Classical Music News of the Week, October 21, 2017

Lagrime di San Pietro to Return to Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Los Angeles Master Chorale's groundbreaking and critically-acclaimed production of Orlando di Lasso's Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter) directed by Peter Sellars will return to Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA for a special Gala performance on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 7 PM.

The performance will be conducted by Grant Gershon, the Kiki and David Gindler Artistic Director, and feature 21 Master Chorale singers who perform the 75-minute, dramatically-staged work from memory. The performance will be part of a gala evening honoring Los Angeles arts philanthropists Kiki and David Gindler for their leadership, and honoring Sellars for artistic vision. David Gindler is currently Chairman of the Los Angeles Master Chorale Board of Directors, a position that he will step down from on June 30, 2018 after serving two three-year terms. In 2012, the Los Angeles Master Chorale announced a gift of $1 million from the Gindlers. The gift established the Master Chorale's Artistic Director's Circle, a group of dedicated donors who donate $50,000 or more to the organization to support core institutional programming to enable innovative projects.

Lagrime is the Los Angeles Master Chorale's first collaboration with the internationally-renowned Sellars and his first staging of an a cappella choral work. A longtime colleague and friend of Gershon, the two discovered a shared passion for Renaissance music and were intrigued — and challenged — by the idea of staging Lagrime, a work that, although widely respected, remains relatively under-performed.

Single tickets to the concert will be released at a later date pending availability

Gala table reservations and tickets including the Lagrime performance on Sunday, March 18 and pre- and post-concert festivities are available now from 213-972-4355 and events@lamasterchorale.org. For information and pricing visit lamasterchorale.org/gala.

--Jennifer Scott, Los Angeles Master Chorale

See American Opera Projects Nationwide
Philadelphia - 11/29 & 30
"Wolf-In-Skins" workshop performance of a dance opera

Brooklyn's Ft. Greene Park
Free pop-up opera

Hudson, NY - 11/18, 1:00 & 4:00pm
"One Thousand Splendid Suns" - Act II Workshop

San Diego, Chicago, and Des Moines
"As One" - Full Production - 3 Cities!

For complete details, visit http://aopopera.org/

--Matt Gray, American Opera Projects

Young People's Chorus of NYC Debuts at The Metropolitan Museum
The Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC), led by Artistic Director and Founder Francisco J. Núñez, debuts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the New York premiere of composer Ben Moore and librettist Kelley Rourke's Odyssey: A Youth Opera, an hour-long re-telling of Homer's epic. This new, fully staged and costumed production incorporates video imagery from the Museum's extensive collection—including images of ancient Greek art and artifacts—to create thematic links to the action on stage. The production is directed and choreographed by Eric Sean Fogel, with video and projection design by S. Katy Tucker. Three performances, presented as part of the Museum's MetLiveArts series, will be held at The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on Friday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 4 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Tickets start at $50 and are available online at metmuseum.org/odyssey or by phone at 212-570-3949. Tickets are $1 for children ages 5 to 16 with the purchase of one adult ticket. For groups of 15 or more, call 212-570-3750.

For more information, visit https://www.metmuseum.org/events/programs/met-live-arts/odyssey-a-youth-opera

--Shuman PR

Augustin Hadelich Named Musical America's Instrumentalist of the Year
Classical violinist Augustin Hadelich has been named Musical America's 2018 Instrumentalist of the Year, it was announced today by the pre-eminent performing arts resource. The announcement precedes the December publication of the 2018 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts which will pay homage to Augustin and his fellow-award winners in its editorial pages.

In his tribute article for the 2018 Musical America Directory, Bruce Hodges praises Augustin's "lyrical, singing style" and "unambiguously emotional style, abetted by the lyrical, singing quality of his "Ex-Kiesewetter" Stradivari from 1723 [that] affords audiences exalted performances from Mozart to the moderns."

--Melanne Mueller, MusicCo International

Francisco J. Núñez Named Musical America's 2018 Educator of the Year
Francisco J. Núñez, Artistic Director and Founder of the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC), was today announced as the recipient of Musical America's Educator of the Year award.

Musical America will hold a ceremony for award winners at Carnegie Hall's Weill Terrace Room on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Other winners include Andris Nelsons (Artist of the Year), Mason Bates (Composer of the Year), Augustin Hadelich (Instrumentalist of the Year), and Sondra Radvanovsky (Vocalist of the Year).

--Shuman Associates

Nic McGegan Leads Juilliard415 - Buy One, Get One Free
Witness the future of historically-informed performance as Nicholas McGegan leads the talented student musicians of the Juilliard415 ensemble in a side-by-side concert with the Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players. Hear works by Telemann, Rameau, Gluck, Avison, and others inspired by the music, culture, and people of Baroque France, Spain, Scotland, the Ottoman Empire, Persia and China in this musical excursion.

Join us for this inspiring program at the Koret Auditorium at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA on Sunday, October 29 at 4pm. Come to the museum early to enjoy free access to the dynamic exhibit in Wilsey Court, the Café and Terrace with sculpture garden, and the Hamon Observation Tower on the 9th floor with 360 degree views of the city. Tickets to other museum exhibits can be purchased on site.

For more information, visit https://philharmonia.org/2017-2018-season/j415-le-monde-galante/

--Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

PARMA: October 2017 Call for Scores
PARMA is pleased to be partnering with a diverse slate of soloists and ensembles to select works for a variety of upcoming recording and release projects. There is also a possibility of live performance of recorded works during the performers' regular concert seasons.

For each category below, we are working on crafting a full album of music representing the finest in contemporary composition for each instrumentation. The resulting recordings will be released and distributed physically and digitally on a PARMA label imprint and distributed via Naxos.

For pieces selected by PARMA and the performers, the composer is responsible for securing funding for all costs associated with recording and production. In return, the music will be professionally recorded and released on a commercial album, the composer will have full creative control during the production process, and the composer will retain all ownership of the master and underlying composition.

For complete information, visit http://www.parmarecordings.com/index.html

--PARMA Recordings

92nd Street Y November Concert Highlights
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 8 pm
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Leila Josefowicz, violin
John Novacek, piano

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 7:30 pm
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Bach Odyssey IV
Angela Hewitt, piano

Friday, November 10, 2017, 9:30 pm
92Y – Buttenwieser Hall, NYC
Pedja Muzijevic,piano and prepared piano

Sunday, November 12, 2017, 3 pm
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
New York Philharmonic String Quartet
New York Recital Debut

Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 7:30 pm
92Y – Kaufmann Concert Hall, NYC
Benjamin Grosvenor,piano
92Y debut

For more information, visit www.92Y.org

--Xi Wang, Kirshbaum Associates

The Wallace Foundation Releases Story on the Seattle Symphony's Approach to Market Research
The Wallace Foundation today released the second installment in its "Building Audiences for Sustainability" (BAS) Stories series that looks at preliminary efforts of performing arts organizations to attract and retain new audiences in ways that also contribute to their financial health.

The Seattle Symphony story focuses on the orchestra's efforts to counter a trend in declining ticket sales by reaching new residents in downtown Seattle, home to the orchestra's performance hall. The article, written by Judith Dobrzynski, and video, produced by Stephanie Carter of WNET, are both available at wallacefoundation.org/seattlesymphony.

The story shows the Seattle Symphony's use of market research to more effectively target a new downtown audience that is growing at twice the rate of Seattle's overall population. To attract these prospective symphony attendees—dubbed by Seattle as "new urban cultural consumers" or NUCCs—the company developed three new concert formats, all more informal than its signature, more traditional "Masterworks" series.

It was unclear at first whether the new concert series would result in increased Masterworks attendance. "While they were never intended to be a formal series or viewed as a stepping stone from one concept to the next," Dobrzynski writes of the company's thought process, "there was some initial thinking that they might spur general interest in the symphony and therefore potentially in the core Masterworks concerts."

To read the release, visit http://resnicow.com/client-news/new-case-studies-profile-successful-audience-building-efforts-two-philadelphia-arts

For more information on Building Audiences for Sustainability or on other Wallace arts initiatives, visit: www.wallacefoundation.org

--Barbara P. Escobar, Resnicow and Associates

The Green Music Center Resumes Programing
Since the early morning hours of October 9, our community has been struck by devastating fires that have ripped through our neighborhoods in Northern California. Many of us experienced the damage of the fires firsthand, including 50 Sonoma State students, faculty, and staff who lost their homes. Our thoughts are with the many people who are impacted.

