Classical Music News of the Week, November 26, 2022

New York Festival of Song Presents “A Goyishe Christmas to You!”

New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), led by Artistic Director Steven Blier, presents its annual holiday show, “A Goyishe Christmas to You!,” on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 7:00pm at Merkin Hall’s Upper Lobby at the Kaufman Music Center.

The program features favorite Yuletide tunes (performed with a twist) and specialty material by Jewish composers, sung by soprano Lauren Worsham, mezzo-sopranos Donna Breitzer and Rebecca Jo Loeb, tenor Alex Mansoori, bass-baritone William Socolof, and Cantor Joshua Breitzer. Steven Blier joins as pianist and host, alongside clarinetist Alan R. Kay.

Devised and premiered by Steven Blier at HENRY’s in 2010 and now in its thirteenth year—“A Goyishe Christmas to You!” consists of Yuletide songs written by Jewish composers, from the wickedly funny to the meltingly beautiful. The show includes classics like Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” as well as Yiddish versions of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”—a popular seasonal songbook packed with contributions by Jewish songwriters on behalf of their gentile counterparts.

For complete information, visit https://nyfos.org/22-23season/

--Katlyn Morahan, Morahan Arts and Media

American Composers Orchestra Fosters Creation of New Orchestral Music
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) continues its commitment to the creation and development of new orchestra music, and to the next generation of composers, through its spring 2023 EarShot Readings program. ACO will partner with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (May 9 and 10), Naples Philharmonic (May 15 and 16), Next Festival of Emerging Artists (June 5-9), and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (June 20) in addition to hosting its own EarShot Readings in New York (June 1 and 2). A Call for Scores is now open for the EarShot Readings with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (October 3 and 4); the deadline to apply is December 16, 2022. Composers selected for these Readings will be announced in February 2023.

Now encompassing all of ACO’s composer advancement initiatives, EarShot is the first ongoing, systematic program for developing relationships between composers and orchestras on the national level. Through these orchestral readings, CoLABoratory fellowships, consortium commissions, and professional development, EarShot ensures a vibrant musical future by investing in creativity today.

“For over 40 years, ACO has discovered and developed the work of composers who expand the very definition of American orchestral music,” says ACO President and CEO Melissa Ngan. “We are thrilled to expand the program with such wonderful orchestral partners this season, and to be developing new work under the guidance of some of the most exciting composer mentors working in the field today.”

For more information, visit https://americancomposers.org/composer-advancement/

--Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists

“A Very Merry New York” -- Additional Seats Now Available!
Young People’s Chorus of New York City has added more seating for the most
heartwarming concert of the season. Guest appearance from 2022 Grammy award nominee Nick Kendall.

Get your tickets now in person at the Geffen Hall Box
Office, 10 Lincoln Plaza, NYC from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., by phone at 212-721-6500 or on the Geffen Hall website: https://tickets.lincolncenter.org/syos/performance/24495?mc_cid=64b2eba5b1

--Young People’s Chorus of NYC

Curtis Stewart and EXO
Join us on December 2nd for “An Evening with Curtis Stewart,” co-presented with ChamberMusicNY. We are so excited about this concert and all of the music we will be performing.

Just last week, Curtis was nominated for another Grammy Award, for PUBLIQuartet’s album What is American. If you have not yet heard Curtis’s music, we recommend you visit his website and listen to his Grammy nominated album “Of Power.”

We are also thrilled to announce that on Friday December 2nd, EXO will present the New York Premiere of Julia Perry’s long-neglected Violin Concerto with Curtis Stewart performing the virtuosic solo part and James Blachly conducting. The piece was composed between 1963-1968, and our performance will be the first performance to incorporate Perry’s final edits to the piece, dating from 1977.

Friday, December 2, 2022 at 8pm
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music | 450 West 37th Street | New York, NY
Tickets: $20-75 at https://www.experientialorchestra.com/

--James Blachly, Experiential Orchestra

Deutsche Grammophon Launches STAGE+
The world’s oldest record label, Deutsche Grammophon – a division of Universal Music Group, the world leader in music-based entertainment – today announces the launch of STAGE+, a ground-breaking classical music subscription service, offering livestreams, a huge video archive and new audio releases – all on one platform.

