Classical Music News of the Week, September 5, 2020

Foundation to Assist Young Musicians News

President's Message:
It is my hope that you are all doing well and dealing with this new normality.

It is a pleasure for me to be part of this foundation, which, even in these difficult times, finds a way to keep offering free lessons to all our students. I thank the members of the Board of Directors, our team of teachers, and of course our Program Coordinator, Tim Thomas, who has worked all these months to make sure that our students have online lessons. These lessons will continue during this new school year. --Claudia Rivera, Board Chairperson

Instrument Tuneups & Upgrades:
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.

Scholarship Recipients:
The Foundation to Assist Young Musicians (FAYM) continues scholarship awards in 2020 by proudly announcing the winners of the Audrey Bush Memorial Scholarship. Audrey was a pillar of the Las Vegas musical community, principal bassist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and long-time bass instructor at UNLV.  As the result of a generous donation by her former student, Catherine Pyke, FAYM has been able to establish a scholarship in her memory that is exclusively for String Bass Seniors graduating from Southern Nevada High Schools. We are honored to have received such high caliber applications and audition videos from qualified candidates in the first year of this scholarship. Read below about the 2020 Audrey Bush Memorial Scholarship recipients.

This year's winner is Samuel Morgan, who has been studying bass since he was in Junior High School.

Please join the Family of FAYM:
You can donate directly online: https://www.nfggive.com/donation/26-1472871

OR by mailing your check to:
FAYM:  PO Box 1993; Las Vegas, NV 89125-1993.
Share your love of music with a deserving youngster. You'll be glad you did! (All Contributions are Tax Deductible.)

For more information about FAYM, visit https://www.thefaym.org/

--Foundation to Assist Young Musicians

SOLI Presents "Moments of SOLIcitude," Ep. 8
SOLI's summer video series “Moments of SOLIcitude” continues with Episode 8, featuring I SOLO'd with SOLI Virtual Tour.

Each year SOLI works with area pre-college students on finer details on becoming a better chamber musician through its SOLI Saturdays educational program, which culminates in the I SOLO'd with SOLI contest and tour. This year, Education Director Carolyn True compiled the five winning student videos (filmed in San Antonio) with those of SOLI's violinist Ertan Torgul (filmed in Ft. Worth), and cellist David Mollenauer and clarinetist Stephanie Key (both filmed separately in Lake Tahoe). Interspersed with the brief videos are photos from SOLI at home and abroad, working with students, collaborating with friends, and traveling. We hope you enjoy our 2020 virtual tour!

The episode premieres on Wednesday, September 2 and is now available anytime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOkdfwXYG4c&feature=youtu.be

--SOLI Chamber Ensemble

What's Streaming: Classical (September 5-13)
Saturday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m. BT
Stephen Hough performs at BBC Proms

Tuesday, September 8
Shai Wosner embarks on Diabelli Variations project

Thursday, September 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Jen Shyu joins percussionist Keita Ogawa at the Free Assembly Festival

Minnesota Orchestra at Home

--Shuman Associates

Czech Philharmonic Launch 125th Season
The Czech Philharmonic’s 125th season launches to capacity audiences on 23 September 2020. Conducted by Semyon Bychkov at the start of his third year as the Orchestra’s Chief Conductor and Music Director, the concert will open with Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto with pianist Daniil Trifonov and trumpeter Selina Ott, and close with Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. Earlier in the month on 4 and 5 September, Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic will open the 2020 Dvorák Prague International Music Festival with an all Dvorák programme featuring the Cello Concerto performed by the Czech Philharmonic’s Cello Principal Václav Petr and the New World Symphony.


--Ginny Macbeth and Moë Faulkner, Macbeth Media Relations

Chicago Opera Theater Announces Expanded Programming for Digital 20/21 Season
Chicago Opera Theater is pivoting to a digital 20/21 season, with expanded programming that features five full operas, new Vanguard commissions, and season two of digital conversation series Inner Workings.

“Like most arts organizations, we’ve had to take stock of our values and strengths to determine how best to approach our season,” said Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director Ashley Magnus. “For COT, the priority is honoring our commitments to our artists and our audiences – which means leveraging our agility to find new ways to connect with our community.”

Performances will be expertly filmed by new Chicago-based company Valhalla Media, and streamed live from the Harris and Studebaker theaters, without audiences in the house. Via the Valhalla Media Live platform, COT will present five operas, including three Midwest premieres and two brand-new works by Vanguard Emerging Opera Composers.

Subscription packages and single tickets are available at cot.org or by calling 312.704.8414.

--Beth Stewart, Verismo Communications

Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart
 Pianist Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart continues this week with the first movement from Sonata No.9, K. 310 - available to stream for free beginning Wednesday, September 2.

"Mozart in a minor key is such a powerful experience," says Ms. Shaham. "In 1778, around his trip to Paris in which his mother died, he confronted minor keys in the Piano and Violin Sonata K.304 and in this Piano Sonata. Although they are quite different in many aspects, they both present an anxious intensity that is overwhelming.  This is one wild ride, going to the darkest pits of our emotions. It leaves one breathless."


--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

“Music with a View” Starts This Weekend
“Music with a View” starts this weekend with concerts on Friday and Sunday featuring the Sheridan Solisti Piano Quartet. Limited in-person concert tickets are available as are unlimited Livestreamed tickets on IN.LIVE


https://sheridanmusicstudio.com/event/4115025/530523954/music-with-a-view-1-sheridan-solisti-piano-quartet Sept. 6th Highland Park, Outdoor seating only.  $25 General Admission 50 People Max.

Livestreams:

COVID-19 info: Our indoors studios are equipped with HEPA Air Filtration and UV Light Air purifiers for your safety and protection. Masks must be worn by all indoor attendees. All guests will be screen prior to entry for an indoor event.

--Sheridan Music Studio

Louis Vierne @ 150: Tragic Life, Brilliant Music
 October 8: Organist Christopher Houlihan celebrates the brilliant music and tragic life of Louis Vierne on the French composer's 150th birthday.

Though he was a prolific composer and a virtuoso organist the compelling and tragic life story of Louis Vierne (1870-1937) has scarcely been told. The life of this organist of Notre-Dame Cathedral was appallingly difficult. He was born nearly blind. His wife left him for his best friend. His son and brother were killed in WWI. His performance career was nearly destroyed by a broken leg. He was addicted to tranquilizers and cigarettes.

And most dramatically of all, he died at the organ during a performance to a packed house at Notre-Dame. Despite his miserable circumstances, Vierne composed a vast body of brilliant music in nearly every genre, though he is most revered for his organ works.

The organist Christopher Houlihan, who became known as an authority on the music of Louis Vierne with marathon performances in 2012, brings the French composer's work to the fore in honor of the 150th anniversary of his birth.

For more information, visit ChristopherHoulihan.com

--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

It's Time to Sparkle!
American Bach Soloists' Free Live Stream Virtual Gala Coming Up On Saturday September 12 at 5 pm. ABS's annual Sparkle Gala takes on an entirely new style this year as a live-streaming online event and you're invited!

Visits by more than 30 of our musicians along with 4 special guests will bring to you an evening of familiar faces and performances. Enjoy a Full Week of Fun Ways to Support ABS.

Online Auction:
Sunday September 6 through Saturday September 12

Live Stream Gala:
Saturday September 12 starting at 5 pm
AND IT'S ALL FREE!
Sign up today for free access to the auction and live stream gala: americanbach.org/sparkle

--American Bach Soloists

Great Performances
“Great Performances: Romeo and Juliet” premieres Friday, September 11, 2020 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/gperf, and the PBS Video app.

Starring Royal Ballet dancers William Bracewell as Romeo and Francesca Hayward as Juliet ("Cats"), this film adaptation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece from BalletBoyz takes legendary Royal Ballet choreographer Kenneth MacMillan’s 1965 ballet into the streets of a cinematic Verona, offering a passionate reimagining of this timeless love story. The film is set to Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s original 1938 score performed by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and filmed on atmospheric studio sets in Budapest.

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

Heartbeat Opera Announces Its 2020-2021 Season
Heartbeat Opera--the fast-growing indie opera company whose visceral, re-imagined, re-orchestrated and stripped down stagings of classic operas have been called "a radical endeavor" by Alex Ross in The New Yorker--continues to take its programming online in light of COVID-19. As artists face increasing financial hardship, Heartbeat Opera takes pride in the fact that 85% of their fall budget is going toward employing more than 50 collaborators.

Its 2020-2021 season follows a summer of innovative quarantine content that garnered praise for its ingenuity and spirit: a sold-out run of 32 virtual Lady M soirées that Operawire declared "will be remembered as groundbreaking"; and Heartbeat's moving and glorious virtual choir rendition of Leonard Bernstein's Make Our Garden Grow, created in the earliest days of quarantine.

Complete information here: https://www.heartbeatopera.org/

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

Festival de Lanaudière Is Back for Six Indoor Concerts
This fall, Festival de Lanaudière is offering six major concerts at the Cathédrale de Joliette.

Elated to reconnect with its audience, Festival de Lanaudière presents “Autumn Notes,” an ambitious series of six indoor concerts, as well as surprise outdoor performances spread over two weekends in September. True to its finest tradition, the Festival welcomes the country's greatest orchestras and classical musicians to the beautiful Lanaudière region.

“Having obtained the green light from Public Health authorities for 250-person gatherings, we were eager to immediately send a strong and clear message: music lives, and it brings us closer together! This is the very first fall season for the Festival, and its aim is to bring hope to the entire community,” says Artistic Director Renaud Loranger.

All concerts will be presented in the unique atmosphere of the Cathédrale de Joliette, authentic birthplace of Festival de Lanaudière. 250 tickets are available for each concert, for the price of $50 (taxes and service charges included) at lanaudiere.org.

--France Gaignard, CN2 Communications

Bang on a Can Presents Michael Gordon’s House Music
On Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 8pm ET, Bang on a Can will present a special one-hour live, online event featuring cellist Ashley Bathgate performing Michael Gordon’s House Music. Gordon composed House Music for Bathgate, which was written to be performed only in intimate spaces, such as a living room, for a small audience. Gordon explains his intentions behind the music: "House Music remembers the time when radio, stadium concerts and CDs did not yet exist. Music was something to enjoy in a homey atmosphere."

House Music is an hour-long concert of virtuosic cello songs, premiered by Bathgate in The Tiny Cello House on the IJ waterfront in Amsterdam as part of the 2018 Cello Biennale Amsterdam. For this upcoming special live-stream event, she will broadcast directly from her home to yours, speaking informally, recreating the experience of being together in a living room. Tickets for this event will be limited to maintain the intimacy of a house concert and are available for purchase at https://live.bangonacan.org/.

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

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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