Classical Music News of the Week, July 24, 2021

Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Begins Aug. 3

Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival is back on stage, August 3-13, 2021. The venerable chamber music festival’s 42nd season features performances by Artistic Directors Jon Manasse and Jon Nakamatsu, the Escher Quartet with Brian Zeger, and Imani Winds. Audiences will have their choice of three atmospheric venues. The historic, 300-year-old First Congregational Church in Wellfleet, the picturesque Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor’s Center in Eastham, and one of Cape Cod's major performing arts hubs; the Cotuit Center for the Arts. Year-round residents and summer visitors alike will have the opportunity to enjoy world class performances in nine concerts over two weeks.

The festival kicks off with a concert "In Celebration of Our Audience" performed by Jon Manasse (clarinet) and Jon Nakamatsu (piano). "Our wonderful Festival audience has shown incredible dedication and optimism, despite the difficulties of the past year. We conceived of this first concert as a personal message of gratitude for their support and a celebration of live chamber music returning to the Cape. We are thrilled to offer a season of programs including established masterpieces and exciting discoveries," says the two artistic directors about the program.

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

--Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications

A Dazzling Start for the Festival de Lanaudière
To thunderous applause, the guest artists of the Festival de Lanaudière completely won over an audience clearly overjoyed to finally get back to live concerts. The first two concerts were sold out.

The Festival's second weekend is set for great surprises too! Les Grands Ballets and Les Violons du Roy unite again, to the delight of all lovers of beautiful music, offering a program of mesmerizing dance, enchanting music and divine singing. The following provides an overview of the concerts at the Amphithéâtre Fernand-Lindsay.

For details, visit: https://www.lanaudiere.org/en/broadcast/

--France Gaignard, CN2 Communication

Beginning Aug. 6 on PBS: Diana Damrau & Joseph Calleja in Concert
We're excited to continue to bring audiences this special season of Great Performances at the Met with concerts from Met Opera stars around the world. “Great Performances at the Met: Diana Damrau & Joseph Calleja in Concert” premieres beginning Friday, August 6 on PBS (check local listings).

The soprano-tenor duo take the stage to sing works by Verdi, Bizet, Rossini and more performing from the Cappella Palatina of the Royal Palace of Caserta. Hosted by soprano Angel Blue, the pair are accompanied by Vincenzo Scalera on piano. The New York metro area premiere of the concert is Sunday, August 8 at 12:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Also coming up, “Great Performances: Vienna Summer Night 2021” premieres Friday, August 27 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/gperf, and the PBS Video app. Conducted by Daniel Harding at Austria’s Schönbrunn Palace, the Vienna Philharmonic’s annual summer night concert features special guest pianist Igor Levit.

--Elizabeth Boone, The WNET Group

Philharmonia & AMOC Announce Star-Filled World Premiere
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale (PBO) presents the world premiere of The No One’s Rose at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall on August 26–29, 2021.

A production from American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) that combines music, dance, poetry, and theater, The No One’s Rose features a new score by Matthew Aucoin, set to the poetry of Holocaust survivor Paul Celan, alongside music by Bach, Berlioz, Schubert, Sam Cooke, and Paul Simon. The work, which explores deep questions of how to move forward and return to joy after a world-altering catastrophe, assumes even greater significance as the pandemic continues to shift.

For more about PBO’s 2021-22 season, visit https://philharmonia.org/

--Aleba Gartner, Aleba & Co.

TIME:SPANS Festival 2021
On Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 7:30pm, the TIME:SPANS Festival presents the magnetic and experimental percussion and piano quartet Yarn/Wire at Mary Flagler Cary Hall at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music. Yarn/Wire performs the world premieres of Andrew McIntosh’s Little Jimmy and Wolfgang Heiniger’s Neumond, in addition to Zosha Di Castri’s Tachitipo, which was nominated for a 2021 JUNO Award.

American composer Andrew McIntosh’s Little Jimmy (2020) for two pianos and two percussionists is a 29 minute piece commissioned by Yarn/Wire for the 2020 Virtual TIME:SPANS Festival. In his compositions, McIntosh works with forms and ideas found in nature and incorporates instrumental, vocal, and fixed media forms. Little Jimmy uses field recordings taken on April 23, 2020 in the San Gabriel Mountains, near the Little Jimmy backpackers' camp on Mt. Islip. McIntosh says, “I wasn’t intending to write a piece about wildfire or climate change, but I had already been planning to use those recordings in this piece in late August of 2020 when the Bobcat Fire burned the trees captured in the recordings.”

