham's “MidWeek Mozart”
All through July, Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart features a different complete Mozart piano sonata each week. This week enjoy Sonata No.3, K. 281 in its entirety, available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, July 22.

--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

King's Singers Announce New Music Prize for Composers
Grammy-winning, internationally acclaimed British vocal ensemble, The King’s Singers, have teamed-up with Washington National Cathedral and choral publishers, Walton Music to create the New Music Prize for composers in the U.S.A. and Canada.

“Throughout history, music has provided hope and healing at some of societies’ most challenging times. We’re launching The King’s Singers New Music Prize to recognize, develop, and encourage a spirit of musical creativity in today’s world. Through this Prize, we hope to leave the world a musically richer place than we found it.” 
The King’s Singers

Composers are invited to write a new choral piece using one of five beautiful texts chosen by The King’s Singers and Creative Advisor Charles Anthony Silvestri. Works include Emily Dickinson’s I Had No Time To Hate, James Weldon Johnson’s The Gift to Sing, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Invitation to Love, Malcolm Guite’s The Singing Bowl, and a new work written especially for the competition, When All Falls Silent by Silvestri.

The King’s Singers New Music Prize is open to residents of the U.S.A. and Canada. Entries open on Tuesday July 21, 2020 and close at 3pm ET / 12pm PT October 16, 2020. All submissions must be new, original works and may be written in any musical genre. They cannot have been published, performing in public or have been recording for commercial or public use.

For more information, visit

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet

Midsummer’s Music 2020
Midsummer’s Music Reimagined for 2020, celebrating 30 years of extraordinary chamber music.  Midsummer’s Presents a 5-week virtual season sowcasing classical favorites and seldom heard treasures by women and composers of color.

Midsummer's Music, whose concerts have been hailed as “exiting, pulse-pounding, and riveting” will present a virtual season of chamber music concerts for five weeks starting August 5.  Devoted Midsummer’s fans and new chamber music enthusiasts can enjoy the free concerts, which will be streamed at, YouTube, and via Facebook, allowing audiences to enjoy performances in the comfort of their home. Nationally recognized radio personalities John Clare of 107.3-St. Louis & Sirius XM, Lisa Flynn of WFMT-Chicago, and Norman Gilliland and Lori Skelton of Wisconsin Public Radio will serve as concert hosts.

In consideration for the safety of its audiences and musicians, which is of paramount concern to the organization, Midsummer’s Artistic Director Jim Berkenstock and Assistant Artistic Director Allyson Fleck cleverly reimagined the 30th Anniversary season with consideration given to COVID-19 pandemic social distancing guidelines and welcomes global audiences to experience and celebrate Wisconsin’s oldest summer chamber music series.

The virtual season will feature five programs performed by world-class musicians, including returning favorites, violinists David Perry and Ann Palen, violist Sally Chisholm, cellist Paula Kosower, pianist Jeannie Yu, flutist Heather Zinninger-Yarmel, clarinetist Dan Won, and new to Midsummers, cellist Greg Sauer, to name a few. Midsummer’s artists will, as always, draw upon on the extraordinary talent of musicians from the Chicago Symphony, Chicago's Lyric Opera, Milwaukee Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Aspen Music Festival, China National Symphony, the Ravinia Festival, and the renowned Pro Arte Quartet.

For the complete schedule, repertoire and more, visit

--Genevieve Spielberg, GSI Artists

Colburn School Honors Eric Whitacre and Max. H. Gluck Foundation
On Sunday, July 19, 2020, the Colburn School honored composer Eric Whitacre and the Max H. Gluck Foundation with the Richard D. Colburn award, for their exemplary achievements and contributions to the worlds of classical music and the performing arts. The award was presented by Colburn School President and CEO Sel Kardan during a virtual reception preceding The Way Forward, a private online event that replaced the traditional gala concert with an all-encompassing experience that connected the School’s resilient artistic community with a global audience.

“It is a special privilege to recognize the important contributions of Eric Whitacre and the Max H. Gluck Foundation, especially during this time when connecting through the arts matters more than ever,” said Kardan. “Both Eric and the Foundation have given so many people from Los Angeles and throughout the world the means to find hope and build communities through the power of music.”

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

Los Angeles Master Chorale Postpones 2020-21 Season
The Los Angeles Master Chorale announced today that it will postpone the originally scheduled 2020-21 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall to the 2021-22 season due to the pandemic. Because of the postponement, changes to the previously announced repertoire may be necessary; details about the concerts, including dates and times, will be announced at a later date.

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

Bang on a Can Presents Two Concerts
Bang on a Can and MASS MoCA announce Bang on a Can & Friends – two nights of LIVE in-person music under the Berkshire stars – on Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 8:30pm, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. With a maximum capacity of 100 people, the concerts will be held outside in MASS MoCA’s spacious Courtyard D and concert goers will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing. Bang on a Can Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe say:

“MASS MoCA is now reopened to the public and we are ecstatic!  For the 21st year in a row, Bang on a Can is thrilled to be partnering with MASS MoCA, bringing our boundary-busting concerts to the Berkshires.”

Extremely Limited Tickets Available ($35 for one night / $60 for both nights) on sale Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at

More information:

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

The Crossing and WMPAC Co-Present World Premiere of David Lang's in nature
On Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. ET, Warren Miller Performing Arts Center (WMPAC) and Grammy-winning choir The Crossing, led by conductor Donald Nally, co-present the world premiere of David Lang’s in nature, performed in real time with Montana-based choir Roots in the Sky (formerly the Aoide Chamber Singers).

The work is specifically written as a hybrid of live and pre-filmed music observing the limitations presented by COVID 19. 20 singers of The Crossing recorded one-at-a-time at the Icebox Project Space at CraneArts, while four socially-distanced singers of Roots in the Sky perform live from WMPAC during the premiere on August 1. As such, they reach over the 2100 miles span between them to make a work of art together. in nature reflects The Crossing’s commitment to their Montana summer home at WMPAC, led by its Artistic Director, John Zirkle. The text, by Lang, is a series of reflections and thoughts of being in nature and, as such, the work both celebrates and marks the absence of nature during the pandemic.

Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. MT/8:00 p.m. ET
Tickets: $7-19

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

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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 Jon 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

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa