Classical Music News of the Week, May 1, 2021

Virtual Concert Invitation from the Frederick Historical Piano Collection

Dear Friends of Historical Piano Concerts and The Frederick Piano Collection: We will be hosting a Groupmuse online, and we’d love for you to be there!

In case you are unfamiliar with the term, this is an event organized by the platform Groupmuse, that in these socially distant times enables friends, family, and communities worldwide to come together online--not only for the much-needed connection, but to listen to and support live chamber music.

This will be our first Groupmuse concert. Our pianist for the event, Clemens Teufel,  having played Groupmuses before, has found the platform so satisfactory, he recommended it to us. Clemens, who has played on our regular concert series, will perform works of Liszt on our 1859 Erard; two Chopin nocturnes on the 1840 Erard after Intermission; then back to the 1859 Erard for Chopin’s Bb-minor Scherzo.

Here's how it works: Wednesday evening, May 5th, at 7:30, via Groupmuse, we will host Clemens Teufel’s concert. At 7:15 we and our guests will gather in a Zoom meeting for introductory hellos. It will be fun to see people from around the world tuning in! The concert will begin about 15 - 20 minutes later on Groupmuse's website, streamed through Youtube live, just for us! The program will last about 50 minutes with a brief intermission after the Liszt selections.  After the concert, there will be a private Q&A with Clemens, as well as additional time to chat and hang out online.

In order to attend, you must RSVP, by clicking here: https://www.groupmuse.com/events/11561-chopin-and-liszt-on-historical-erard-pianos-clemens-teufel-plays-at-the-frederick-historical-piano-collection

A $3.00 RSVP charge pays Groupmuse for coordinating this program.

--Pat and Mike Frederick, The Frederick Collection of Historical Grand Pianos

5BMF and The Noguchi Museum Present the Argus Quartet
Five Boroughs Music Festival and The Noguchi Museum co-present the daring and innovative Argus Quartet in a digital world premiere concert, noise/SILENCE. Part of Five Boroughs Music Festival’s 2020-2021 digital mainstage season, noise/SILENCE is co-produced by the Argus Quartet and was filmed on-site at the Queens-based Noguchi Museum in early April 2021.

The program explores the symbiosis of silence and sound through music inspired by and in response to the art of Isamu Noguchi, the iconic 20th century sculptor. Noguchi’s sculptures, on display at his eponymous museum, provide a stunning backdrop to the Argus Quartet’s performances of works by John Cage, Rolf Wallin, Dorothy Rudd Moore, and Paul Wiancko, who joins the quartet as a guest performer for his piece, Vox Petra.

Watch for free on the 5BMF YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh3WIOTWXtE
Learn more at https://5bmf.org/events/noise-silence

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

New Multimedia Work from Daniel Wohl for iSing Silicon Valley
iSing Silicon Valley, the award-winning girlchoir based in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, is thrilled to announce the world premiere of Drift, with music by Daniel Wohl, “a sorcerer of electroacoustic music” (NPR). and video by Máni M. Sigfússon, known for his genre-bending work with Ólafur Arnalds, the Rolling Stones, and Sigur Rós.

Commissioned by iSing, Drift is a five-minute multimedia work for treble choir, electronics, acoustic instruments, and video. It is iSing’s first multimedia and entirely digital commission. Drift will debut on May 15th at 8am PT/11am ET on iSing’s YouTube channel. The piece will also be a part of their concert, Choosing Harmony on Saturday, May 22, at 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on YouTube (free, and streaming afterward).

View here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ising+silicon+valley

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet

What's Streaming: Classical (Week of May 3-9)
Thursday, May 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET:
Bass-baritone Davóne Tines performs an aria from X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X and VIGIL with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
https://www.philorch.org/performances/our-season/events-and-tickets/digital-stage-2021/fire-hope-and-truth/

Friday, May 7 at 6:00 p.m. ET:
Lara Downes presents an online workshop, "Welcome to the Rising Sun: Shining a light on music by Black composers," for the Manhattan School of Music.
https://msmnyc.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0qdemhqDoiGdV5IJ-3kiWj1X-Y1fDjQsFK

Friday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. PT:
Lara Downes presents "Holes in the Sky" webinar as part of her University of Oregon virtual residency.
https://music.uoregon.edu/breaking-news/lara-downes-virtual-residency

--Shuman Associates

The Crossing and Annenberg Center Present “The Month of Moderns Outdoors”
Grammy Award-winning choir The Crossing, led by Donald Nally, announces the return of its annual summer festival of new music, “The Month of Moderns 2021,” co-presented with the Annenberg Center from June 3-19, 2021. Each of the three outdoor programs, spread throughout Philadelphia and neighboring New Hope, will be performed with singers and audience spatially distanced using The Crossing’s Echoes Amplification Kits designed by in-house sound designer Paul Vazquez, which allow an intimate aural experience while observing pandemic-time protocols.