The latest milestone in classical music’s digital development, STAGE+ has been designed to place audiences at the heart of what happens on stage. Subscribers will be brought closer than ever before to Universal Music Group’s roster of world-class artists and beyond, via a wide range of content – including exclusive live premieres; long-form concert and opera programs; music videos; documentaries and behind-the-scenes interviews; new audio releases, as well as albums from the legendary Deutsche Grammophon and Decca catalogues. This rich array of content will all be made available in the highest possible quality, including Hi-Res and Dolby Atmos.

For complete information, visit https://www.stage-plus.com/

--Lily Golightly, Verve Label Group

West Edge Opera Announces The Coronation of Poppea
West Edge Opera is pleased to announce that The Coronation of Poppea (1643) will open the 2023 summer festival on July 22nd at The Oakland Scottish Rite Center, Oakland, CA. Monteverdi is considered the father of western opera. Poppea was his last opera and premiered in 1643. It concerns Poppea, the mistress of Emperor Nero, who is able to achieve her ambition to be crowned empress. The opera is full of humor, tragedy and unforgettable music, most notably the famous final duet of the opera, "Pur ti miro."

The Coronation of Poppea will join Cruzar la Cara de la Luna by Jose 'Pepe Martinez' and the double bill program Ewartung by Schoenberg and The Nightingale by Stravinsky.

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

--West Edge Opera

Acoustic Exploration: From Delicacy to Tectonic Force
To continue its 25th anniversary-season, the Molinari Quartet's “Twentieth and Beyond” series is hosting its next concert Acoustic Exploration on December 9 at 7:30 p.m., at the concert hall of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal.

This concert will explore the vast range of sounds that can produce a string quartet and will also underline the centennial year of Iannis Xenakis' birth with Ergma, a very powerful work. You will also assist to the world premiere of Hologramme Modal for string quartet and kamancheh by Iranian composer and kamancheh virtuoso Showan Tavakol and hear Krzysztof Penderecki's very exploratory Quartet No. 1. The Molinari will play Oasis by Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh and will close the concert with the revolutionary Quartet no.3 written in 1927 by Béla Bartók.

“With the repertoire of this concert, we really dive into the incredible possibilities of sounds a quartet can produce” says Olga Ranzenhofer, founder and artistic director of the quartet.

For more information, visit https://quatuormolinari.qc.ca/en/event/acoustic-exploration-from-delicacy-to-tectonic-force/

--France Gaignard

Eve Plumb Joins The Chelsea Symphony for Annual Holiday Concert
The Chelsea Symphony’s (TCS) annual holiday concert on December 2nd, 2022 features the orchestra’s annual performance of Aaron Dai’s The Night Before Christmas, narrated by special guest, actor and artist Eve Plumb, best known for her role as “Jan” on the TV classic The Brady Bunch.

As the year nears its end, The Chelsea Symphony returns home to its roots, performing light classical and holiday pops favorites. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Christmas Overture opens the evening in fanfare with luscious settings of traditional Christmas carols. Concertos for this concert include Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, featuring violinist Joseph Morag, and Gerald Finzi’s Five Bagatelles, with clarinetist Christine Todd. In keeping with Chelsea Symphony tradition, the program ends with a performance of Leroy Anderson’s beloved “Sleigh Ride” conducted by a past winner of the orchestra’s holiday concert silent auction, and closing with Eve Plumb narrating Aaron Dai’s The Night Before Christmas.

For more information, visit https://chelseasymphony.org/concerts/2022-2023/home/

--Tamika Gorski, The Chelsea Symphony

Colburn School Announces New Faculty: Adrian Dunn and Evan Kuhlmann
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, choral music returns to the Colburn School under the leadership of singer, composer, and conductor Adrian Dunn, who has been appointed Director of Choral Programs, Community School of Performing Arts. Dunn will direct the Community School’s junior and youth choral ensembles, and the Colburn Concert Choir, and work with students ages 5 - 18 in musicianship, vocal technique and ensemble skills.

Colburn School’s Community School of Performing Arts also welcomes LA Phil bassoonist Evan Kuhlmann, who joins Richard Beene on bassoon faculty. Beene will continue his tenure on bassoon faculty in the School’s Music Academy and Conservatory of Music as well.