For complete information and listings, visit https://timespans.org/concert/yarn-wire-3/

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

Conductor Yue Bao Makes Debut with Chicago Symphony
On Sunday, August 8, 2021, conductor Yue Bao will make her debut leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) at the Ravinia Festival in the Ravinia Pavilion. Bao was recently included in a feature in The New York Times, profiling young assistant conductors at top American ensembles. Her insightful program for Ravinia includes Chen Yi’s Duo Ye No. 1 for chamber orchestra, Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante for violin and viola featuring Stella Chen and Matthew Lipman, and Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 4 (“Mozartiana”).

Yue Bao currently serves as the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation Conducting Fellow of the Houston Symphony, assisting Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. She made her subscription debut with the Houston Symphony on their opening night concert of the 2020-21 season, following a successful series of livestream concert performances with the orchestra throughout the summer of 2020. In addition to her debut with the CSO at Ravinia, highlights of the upcoming season include several engagements with the Houston Symphony on their summer concert series at the Miller Theater.

For details, visit https://www.yuebaoconductor.com/

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

Washington Performing Arts's 2021/22 Season
Washington Performing Arts today announced its return to live, in-person performances for the 2021/22 season in venues across the D.C. region. The upcoming season comprises wide-ranging events that represent both the organization’s characteristic eclecticism and the inherent diversity and daring of the region’s community. The newly announced programs include classical and new music concerts, jazz performances, multidisciplinary and contemporary dance productions, and more. The season as a whole focuses on the return of live art, centering artists’ voices, and supporting the creation of diverse new works.

Season subscriptions will go on sale on Tuesday, August 31 at 9:30am, with single tickets becoming available on Wednesday, September 15 at 9:30am. Further details about the 2021/22 season are available now on the Washington Performing Arts website: https://www.washingtonperformingarts.org/

--Camille Cintrón Devlin, Bucklesweet

Schedules and Single Day Ticket Sales for Bang on a Can: LOUD Weekend at MASS MoCA
Bang on a Can and MASS MoCA announce the hourly schedule for their multi-day music festival called LOUD Weekend, presented on Friday, July 30 and Saturday, July 31, 2021, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, located in the Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts (1040 MASS MoCA Way). LOUD Weekend features two days of ear-bending music and mind-blowing art exhibitions taking place throughout the museum’s vast galleries and its stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues.

LOUD Weekend launched in 2019 as an expansion of Bang on a Can’s long-running Bang on a Can Marathon, multiplying that inclusive and ambitious programming from one day, to multiple days. Bang on a Can co-founders and artistic directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe say:

We're back! We're live! We're LOUD WEEKEND! This year we welcome our friends the Kronos Quartet, the intrepid troubadours of experimental music who come bearing ear-bending world premieres by Terry Riley, Mary Kouyoumdjian and Sky Macklay. We pay tribute to Martin Bresnick, a shining light of American music celebrating his 75th birthday.  We open the second LW as we did the first, with the overlooked, and now newly discovered minimalist giant Julius Eastman. We walk into the wondrous world of Dana Jessen and her switched-on bassoon featuring George Lewis's ground-shaking Seismologic.  We welcome the joyous jazz-infused music of singer/violinist Mazz Swift.  We take an other-worldly trip into Gérard Grisey's Vortex Temporum. Robert Honstein takes us on an exquisite sonic walking tour through the rooms of his childhood home. We are transported into the voices, songs and stories that run through Nathalie Joachim's powerful Famn d'Ayiti. And so much more!

For complete information, visit https://bangonacan.org/

--Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists

ABS Festival
American Bach Soloists’ mid-week ABS Festival concerts bring a wide variety of exciting programs that would interest any concert-goer. With music from Bach's predecessors all the way forward to Rachmaninoff, the ABS Festival is covering all bases!

Read on to learn more about these three Festival programs and enjoy a video preview of one of the works to be performed.
“Transformation”
Tuesday August 3, 7pm
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

“The Devil’s Trill”
Thursday August 5, 7pm
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

“Bach & His World”
Friday August 6, 7pm
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Watch and listen to a preview of “Bach and His World”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2078ZFOsXQ

For full information, visit https://americanbach.org/sfbachfestival/

--American Bach Soloists

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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 both its equipment and recordings 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 simple-minded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me — point out recordings that they 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 Marantz CD 6007 and Onkyo CD 7030 CD players, 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