Classical Music News of the Week, July 4, 2020

PBS: Evgeny Nikitin in Der Fliegende Holländer

A reminder that Wagner’s eerie early masterpiece, Der Fliegende Holländer, premieres on “Great Performances at the Met” Sunday, July 5 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with Evgeny Nikitin as the cursed Dutchman, Anja Kampe as Senta, Franz-Josef Selig as Daland, and Sergey Skorokhodov as Erik. Valery Gergiev conducts, and Lisette Oropesa hosts.

To view an excerpt from the opera, visit https://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/excerpts-der-fliegende-hollander-k5w0fj/11621/

Also coming up: “Great Performances at the Met: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” premieres Friday, July 17 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). This primetime opera stars Eric Owens and Angel Blue as the duo Porgy and Bess and is hosted by Audra McDonald.

Later this year: 2018's “Great Performances at the Met: Tosca” airs Sunday, August 2 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and “Great Performances at the Met: Maria Stuarda” airs Sunday, September 6 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

EXO “Morning Meditation” by Pauline Kim Harris
Today's “Morning Meditation,” Human Hybrid, is by Pauline Kim Harris, created in collaboration with Jesse Stiles and Angela Washko.

Pauline is an invaluable part of our EXO team – she is our Creative Consultant, our orchestral contractor, and she has been a guiding force for EXO from the very beginning. I am grateful for her creative vision, her strength, and her integrity. She embodies what is so amazing about this musical city--excellence, drive, and caring for each other.

Her “Morning Meditation” is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOBJxzkjt4c&feature=youtu.be

--James Blachly, Experiential Orchestra

Festival de Lanaudière Gets Connected with a Virtual Edition
Festival de Lanaudière will be a completely connected event this summer as it delves into the first virtual edition in its history: fifteen timeless concerts from the Festival's and Société Radio-Canada's video archives will be broadcast and accessible free of charge on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, on lanaudiere.org and via social networks, from July 10 to August 9.

"Circumstances currently prevent us from welcoming members of the public into our concert venues. We have, therefore, decided to reach out to them this summer with the help of technology. In Lanaudière's star-studded history, the concerts in this virtual edition are nothing short of legendary. What a thrill it is to relive such rich hours of music!" exclaimed Artistic Director Renaud Loranger.

Exceptional concerts, historic moments:
The public is invited to a series of encounters with some of the world's greatest artists, on a unique journey through the history of the Festival, from 1986 to 2019. Renata Scotto, Maxim Vengerov, Kent Nagano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Orchestre Métropolitain, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Gwyneth Jones, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Paavo Järvi are among the featured performers. Some of these recordings have never been made publicly available before!

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

--France Gaignard, CN2 Communication

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of July 6-12)
Tuesday, July 7
New podcast series: “Embrace Everything: The World of Gustav Mahler”
TheWorldOfGustavMahler.org

Wednesday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Jennifer Koh plays Bach, Berio, and Mazzoli in Kent Blossom Music Festival Virtual Concert
Kent.edu/Blossom

Saturday, July 11 at 7:00 p.m. PT
Miró Quartet completes year-long Beethoven cycle for Chamber Music Northwest
https://cmnw.org/concerts-tickets/virtual-summer-festival/miro-quartet-beethovens-finale/1109

Minnesota Orchestra at Home
https://minnesotaorchestra.org/blog

--Shuman Associates News

Orli Shaham “MidWeek Mozart” - A sonata with a Bit of "Magic"
This week pianist Orli Shaham brings you Movement III, Allegretto, from Sonata No.17, K. 570, with MidWeek Mozart. Available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, July 1.

"Mozart includes what appears to be a reference to The Magic Flute, which was to be his next hit," says Ms. Shaham. "The way he wove it into the rondo, it's as if he's taking himself seriously and then he's laughing at himself about it--you can hear the laughter in the music."

“Midweek Mozart”: https://orlishahammozart.com/

--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

Sun Valley Music Festival Announces Programming for Online 2020 Summer Season
Festival Music Director Alasdair Neale and Executive Director Derek Dean today announced the schedule of online events for the recently announced, virtual reimagining of the 36th annual Sun Valley Music Festival Summer Season. These premiere webcasts, produced by this summer’s Creative Director James Darrah, are being specially created for these digital proceedings and will air online as free, one-time-only events over the three weeks when the live, in-person Festival had been scheduled to take place—Monday, July 27, to Wednesday, August 19.

All concerts will be webcast at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time via the Sun Valley Music Festival Web site: SVMusicFestival.org.

--Shuman Associates News

“Room | to | Breathe” Continues with Five New HD Streaming Concerts
Broadcast live from the cell theatre and curated by co-artistic directors Blythe Gaissert,  Louis Levitt, and Michael Kelly, “Room | to | Breathe” celebrates intersections of musical styles from classical to contemporary, spoken word, visual and performance art. All performances are thematically aligned with a charitable organization, which will receive a portion of ticket sales in addition to donations.

Upcoming Dates:
July 11 & 25 | August 8 & 22 | September 12
All shows occur 5:00pm and at 8:00pm

Ticketing for online access to the virtual concert:
Single tickets: $25 per event at: bit.ly/bstcell
Season pass: Buy 5 get 1 free: All six shows for $125

Information and excerpt at https://vimeo.com/430754923

--Paula Mlyn, A440Arts

Pathways: Art & Technology
“America’s foremost new-music group” (Alex Ross), the International Contemporary Ensemble, and bespoken, a mentorship program for self-identifying female, non-binary, and trans women artists in classical, contemporary, and jazz music, co-present Pathways: Art & Technology, a free, four-part series of panels and workshops focusing on the intersection of technology and art.

Each session features speakers discussing their artistry and practice across four disciplines – moving image, audio engineering, live-sound, and video – and how their work intersects within each area. The series intends to serve as platform for empowerment, breaking down the barriers to using technology in an artist’s practice, especially for women and gender non-conforming artists. After hearing from each artist about their artistic journey, the panel will split into two topic-specific breakout rooms--sound and video--where attendees are encouraged to bring questions related to their own projects.

More information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pathways-art-technology-part-i-tickets-110430115448

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Watch Young People’s Chorus Perform This Fourth of July
I am thrilled to share with you a clip of YPC's upcoming performance in the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks celebration, which will be airing this Saturday on NBC at 8:00 p.m. We are so excited to perform a special arrangement of "Lean On Me" with Dr. Elvis as well as a brand-new arrangement of "America the Beautiful" with John Legend.

I remember as a child watching fireworks on the roof of our building in Washington Heights, surrounded by family.  In that moment, I always felt a sense of hope, that I was part of something much larger - a world made up of many different voices, faces, thoughts and beliefs. Hope is what drew my parents to this country, this idea of a better life. This year, the Fourth of July is especially poignant. We are at a major inflection point in America, and our young people are leading the way. I have seen it in their passion as they march, and I hear it in their voices when they sing.

This is what YPC was built for--to bring children from every corner of every neighborhood together on a global stage so their voices can be heard. We are especially thrilled to participate in this year’s Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Celebration, extending this stage for our children’s voices. I hope you and your family can join us as we all look up--together.

Click here for details: https://ypc.org/event/macys-4th-of-july-fireworks-show/

--Francisco J. Núñez, Founder/Artistic Director
Young People's Chorus of New York City

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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