Dunn will conduct Colburn’s Community School Winter Choral Concert on December 10, 2022 at Zipper Hall, which will feature an Open Sing where the audience can join the Colburn Concert Choir in a sing-along performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. The Open Sing is free and open to singers ages 13 and above. Dunn will also lead the annual Collaboration Concert, featuring young performers in the school’s orchestra, voice, and dance programs, on April 2, 2023 at Pasadena’s Alex Theatre; and the Community School Spring Choral Concert on May 6, 2023 at Zipper Hall.

For more information, visit https://www.colburnschool.edu/

--Lisa Bellamore, Crescent Communications

New Jersey Symphony
New Jersey Symphony – 100th Anniversary Season
Friday, December 2, 8 pm (Newark)
Sunday, December 4, 3 pm (Newark)
New Jersay Sympohny: Hugh Wolff, conductor; Richard Goode, pianist
Hugh Wolff revisits  Aaron Jay Kernis’s Second Symphony 30 years after conducting the premiere in 1992 with the New Jersey Symphony. Pianist Richard Goode joins the orchestra for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25.

Beethoven: Egmont Overture
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 25
Aaron Jay Kernis: Symphony No. 2
Ravel: La Valse
For further information, visit https://www.njsymphony.org/events/detail/hugh-wolff-conducts-beethoven-mozart

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Sunday, December 4, 2022, 5:00 pm
Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 7:30 pm
CMS: December Baroque Festival - Handel and Vivaldi
Anthony Roth Costanzo in his CMS Debut
Alice Tully Hall
CMS pairs works by the Baroque masters Handel and Vivaldi, including six 18th-century works that are new to CMS.
For further information, visit https://www.chambermusicsociety.org/nyc/events/upcoming/handel-and-vivaldi/

--Beverly Greenfield, Kirshbaum Associates

Free Academy Concerts
Who: Music Institute of Chicago Academy for gifted pre-college musicians
What: Holiday concerts
When: December 3, 7:30 p.m.—Academy Orchestra
            December 10, 7:30 p.m.—Academy Chamber Music Ensembles
Where: Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois. Also available via livestream at https://www.musicinst.org/
Admission: Free

December 3 Academy Orchestra
The Academy Orchestra presents a varied and diverse program of string orchestra music for its opening concert featuring music from Mozart and Bach (his famous 3rd Brandenburg Concerto), to a work by Black composer Carlos Simon written in memory of several Black men killed unjustly by police, to “Rising Storm” by 11-year-old Sylvia Pine, who won First Prize in 30 international competitions and has composed dozens of works.

December 10 Academy Chamber Ensembles
The Academy’s first chamber music program of the year features piano duos and trios and string quartets performing Beethoven, Mendelsohn, and Villa-Lobos.

Further information: https://www.musicinst.org/academy

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

Montreal/New Musics Festival 2023
The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) presents five major concerts for the Montreal/New Musics (MNM) international festival. This 11th edition will take place from February 23 to March 5, 2023 under the theme “Music and Spirituality.” MNM 2023 is a 10-day celebration of contemporary music, bringing together innovative artists from different musical backgrounds from the local, national and international scenes.

"’Music and Spirituality’ is broad and open, evoking the search for meaning, hope and liberation within the challenges of our world. Today we unveil five major concerts with diverse musical influences ranging from Aboriginal voices to Walter Boudreau's "Golgot(h)a," which revisits his impressive work based on poems by Raôul Duguay, as well as the daring French ensemble Court-Circuit and a composer who powerfully embodies spirituality: Olivier Messiaen," notes SMCQ Artistic Director Ana Sokolovic.

The 11th edition marks the return of this indoor event. After four years, music lovers will be able to enjoy a variety of concerts based on a theme that is universal and current.

For more information, visit https://smcq.qc.ca/mnm/en/2023

--France Gaignard, Publicist

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Founder and Contributor

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, Editor and Contributor

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, NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, 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, Webmaster and Contributor

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. 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 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. Most recently I’ve moved to my “ultimate system” consisting of a BlueSound Node streamer, an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a CD transport, Legacy Wavelet DAC/preamp/crossover, Tandberg 2016A and Legacy PowerBloc2 amps, and Legacy Signature SE speakers (biamped), all connected with decently made, no-frills cables. With the arrival of CD and higher resolution streaming, that is now the source for most of my listening.

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
The reader will find Classical Candor's Mission Statement, Staff Profiles, and contact information (classicalcandor@gmail.com) toward the bottom of each page.

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