The Crossing will reprise their sold-out October 2020 run of The Forest at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope from June 3-6, 2021; perform the world premiere of Matana Roberts’ “we got time.”, a work honoring the life of Breonna Taylor, presented in collaboration with Ars Nova Workshop at The Woodlands in West Philadelphia from June 11-13, 2021; and present the world premieres of At which point by Wang Lu and an expanded version of Ayanna Woods’s Shift, plus the U.S. premiere of David Lang’s the sense of senses, at Awbury Arboretum in Germantown on June 18 and 19, 2021. Tickets will go on sale May 11, 2021.

More information: https://www.crossingchoir.org/

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Roberto Alagna, Aleksandra Kurzak, Lise Davidsen on PBS
Great Performances at the Met: Lise Davidsen in Concert premieres beginning Friday, May 7 on PBS (check local listings). The New York metro area broadcast premieres Monday, May 17 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN.
        
The soprano performs arias and songs that brought her success around the world including selections from Wagner’s “Tannhäuser,” Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos,” Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut,” and Scandinavian songs by Sibelius and Grieg, from Oslo’s Oscarshall Palace in Norway. The concert was recorded last August. James Bailleu accompanies her on piano and Christine Goerke hosts.

--Elizabeth Boone, WNET

Bang on a Can presents Steve Reich and Amy Sillman
Bang on a Can, BOMB Magazine, and the Jewish Museum announce their latest online event: a live conversation featuring two of the most renowned American artists of their generation -- composer Steve Reich and painter Amy Sillman -- plus performances of two Reich classics: Piano/Video Phase and Electric Counterpoint by the Bang on a Can All-Stars’ David Cossin (percussion) and Mark Stewart (electric guitar).

Among the most iconic and well known composers of his generation, Steve Reich’s music has had a broad influence that continues to inspire music makers across genres, from techno and electronica to rock and roll. In the words of The Guardian, “There’s just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich in one of them.”

Reich will be joined in conversation with Brooklyn-based painter Amy Sillman, who had two triumphal exhibitions in New York last year -- a show of her own work at Barbara Gladstone Gallery and one she curated for the reopening of The Museum of Modern Art. Coincidentally, she is also Steve Reich’s cousin.

Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 7:30pm EDT
Streaming at https://live.bangonacan.org/

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

PARMA Live Stage
On Thursday, May 6th at 7:00 pm EDT, composer and pianist David Haney and multi instrumentalist Dave Storrs will present a unique classical experience featuring improvisations on famous works by Ravel, Stravinsky, among others.

Learn more about the event here:
https://www.parmarecordings.com/event/david-haney-live-stream-05-06-21/

On Friday, May 7th at 7:30 pm EDT, Ken Field (alto saxophone/electronics) and Dave Harris (tuba) present a wide-ranging electro-acoustic performance of composed and improvised music, including works from the repertoire of Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, plus re-envisioned treatments of material by J.S. Bach, Charlie Parker, and others.

Learn more about the event here: https://www.parmarecordings.com/event/ken-field-david-harris-live-stream-05-07-21/

On Wednesday, May 26th at 2:00 pm EDT, In honor of the 100th anniversary of Astor Piazzolla’s birth, the PARMA Music Festival is pleased to present ¡Gracias, Astor! by Tanguango Quinteto, whose performance is dedicated to the tango nuevo movement. The concert features compositions by Piazzolla, the father of tango nuevo, and works composed with his influence, including selections by Serbian artists and Argentinian traditional tango songs in “nuevo” arrangements.

Learn more about the event here: https://www.parmarecordings.com/event/tanguango-quinteto-live-stream-05-26-21/

Finally, on Thursday May 27th at 6:30 pm EDT, Eight Strings and a Whistle will be performing a concert where in addition to new works, they will play two works from their upcoming PARMA release.