We are extremely thankful for the efforts made by the first responders, the care displayed by those who volunteered their time and resources, and the dedication shown by countless employees across the CSU system who came here from throughout the state to share their time and skills. Some GMC staff took part in the EOC efforts here on campus. Others volunteered countless hours at evacuation shelters across the region. Thank you for the grit and grace displayed in the midst of such devastation. We have never been more proud to be a part of the Sonoma State family.

Across the Sonoma State University Campus, our recovery efforts are all under the banner of #NomaCares. If you or someone you know would like to attend a concert at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center through the month of October, but have been impacted by the fires in any way, please know that money is not our primary concern. We seek to be a haven of peace in a time of deep hurt. All are welcome – pay as you can, come as you are. To access tickets, please use the promo code NomaCares.

For more information, visit https://gmc.sonoma.edu/post/3653993-10-18-together-we-will-move-forward

--Green Music Center, Sonoma State University

Community Music Center Benefit Concert Raising Money for Victims of Hurricane Maria, Mexico Earthquakes, and North Bay
CMC Faculty and Students will perform on November 3, 2017 at 7pm in a benefit for victims of Hurricane Maria, Mexico earthquakes and North Bay Fires. The concert will take place at the Community Music Center at 544 Capp Street (between 20th and 21st streets) in the Mission District of San Francisco.

The concert will feature several CMC performing ensembles including the CMC Cuban Charanga Ensemble directed by Tregar Otton; the Latin Vocal Workshop and Coro de Camara directed by Martha Rodriguez Salazar, CMC Children's Chorus directed by Beth Wilmurt and other performances by Allison Love Joy, CMC's Old Time Music Group featuring Erik Pearson, Tregar Otton and other CMC students and faculty.

100% of the proceeds will go to support victims of these disasters through the funds below:

Supporting Puerto Rican Communities in the Recovery from Hurricane Maria: https://connect.clickandpledge.com/w/Form/cb4a3c78-5694-4324-bead-42c8ad94c1bf

California North Bay Fires: Redwood Empire Food Bank: http://refb.org/

Mexico City Earthquakes: https://donate.omaze.com/mexico

Learn more about CMC at www.sfcmc.org

--Sylvia Sherman, Community Music Center

Beethoven: Panorama (CD review)

Leonore Overture; Piano Concerto No. 4; Symphony No. 5; Piano Sonatas 17 & 21; String Quartet "Razumovsky." Carlos Kleiber, Claudio Abbado, Karl Bohm, Maurizio Pollini. DG Panorama 289 469 112-2 (2-disc set).

This two-disc set began DG's second series of "Panorama" double albums, featuring some of the company's best older recordings of Beethoven. Like many others in the series, these discs offer some magical and highly persuasive moments at a relatively low price. It remains a bargain and a must-have if you don't already have these performances in your library.

The program begins with the Leonore Overture, performed by Claudio Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic, recorded in 1991. The performance displays commendable energy and drive, but finds flaw in its mediocre, curiously lifeless sound.

Following the overture on disc one is the Fourth Piano Concerto with pianist Maurizio Pollini and conductor Karl Bohm with the Vienna Philharmonic. Pollini's playing appears a bit distant but as always his craftsmanship and precision are without peer. The recording, made in 1976, is fuller, warmer, and more ambient than the later Abbado productions and provides a more comfortable listening experience.

Carlos Kleiber
Disc one concludes with what is perhaps the most famous and most critically acclaimed recording of the last forty or fifty years, Carlos Kleiber's 1975 rendition of the Fifth Symphony, also with the Vienna Philharmonic. The set would be worth its price for this electrifying and emotionally charged performance alone. On a side note, DG also offer this Fifth Symphony in their "Originals" series of single discs, coupled with Kleiber's excellent interpretation of the Seventh Symphony.

Disc two begins with a pair of piano sonatas, No. 21 "Waldstein," and No. 17 "The Tempest." Both find pianistic perfection in a 1989 recording by Maurizio Pollini. The lineup concludes with the String Quartet in C major, Op. 59, No. 3 "Razumovsky." Recorded in 1997 by the Emerson String Quartet, it is immediate in sound and evocative in spirit.

Given that so many record companies are repackaging older material these days, it's good to see DG doing so with such good taste, creativity, and generosity. What's more, given that DG first issued this set some years ago, one can find it at a ridiculously low price new or almost nothing used. You won't find better value anywhere in the world of recorded music.

JJP

To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:


McEncroe: Symphonic Suites 1 & 2: A Medieval Saga (CD review)

Mark J. Saliba, orchestration; Anthony Armore, Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra. Navona Records NV6116 (2-disc set).

Australian composer and pianist Mark John McEncroe (b. 1947) began his career in music working in his early twenties and thirties as a label manager for EMI Records in Australia and Sweden. It was during this time that he also took up piano, trumpet, flute, and clarinet, mainly as a hobby but later in depth. It wasn't until 2003 that he began studying music theory and composition, and since that time he has composed a number of works and recorded an equal number of albums. While his usual approach (including the current album) has been to write the scores for piano and then collaborate with Mark J. Saliba, who would orchestrate the pieces, he is currently studying orchestration, perhaps to do more of the work himself.

McEncroe began writing the Symphonic Suites 1 & 2: A Medieval Saga in 2007, originally entitling them "A Modern Medieval Tale" (now "Just Another Medieval Tale") and the second "And The Medieval Tale Continues," perhaps hinting that there are more "medieval tales" to come. Even though McEncroe regards the two works as "symphonies with a story to tell," he was probably right in labeling them suites because that's pretty much what they are: two series of program music describing life in medieval times. In this regard they reminded me of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (if you substitute Renaissance for medieval), and, indeed, the composer is currently developing his suites into a ballet. Of course, the suites may also remind some listeners of film music (here, for example, Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky comes to mind), and perhaps even a score for an Arthurian epic. Understand, I only mean this observation as a compliment as the music is quite graphic.

The titles of the various movements may give you a better idea of their content.

Suite No. 1:
1. Entrance of the King
2. Strutting Peacocks - Hangers on at Court
3. Rising Discontent
4. Peasants Uprising
5. An Uneasy Truce
6. A New Way Forward
7. The Quest - A Search for Truth

Suite No. 2:
1. The Gathering of Forces - A Call to Arms
2. The Night Before the Battle
3. The Siege
4. A Call for Peace
5. Hail to the New King
6. A Brave New World

Each suite is a little over forty minutes, so together they are a bit too long to accommodate on a single CD. But not to worry: Navona Records offers the two-disc set for the price of one, so everyone is happy.

Mark John McEncroe
Anyway, the section titles tell it all. The music describes a series of dramatic scenes from medieval life, mainly conflicts and turbulences among the ruling classes. There's a lovely lyricism to the slower segments that one can see would lend themselves nicely to ballet. The battle sequences also work well, developing an appropriate intensity.

And so it goes. The orchestration is often lush and romantic. The Janácek Philharmonic do a splendid job articulating the various degrees of ardour and periodically feverish passion the score requires. And Maestro Anthony Armore manages to keep it all of one piece, as the score does tend to go off in different directions on occasion.

I can't say the music impressed me overmuch with its originality, however, because by the time I finished the first suite, I wasn't quite ready for a sequel. Fortunately, the second suite actually comes across as more innovative, more creative, more tuneful, and more atmospheric than the first. I can't help wondering, then, if it wouldn't have been better for McEncroe to have synthesized a single suite of numbers from the two suites. At about an hour, he might have something important here. In the meantime, we look forward to the upcoming ballet he has planned for the music.

The album's producer and engineer, Jaroslav Zouhar, recorded the two suites at The Hall of Culture, Ostrava, Czech Republic in June 2015 and January 2016. There is sometimes a rather bright, edgy upper midrange response in the first of the suites that tends to dominate the music, but if you can get past that, things are fairly neutral. Clarity is OK if a bit steely, as I say. Good depth of field helps with realism, as do strong dynamics. Hall resonance sometimes appears just right and at other times appears a tad too reverberant and tubby. Mid bass is full and round, providing a comforting warmth to the proceedings. Most of the time the sound is natural and lifelike, especially in the second suite, which I not only liked more for its musical content but sounds better recorded to me.

JJP

To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:


John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

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.

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.

Contact Information

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

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa