Classical Music News of the Week, September 12, 2020

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of September 14–20)
 
Monday, September 14 – Sunday, September 20
Shai Wosner's Daily Diabelli continues
https://www.facebook.com/ShaiWosner
 
Tuesday, September 15 at 5:00 p.m. PT
James Conlon discusses music of Walter Kaufmann in live conversation presented by Colburn School
https://www.rcmusic.com/performance/arc-ensemble
 
Wednesday, September 16 at 2:00 p.m. CT
Tulsa Opera’s Staying Alive continues with tenor Samuel White
https://tulsaopera.com/stayingalive/
 
Friday, September 18 at 2:00 p.m. PT
Wu Man presented by Museum of Making Music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1KDNzVIp94&feature=youtu.be
 
Saturday, September 19 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Jen Shyu’s Group Lesson: Inner Ear Strengthening for Improvisation
https://www.patreon.com/jenshyu
 
Minnesota Orchestra at Home
https://minnesotaorchestra.org/blog
 
--Shuman Associates
 
CSO's Robert Chen Helps Launch Music Institute's 90th
Two Chicago institutions, both committed to cultivating and spotlighting talented musicians, come together to recognize milestone anniversaries for the first in a series of collaborations. The Music Institute of Chicago, celebrating 90 years of excellence, innovation, and accessibility in music education, presents “Families in Concert,” a weekend of virtual performances to raise money for scholarships and financial aid October 9–11 at its historic Nichols Concert Hall. WFMT,  to celebrate 70 years in 2021 as one of the world’s most respected classical music radio stations, airs and streams the concluding event, a performance by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Robert Chen and his family.
 
On Friday, October 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 10 at 5 p.m., the Music Institute presents two programs of virtual performances to raise support for scholarships and financial aid for its students. Both programs feature students from the Music Institute’s Community Music School and its Academy for gifted pre-college musicians. The recital programs, which will be prerecorded at Nichols Concert Hall, will be available at musicinst.org/families.
 
--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago
 
Moments of SOLIcitude Ep. 9
Sit back and enjoy Episode 9 of SOLI’s summer video series Moments of SOLIcitude on YouTube Premieres. This week our video will feature two selections from composer Ethan Wickman's Ballads of the Borderland, Elegy and Metallurgist's Scherzo.
 
The larger work, Ballads of the Borderland originally premiered on February 27, 2017, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, in San Antonio, TX.
 
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=481TAOZAVRo&feature=youtu.be
 
--Stephanie Key, SOLI Chamber Orchestra
 
Catherine Gregory and David Kaplan's Meditation
For today's Meditation, we celebrate the tremendous artistry of Catherine Gregory and David Kaplan and their improvisation on Bach/Gounod's Ave Maria, which they play at slow speed and fill with color, with visuals by Marie Gregory. It is magical and calming to reflect on life at this slow tempo, and the musical space that opens up as a result.
 
Listen and watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDY-ftXwLRQ&feature=youtu.be
 
--James Blachly, Experiential Orchestra
 
Minnesota Orchestra Redesigns Fall Concert Season
The Minnesota Orchestra will return to the Orchestra Hall stage this fall with a revised concert season designed for television, radio and streaming audiences. Beginning on October 2, six Friday night concerts—including two led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä—will simultaneously be shared live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT)’s MN Channel and online at minnesotaorchestra.org.
 
Hosted by Sarah Hicks, the broadcasts and livestreams will afford wide and easy access for audiences across the state (and beyond) to experience a Minnesota Orchestra performance. Most concerts will also be shared live on Classical Minnesota Public Radio and at classicalmpr.org, hosted by Melissa Ousley.
 
The concerts will feature ensembles of up to 25 Orchestra musicians performing programs created for at-home viewing instead of an in-person audience. Each performance will offer approximately 60 minutes of music and be programmed with appropriate health and safety measures in place for the musicians. Specific programs will be announced later this month.
 
Audiences will be able to access Minnesota Orchestra fall concerts in the following ways:
For TV viewing on TPT’s MN Channel (TPT 2.2) live on Fridays at 8 p.m. Central (audiences can check local listings for rebroadcast times).

