Thursday, February 16, 2017

Volti will Present the First Stage of a Musical Pilgrimage Next Month

The title of the next San Francisco performance by Volti will be Mantras, Miracles, Meditations. The primary objective will be to provide the audience with its first taste of a full-evening work by Joby Talbot entitled Path of Miracles. Talbot’s title refers to the Camino de Santiago, the path taken by pilgrims across the north of Spain that leads to Santiago de Compostela Cathedral near the Atlantic coast of Galicia. “Compostela” means “field of stars;” and it is generally believed that it refers to the cluster of stars of the Milky Way galaxy that guided Saint James to the site upon which the cathedral was built to honor the site of his death. (Saint James is known as “Santiago” in Galician.) The cluster of stars is also represented by a scallop pattern, which is often used to identify those still making the pilgrimage:

uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Skarabeusz (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

Next month Volti will sing the first of the four movements of Path of Miracles entitled “Roncesvalles.” This is the name of the village in Navarre near the French border. It served as a resting place for pilgrims about the follow the Camino de Santiago after having crossed the Pyrenees. Talbot thus uses it as the beginning of his own “path of miracles.” The remaining three movements will be introduced individually over the next several concerts. The work will then be performed in its entirety in the spring of 2018 in Grace Cathedral. This will be a joint project with ODC/Dance involving choreography of the entire score. All the pews in Grace will be removed to allow both dancers and singers to move freely through the entire sanctuary of the cathedral.

At next month’s concert the sacred connotations of “Roncesvalles” will be complemented by a performance of György Ligeti’s “Lux aeterna,” an addition to the Mass texts provided for a Requiem service. Ligeti scored this for a mixed a cappella choir, and the score involves sixteen separate parts. Sacred connotations will also be found in the world premiere of Robin Estrada’s “Caeli Enerrant,” a meditation on the injunction to “do to others as you would have them do to you.” Finally, the program will present works by two contemporary women composers, “The Blue of Distance” by Žibuoklė Martinaitytė and “Into Being” by Ingrid Stölzel.

The San Francisco performance of this program will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, 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. Seniors aged 65 and older will be admitted for $25, the charge for those under the age of 35 will be $15, and students at all levels up to the age of 21 will be admitted for $10. Tickets for all of these levels may be purchased in advance through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.

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