This is the week of the first set of concert performances by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in the ensemble’s 2016–17 season. However, the San Francisco performance of the second set will follow the first concert in only two weeks. That performance will see the return of violinist Rachel Podger to serve as both leader and concerto soloist. The program will provide an examination of Antonio Vivaldi and his legacy.
Two of Vivaldi’s concertos will be featured. The first will be the RV 234 solo violin concerto in D major, given the descriptive title “L’inquietudine” (anxiety). This is an example of Vivaldi turning to the human psyche as a subject for “program music” in contrast the the natural world depicted in more familiar works such as the set of “four seasons” concertos from his Opus 8 collection. The other selection will be the RV 105 chamber concerto in G minor with solo parts for recorder, oboe, and bassoon, as well as violin. Vivaldi scored this for the four solo parts and continuo, without an accompanying string section, thus making it a piece of chamber music.
There will also be two works by Johann Sebastian Bach, who put much of his time into studying Vivaldi’s scores (and transcribing some of his concerts for solo keyboard, both clavier and organ). Bruce Lamott, who prepared the program notes (available online) for this concert, describes Bach as Vivaldi’s “most distinguished pupil via ‘distance eduction’ centuries before the internet.” Podger will perform as soloist in the BWV 1060 concerto in C minor for oboe and violin, and she will conclude the program by leading a performance of the BWV 1066 orchestral suite in C major.
The program will also present two of Vivaldi’s successors in the Italian Baroque tradition. Podger will again be soloist in the D 96 A minor violin concerto by Giuseppe Tartini. In addition she will begin the program with the last of a set of six overtures written by Francesco Maria Veracini in 1716. Written in G minor, the composition could almost be taken as a concerto grosso, since much of it involves interplay between a wind trio of two oboes and a bassoon and the string section.
The San Francisco performance of this concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 4. The venue will be Herbst Theatre, located on the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. (For those taking public transportation, this is conveniently located at bus stops for both north-south and east-west lines.) Ticket prices range from $27 to $108. City Box Office has an event page for online purchase that shows which prices apply to which sections of the house and current availability in each of those sections.