For radio listening live Fridays at 8 p.m. Central on stations of Classical Minnesota Public Radio, including 99.5 FM in the Twin Cities and online at classicalmpr.org, hosted by Melissa Ousley (MPR will broadcast live concerts on October 2 and 23; November 6 and 20; and December 4).
For livestream viewing Fridays at 8 p.m. Central online at minnesotaorchestra.org and on social media.

Performances will be available for free on-demand access after the concerts at minnesotaorchestra.org.
 
--Shuman Associates
 
The 9th Annual “Morningside Lights” Tradition Returns
The favorite neighborhood tradition “Morningside Lights,” presented by the Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre at Columbia University, returns virtually this year with “Harlem Night Song,” inspired by Langston Hughes’ 1926 poem. Ever since “Morningside Lights” first set off through Morningside Park in Upper Manhattan nine years ago, the core mission has been to bring people together in a shared act of artistic expression. And while this year’s events are virtual, the common bond remains the same, and the results are expected to be just as awe-inspiring.
 
The “Morningside Lights” community will digitally contribute their assembled text, images, and voices to create a shared work of art, allowing their lanterns to illuminate Hughes’ poem and embody its spirit of togetherness in dark times.
 
A limited number of "create your own lantern at home" kits will be made available to the general public, with reservations required on morningside-lights.com. Kits will be distributed to registrants at a socially-distanced pick-up location outside of Miller Theatre (Broadway at 116th Street) on September 17, 18, and 19. Kit recipients will be assisted in the creation of their lantern through a video tutorial with Processional Arts Workshop, and will have access to virtual workshops to build their lanterns with the rest of the community via Zoom.
 
Information and kit reservations are available at www.morningside-lights.com
 
Click here to watch a video of “Morningside Lights 2019”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2YL7c8q9ms
 
--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.
 
Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart
Pianist Orli Shaham's MidWeek Mozart continues this week with the second movement from Sonata No.9, K. 310 - available to stream for free.
 
"This lyrical writing from Mozart is a great contrast to the turbulent first movement," says Ms. Shaham. "The marking con espressione captures the heartfelt emotions in this movement, very much an opera aria in pianistic form."
 
Watch and listen here: https://orlishahammozart.com/
 
--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications
 
ABS: "Fridays with Friends" in Gala Week
I hope that you have been enjoying American Bach Soloists’ “Fridays with Friends” series of music videos and interviews with some of ABS’s artists. It’s been great fun to read and hear about our musicians’ favorite books, movies, cooking skills, gardening tips, home renovations, appreciations of nature, and recent musical explorations while we’re all temporarily “off season.”
 
We have some great plans for our future communications installments with you, and we think that—just as you’ve enjoyed 12 weeks of “ABS at Home” featuring daily musical selections from our recordings followed by 12 weeks of “Fridays with Friends”—you’ll find our next virtual connections even more exciting. Stay tuned for that!
 
Meanwhile, Saturday night is our Live Stream “Gala Week” Fundraiser Event. Find out all about it here: https://e.givesmart.com/events/hr3/
 
And here:
Saturday September 12 at 5 pm (Pacific), free online at americanbach.org/sparkle
 
--Jeffrey Thomas, American Bach Soloists
 
Music Institute Students Win Grand Prize
Trio Primavera, coached by Rodolfo Vieira and Mark George, featured:
    Jan Vargas Nedvetsky (Wilmette, Illinois), age 14, cello
    Esme Arias-Kim (Hoffman Estates, Illinois), age 14, violin
    Yerin Yang, (Mount Prospect, Illinois), age 17, studying piano performance in the studio of Matti Raekallio at The Juilliard School.
 
Dasani String Quartet, coached by Mathias Tacke, featured:
    Isabella Brown (Gurnee, Illinois), age 17, violin
    Katya Moeller (Coralville, Iowa), age 16, violin
    Zechariah Mo (Rolling Meadows, Illinois), age 18, studying viola performance in the studio of Paul Coletti at The Colburn School
    Brandon Cheng (Chicago, Illinois), age 17, cello
 
For more information about the Music Institute of Chicago, visit https://www.musicinst.org/
 
--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago
 
Vents nordiques … pour chasser la COVID-19
The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) is opening the season with a program combining sound power and total freedom! On Sunday, September 27 (3 p.m.) the audience is invited to attend Vents nordiques… pour chasser la COVID-19, at Salle Pierre Mercure. This original program explores a musical nordicity rarely heard, like an antidote, sweeping COVID-19 out of our minds.
 
The woman with the hammer: the phenomenon Galina Ustvolskaya
Two works by the little known Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya will see audiences discovering the unique sonorities of her repertoire, long limited to her St. Petersburg universe before it was revealed to the entire world.
 
One of Quebec's most original voices Quebec pays tribute to Sibelius
Rounding out the program is Pohjiatuuli (“North wind” in Finnish), a work by Michel Longtin, featuring nordic accents and honouring Sibelius. This Quebec composer, recognized as one of Canada's most original voices, integrates his own musical language with that of Sibelius while echoing the northern landscapes.
 
This work, winner of the 1986 Jules-Léger Prize, gives the audience an opportunity to appreciate the Longtin style with all its sonic and poetic power. Renowned clarinetist André Moisan will be the distinguished soloist, adding a special dimension to this performance.
 
For tickets and information, visit https://centrepierrepeladeau.tuxedobillet.com/main/vents-nordiques-pour-chasser-la-covid-19
 
--France Gaignard, Publicist
 
Making Music in the Pandemic via IN.LIVE
Sheridan Music Studio's Blue Skies Concerts officially opens the Fall season with a virtual-only concert on IN.LIVE performed by Grammy-Award Winning Musician, Jon Samson, a native of South Africa, and current a resident of Brooklyn, New York. The Virtual Concert will be Livestreamed on Wednesday September 16th, 2020 at 12 Noon, CDT. Information about the Septemebr 16th Concert can be accessed at this link: https://patch.com/illinois/highlandpark/blue-skies-concerts-presents-grammy-award-winner-jon-samson-nodx?utm_source=share-link&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=share
 
Before this Livestream Concert, however, Sheridan Music Studio presents The Saturday June Band on Saturday September 12th at 5pm in our last SummerMusic Outdoor Concert in Highland Park, IL, which will also be Livestreamed on IN.LIVE. This concert will features the award-winning international performing artist, Sarah Greene on violin and vocals.
 
This article offers more information about the September 12th concert: https://patch.com/illinois/highlandpark/making-music-pandemic-nodx?utm_source=share-link&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=share
 
You can purchase tickets at Sheridan Music Studio (https://sheridanmusicstudio.com/events-purchase-tickets) or on IN.LIVE (https://in.live/).
 
--Sheridan Music Studio
 
Saratoga Performing Arts Center Presents Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK
On September 21, 2020, Saratoga Performing Arts Center will present Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK, a GPS-enabled work of public art in the Saratoga Spa State Park that uses music to illuminate the natural environment.
 
Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid and co-commissioned by Saratoga Performing Arts Center as part of its SPAC REIMAGINED 2020 season, Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is an immersive audio experience tailor-made for the Saratoga Spa State Park featuring its famous natural springs, wooded areas, a geyser, a waterfall and more. The New York Philharmonic, a co-commissioner of this work, presented the World Premiere of Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK, September 10 in New York City's Central Park. The exhibit is free to the public, and can be experienced while following social distancing guidelines.
 
For all the details, visit https://spac.org/ellen-reid-soundwalk/
 
--Rebecca Davis PR
 
Decameron Opera Coalition Present World Premiere of “Tales from a Safe Distance”
In the most ambitious operatic commission to emerge from the global pandemic, the newly formed Decameron Opera Coalition, comprised of nine US-based companies and one creative team, will premiere “Tales from a Safe Distance” with a multi-week virtual release in October 2020.
 
This bold new work is inspired by an historic text, Boccaccio’s The Decameron. A masterwork of classical Italian literature, The Decameron is the tale of ten people who are quarantined together outside of Florence during the Black Plague in the 14th Century. “Tales from a Safe Distance” reimagines this story to reflect the way people are connecting with each other through technology during this extraordinary time in the world’s history. Episodes will be released weekly, featuring multiple stories from participating companies and unique creative teams.
 
The host of the project, providing a musical and dramatic prologue & epilogue for this unique and unforgettable new work, is the acclaimed Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni.
 
Tickets are now on sale for the Decameron Opera Coalition’s multi-week, online streamed opera project: https://decameronoperacoalition.org/
 
--Catherine Pisaroni, Lenny’s Studio

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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