For those who missed last July’s article about the 2016–2017 season of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE), or have forgotten it, the first San Francisco performance of the new season will take place at the end of next month. The title of the program will be A Close Correspondence, and all four of the compositions on the program have been inspired by letter writing. Two of them, written by Onur Türkmen and Mark Winges, respectively, are new works, which will have received their world premieres when this program is first performed in Berkeley on October 15. This concert will also be distinguished by the appearance of the new music chorus Volti as special guest artists, who will be singing in three of the four pieces being prepared for performance.
Indeed, Winges, whose work will conclude the program, is Volti’s current resident composer. Entitled “Letters for String Quartet and Chorus,” his piece is in three movements, each of which draws its texts from a different era involving different writers. The first movement is set, so to speak, in the twelfth century for the correspondents Peter Abelard and Héloïse, prioress at the convent in Argenteuil. The remaining two movements are set in the twentieth century. The first involves the correspondence between Leoš Janáček and Kamila Stösslová, which began not long after Janáček’s “informal” divorce from his wife Zdenka in 1916. (Stösslová was not only married at the time but also 38 years younger than Janáček.) In 1928 Janáček himself would document this relationship in his second string quartet, to which he assigned the title “Intimate Letters.” That quartet will be the only selection on the LCCE program that will be performed without Volti participation. The final movement of Winges’ new piece will draw upon texts from the correspondence of Virginia Woolf.
Volti will also be joined by a string quartet in the performance of Türkmen’s new composition. Entitled “but you alone,” the piece was inspired by a single letter, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to Charlotte von Stein. Like Stösslová, Goethe’s correspondent was a married woman; but in this case she was older than him. (For those curious about such matters, Goethe did not meet her until after he had created her namesake for his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther.) The remaining work on the program will be an a cappella performance by Volti of David Lang’s “A Father’s Love,” in which the correspondent is a soldier bidding farewell to this father.
The San Francisco performance of A Close Correspondence will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 24. The venue will be the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Tickets will be sold at the door for $35 for general admission and $18 for those under the age of 35. However, if tickets are purchased in advance from a Vendini event page, general admission will be $30 with a $15 charge for those under the age of 35. In addition, because this is the first concert of the season, subscriptions for the full season are still available. The rates are $125 for general admission, $105 for seniors, and $50 for those under the age of 35. Subscriptions may be purchased through a separate Vendini event page. There is open seating for all concerts.