Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mid-February will See a Confluence of International Concerts

Those who are particularly interested in a broad global approach to their listening experiences are likely to be faced with a difficult choice next month on Saturday, February 18. Two concerts with broad global perspectives on both composition and performance will take place simultaneously in different parts of the city. The good news is that these two events are based on different aesthetic premises, meaning that they are likely to appeal to recognizably different tastes. [added 1/28, 7:50 a.m.: It turns out that there will be two additional concerts on this date, each with its own distinctive global perspective. Fortunately, one of them will take place in the morning.] [added 1/30, 4:15 p.m.: Furthermore, yet another addition will be available in the late afternoon!] [added 2/2, 8:50 a.m.: Another addition, but this one has a second performance the following week.] [added 2/8, 8:55 a.m.: Another addition, also with a second performance, this time the following night.]

[added 1/28, 7:50 a.m.: The morning event will be the next installment in the Classical Kids series of family concerts offered by Noe Valley Chamber Music. The performers will be six of the instrumentalists from the Trinity Alps Chamber Players, and they will perform the latest effort by a local composer to create family-friendly musical interpretations of the Just So Stories of British author Rudyard Kipling. The composer is Danny Clay, and he began this project with a setting of “The Elephant's Child.” He has now moved on to “The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo,” which will be given its world premiere at this morning family event. The musicians will also play Clay's “The Elephant's Child.” Clay conceived both of these pieces in such a way that each instrument would take the role of a different animal or character in Kipling's stories. The event will also include a "petting zoo" of the instruments after that performances.

This Classical Kids program will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 18, and should last about 45 minutes. The venue will be the recently renovated Noe Valley Ministry, located at 1021 Sanchez Street, just south of 23rd Street. Kids two years old and under will be admitted free of charge. General admission will be $15 per person, but a $40 Family Pass is available that will admit up to four people. Both general admission tickets and Family Passes may be purchased in advance online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.]

[added 1/30, 4:30 p.m.: The late afternoon concert will be the next performance by the New Esterházy Quartet (NEQ) of violinists Lisa Weiss and Kati Kyme, violist Anthony Martin, and cellist William Skeen. This will be the third installment of a series entitled At the Opera, which offers string quartet arrangements of music from popular operas, particular those enjoyed by eighteenth-century audiences. The “main attraction,” so to speak, will be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's K. 588 opera Così fan tutte (thus to all women), which was first performed on January 26, 1790. Within a decade the publisher Nikolaus Simrock's firm had released a collection of highlights from the score arranged for string quartet (without giving credit to the arranger). NEQ will play this collection of the second half of their program. The first half will be devoted to highlights from the 1775 opera Les femmes vengées, ou Les feintes infidélités by François-André Danican Philidor, whose subject matter bears a strong enough family resemblance to Così that it may have served to inspire Lorenzo Da Ponte. These highlights were arranged for this concert by Skeen.

NEQ’s performance will take place on a Saturday afternoon, February 18, beginning at 4 p.m. They will play at their usual venue, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. General admission will be $30 with discounted prices of $10 for students with valid identification and $25 for seniors, the disabled, and members of the San Francisco Early Music Society. Tickets at all prices may be purchased through a Brown Paper Tickets event page. Telephone orders and further information may be obtained by calling 415-520-0611. For those wishing to attend an evening concert, the program should conclude early enough to allow time for one of the three subsequent alternatives.]

The first of these concerts is actually, itself, the first of two concerts for this season’s Other Minds 22 festival of new music. The title of this season’s festival is Just 100: Homage to Lou Harrison, and programming has been planned around the fact that Harrison’s birthday will be on May 14, 2017. The title of the first concert will be Pacific Rim Centennials, because the programming will also recognize that Korean composer Isang Yun was born on September 17, 1917.

The Harrison portion of this concert will consist of four pieces requiring increasing numbers of performers. It will begin with Harrison’s third piano sonata, composed in 1938 and performed by Dennis Russell Davies, who will be visiting San Francisco for the occasion. Davies will then accompany visiting violinist Yumi Hwang-Williams in selected movements from Harrison’s 1988 “Grand Duo.” This will be followed by one of Harrison’s earlier pieces for an all-percussion ensemble, the third of his “Canticle” pieces, composed in 1941. The performers will be the members of the William Winant Percussion Group. The Harrison portion of the program will then conclude with the 1951 suite for violin, piano, and small orchestra. The solo parts will be taken by Hwang-Williams and visiting pianist Maki Namekawa, with Davies conducting the Other Minds Ensemble.

The remainder of the program will be devoted to two of Yun’s compositions. Namekawa will begin with his 1982 “Interludium A.” She will then be joined by Hwang-Williams for a performance of his 1951 “Gasa.”

This concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 18. It will take place at the Mission Dolores Basilica at 3321 16th Street, on the southwest corner of Dolores Street. General admission will be $20 with a $12 rate for students. Both levels of tickets may be purchased in advance through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.

Those interested in the entire festival may also wish to save the date for the second concert. This one is entitled Lou Harrison Gamelan Masterpieces. As the title implies, the program will consist of Harrison’s music and of the influences of music from Java and Bali. Performing artists will include harpist Meredith Clark, cellist Emil Miland, organist Jerome  Lenk, and violinist Shalini Vijayan. The highlight of the programming will be Harrison’s large-scale composition La Koro Sutro (the heart sutra), scored for large mixed chorus, organ, harp, and American Gamelan, all to be conducted by Nicole Paiement.

This concert will also begin at 7:30 p.m.; and the date will be Saturday, May 20. The venue will again be Mission Dolores Basilica, and ticket prices will be the same. The Brown Paper Tickets event page for this concert has already been created and is taking orders.

The other global-based event that will take place next month will be International Guitar Night (IGN), which is now in its seventeenth season. IGN was founded by Brian Gore with the objective of bringing together the most interesting and innovative acoustic guitarists from around the world. This year’s four performers will be Lulo Reinhardt (Gypsy Jazz guitar), Debashish Bhattacharya (slide guitar), Luca Stricagnoli (classical guitar), and Chrystian Dozza (Brazilian style).

IGN’s San Francisco concert will be presented by the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts as part of the 36th season of its Dynamite Guitars series. The concert will take place in Herbst Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 18. Herbst is located on the ground floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. 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.

[added 2/2, 8:55 a.m.: Another option at the same time will be the next concert to be offered by San Francisco Renaissance Voices (SFRV). Entitled Lady, My Lady, this will be a pan-European offering of music and poetry from the twelfth through the seventeenth centuries in which women figure significantly. This will include the lady mass Missa Ma Maitresse by Johannes Ockgehem and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's motet account of the story of Susanna and the elders, Susanna ab Improvis Senibus. Tomás Luis de Victoria will be represented by “Versa est in luctum,” which he composed for the funeral of his patrin, the Archduchess Maria of Austria. There will also be a diversity of settings of texts by female poets.

This will be another concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, this time at St. Mark's Lutheran Church. The church is located at 1111 O'Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. General admission will be $30 with a $25 rate for students and seniors and $20 for those aged twelve or younger. Tickets will go on sale at the door half an hour before the concert begins. They may also be purchased in advance through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.

Fortunately, this program will be given a second performances at SFRV's “home base,” the Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church. This church is located at 1329 Seventh Avenue, a short walk from the Seventh Avenue stop on the Muni N trolley line. The performance will again begin at 7:30 p.m., one week later on Saturday, February 25. Ticket prices will be the same, again sold at the door beginning at 7 p.m. There is again a Brown Paper Tickets event page for advance purchase.]

[added 1/28, 7:55 a.m.: In addition Kitka will offer their own international option by hosting a visit by renowned Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat. The title of the program will be Songs to the Beloved. Vahdat has prepared a program of both old and new songs whose sources include Iran, Armenia, Georgia, and the Balkans.

The San Francisco performance of this program will take place at St. Cyprian's Church beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 18. The church is located near the University of San Francisco at 2097 Turk Street. All tickets are $25. They may be purchased in advance online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.]

[added 2/8, 9:00 a.m.: Finally, The Lab will host a visit from The Necks. This is the trio of Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton, and Tony Buck, who have worked together for 30 years to develop techniques based on the superposition of repeated motifs from which dense soundscapes arise. Their performance will consist of two sets, each approximately 45 minutes in duration. Each will be entirely improvised, working with the acoustics of their performing space.

The Lab is located in the Mission at 2948 16th Street. This is a short walk from the corner of Mission Street, where there is both a BART station and bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel. Admission will be $25 with a reduced charge of $15 for members of The Lab. Doors will open at 8 p.m., and the performance will begin at 8:30 p.m. There will also be a second performance at the same time the following evening, Sunday, February 19. Since there is usually a large turnout for these events, early arrival is highly recommended, as is advance registration. There are separate registration Web pages for the Saturday and Sunday performance.]

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