Learn more about the event here:
https://www.parmarecordings.com/event/eight-strings-and-a-whistle-live-stream-05-27-21/

--Aidan Curran, PARMA Recordings

Chant Boreal: Bringing Students Together for a Wild Project
The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) Youth Sector proposes a new musical adventure in the form of virtual choirs that will bring students together around an original creation: Chant boréal.

Composed by François-Hugues Leclair to an evocative text by Serge Bouchard, Chant boréal invites students to slip into the shoes of animals from the boreal forest to create a collective work. The children are invited to learn pieces of their choice from the four canons of l'Écureuil roux, Le Lynx, Le Hibou, and l'Ours blanc and to film themselves. Their contributions will then be professionally edited into a large virtual choir and broadcast on the web.

More information available here: http://www.smcq.qc.ca/balado/fr/balado/smcq55/SMCQ_L_histoire

--France Gaignard

American Pianists Association Awards 2021
The American Pianists Association has updated its 2021 classical award plans. The five finalists, Dominic Cheli, Kenny Broberg, Mackenzie Melemed, Michael Davidman and Sahun Sam Hong, have each recorded a private adjudicated recital with WFYI TV in Indianapolis. The recitals begin broadcasting May 23rd for five consecutive Sunday afternoons via multiple platforms including radio, Facebook and YouTube (full schedule below). The five pianists will return to Indianapolis for the finals in front of live audiences June 25–27.

Concerts throughout the weekend include chamber performances with the Dover Quartet and concerto performances with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gerard Schwarz. All finals weekend performances will be hosted by two–time Grammy award–winning vocalist Sylvia McNair and WQXR–FM radio host Terrance McKnight.

The 2021 competition will feature a new commission by Laura Kaminsky called "Alluvion," which will be performed by each of the finalists during their solo recitals. Previous commissions include works from Judith Zaimont, Lowell Liebermann, Augusta Read Thomas, Earl Wild, Lisa Bielawa, Missy Mazzoli, Sarah Kirkland Snider and others.

The five finalists were announced in early March 2020 just before the world was turned upside down, and in June of 2020 in response to the dire situation that musicians were (and still are) living in, American Pianists Association awarded all five 2021 classical finalists a cash prize of $50,000.

On June 27th, the winner of the American Pianists Awards will receive the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship, valued at more than $100,000, which includes the previously awarded (in June 2020) $50,000 cash award as well as career assistance for two years, including publicity, performance engagements of concerti and solo recitals worldwide, an Artist–in–Residence post at the University of Indianapolis, and a recording contract with Steinway & Sons record label.

For more information, visit https://www.americanpianists.org/

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet

Chicago’s Bach Week Festival Announces 2021 Virtual Concert Lineup
Chicago’s 2021 Bach Week Festival will arrive as a virtual two-concert series of free-to-view webcasts May 16 and 21 featuring instrumental and vocal music of the festival’s namesake, German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, plus a work by Bach contemporary Georg Philipp Telemann, in prerecorded and livestreamed performances.

Bach works will include a selection of chorales and chorale preludes for organ, an organ toccata, a harpsichord concerto, and a Brandenburg Concerto. Internationally recognized young violist Matthew Lipman will make his Bach Week Festival debut as soloist in Telemann’s landmark Viola Concerto.

“We’re going Bach to basics in our first festival since the onset of the COVID-19 situation,” Richard Webster, Bach Week’s longtime music director, says. “The focus is squarely on J. S. Bach and a satisfying swath of his music.”

For complete details, visit https://bachweek.org/

--Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR

B Live: A Series of 6 Concert Films
A baroque Hungarian palace hosts music from the Carpathian Basin and a Bach violin sonata graces a Montana mountaintop. Dutch treats sweeten a New Amsterdam house in Brooklyn, while a stately viol concert animates the stones of a medieval Basel sanctuary. An English titan of the lute brings forth rarities in Bloomington, while gems of the English Renaissance ring through the foothills of the Berkshires.

A testament to early music’s fortitude in the face of challenging times and technical leaps, B Live unites six unique locations and over 25 outstanding musicians in an online series like no other. Both subscription and individual ticket purchase options are available. All concert premieres will be followed by a live Q&A with the artists and Salon/Sanctuary Artistic Director Jessica Gould

All concerts premiere at 3pm EST and will run for a week. Each concert lasts one half hour. Individual tickets are $10, a six concert subscription is $50.

For details, visit https://www.salonsanctuary.org/blive

--Salon/Sanctuary Concerts

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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

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to classicalcandor@gmail.com

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa