Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Next Round of Hard Choices for this Month will Come on a Saturday

This month continues to unfold a very busy schedule for serious concertgoers. The November 6 “Sunday of Choices” will be followed by a full “Weekend of Choices.” The next weekend will be busiest on Saturday, but there is a bit of activity of Friday that also deserves attention.

As readers probably already know, Friday, November 18, is the date for the next Concert with Conversation at the Community Center, featuring jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill. Because this will take place at 6 p.m. and last for only an hour, listeners with a voracious appetite should then be able to catch the 49 Muni and head up Van Ness Avenue for the 8 p.m. recital in the Old First Concerts series. The recitalists will be the members of the Telegraph Quartet, violinists Eric Chin and Joseph Maile, violist Pei-Ling Lin, and cellist Jeremiah Shaw.

Unless I am mistaken, this will be the first full recital given by Telegraph since they were announced as winners of the 2016 International Naumburg Competition. (They performed as part of SFMusic Day in September and will be contributing to Indre Viskontas’ Tracking Time lecture-demonstration this coming Monday, November 7.) The title of their Old First recital will be Chiaroscuro–The Light and the Dark, and it will explore the contrast between light and dark through the styles of over 200 years of music. Appropriately enough, the contemporary work on the program will be Brett Dean’s contribution, entitled “Eclipse.” At the other end of the time span, the program will begin with Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken III/39 quartet in C major, given the name “The Bird” and the third of the six quartets published as Opus 33, which were composed between 1778 and 1781. If this is one of Haydn’s “sunniest” quartets, it will be complemented by the darkness of Franz Schubert’s D. 810 quartet in D minor, whose second movement involves variations on a theme taken from his D. 531 song (also in D minor), “Der Tod und das Mädchen.” As a result, the quartet is often known by the same title as the song, which translates as “death and the maiden.”

To repeat, this concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 18. The venue, Old First Church, is located at 1751 Sacramento Street on the southeast corner of Van Ness Boulevard. General admission will be $20 with discounted rates of $17 for seniors and $5 or full-time students showing valid identification. Children aged twelve and under will still be admitted for free. In addition there is a $2 discount for tickets purchased online in advance from the event page for this concert on the Old First Concerts Web site. There is also a discount available for those parking at the Old First Parking Garage at 1725 Sacramento Street, just up the street for the church.

While it will not be that difficult to take in both of these Friday evenings, the three offerings the following evening will all overlap very closely. Fortunately, the events involve three markedly different genres; so it should not be difficult for choice to follow personal preference. The options for Saturday, November 19, are as follows:

7 p.m., Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera: San Francisco Opera (SFO) will present a special, one-night-only choral concert featuring the 48 voices of the SFO Chorus led by Chorus Director Ian Robertson. The title of the program is Out of the Shadows, because it will provide this highly impressive ensemble to move from the background into the foreground. The selections will be both a cappella and accompanied at the piano by Fabrizio Corona. Composers for the program will include Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, Leoš Janáček, Igor Stravinsky, Arvo Pärt, Franz Biebel, Hector Berlioz, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Charles Alfred Tindley, Eric Whitacre, Richard Wagner, and Jerome Kern. The program will also include spirituals arranged by Moses Hagen.

This concert will be presented in the new Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theatre on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, located on the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. The performance is expected to last about an hour, and there will be no intermission. All tickets will be $30 for general admission, and the doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online through an event page on the SFO Web site. They are also being sold at the Box Office in the outer lobby of the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Avenue, on the northwest corner of Grove Street.

7:30 p.m., Herbst Theatre: Following up on his Concert with Conversation appearance at the Community Music Center, O’Farrill will give a solo jazz piano recital. This will be his debut under the auspices of San Francisco Performances (SFP). While O’Farrill has clearly been influenced by his father’s Afro-Cuban style, his own approach to jazz casts a wider net across Latin America, drawing upon not only the American continents but also Caribbean sources. All the selections he performs will be announced from the stage.

Herbst Theatre is located on the ground floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue. Tickets for premium seating are $60, and tickets are also being sold for $40 and $30. Tickets may be purchased online in advance through a City Box Office event page, which provides a chart showing which sections of the hall are covered by which prices. Additional information may be obtained by calling SFP at 415-392-2545.

Because this is the first program in the Jazz Series, subscriptions are still on sale for $165 for premium seating in the Orchestra and the front and center of the Dress Circle, $105 for the Side Boxes, the center rear of the Dress Circle, and the remainder of the Orchestra, and $75 for the remainder of the Dress Circle and the Balcony. Subscriptions may be purchased online in advance through a City Box Office event page. Orders may also be placed by calling the SFP subscriber hotline at 415-677-0325.

7:30 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The title of the next concert in the 36th season of the Dynamite Guitars series presented by the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts is 50 Oak Street. Those who follow the performing arts in San Francisco will probably recognize that the title is the address of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM); and the program will present four distinguished maestros currently in the Guitar Department there. Lawrence Ferrara will lead off with selections that include a movement from Dusan Bogdanovic’s “Jazz Sonata,” an arrangement of keyboard music by Jean-Philippe Rameau, and solo guitar pieces by Egberto Gismonti and Astor Piazzolla. He will be followed by Marc Teicholz playing his own arrangement of the thirteen short piano pieces that Robert Schumann collected as his Opus 15 entitled Kinderszenen (scenes from childhood). David Tanenbaum will play two world premieres, Sérgio Assad’s “Shadows and Light” and Aaron Jay Kernis’ “Soliloquy,” as well as “Penumbra,” composed in 2013 by Peppino D’Agostino. Marcin Dylla will then conclude the program with Benjamin Britten’s Opus 70, to which he gave the title “Nocturnal After John Dowland.”

St. Mark’s is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of Franklin Street. Ticket prices are $45 in the balcony and $55 on the Orchestra level. City Box Office has created an event page for online purchase. Tickets may also be purchased by calling the Omni Foundation at 415-242-4500 or by calling City Box Office at 415-392-4400. In addition Create-Your-Own subscriptions for four or more concerts are still on sale. Subscription purchases can only be made through the Omni Foundation telephone number.

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