Saturday, April 1, 2017

California Bach Society Prepares a Showcase of Marc-Antoine Charpentier

The title of the next concert to be given in the current season of the California Bach Society, led by Artistic Director Paul Flight, is A Charpentier Showcase. Marc-Antoine Charpentier may well have been the most prolific and versatile composer in France during the Baroque period. However, the major source for his training was Giacomo Carissimi, with whom he studied in Rome for about two years, probably between 1667 and 1669. Thus, his productivity in France was grounded on contemporary Italian practices.

Flight has organized his program around two major compositions, both composed after Charpentier had established his significance in the eyes of the French monarchy. The first half of the program will present the Litanies de la vierge (litanies of the Virgin), scored for six voices, two viols, and continuo. The second half will then begin with the Missa assumpta est Maria (Mary has ascended) setting of the Mass text. This was written for the Feast of the Assumption in 1699 and was probably one of his first major achievements after having been appointed maître de musique for the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris in 1698. The rest of the program will consist of sacred motets and conclude with the “Agnus Dei” portion from the Messe pour les trépassés (Mass for the dead).

For this concert the 30-voice chamber choir of the California Bach Society will be joined by early music instrumentalists. The gamba players will be Amy Brodo, Julie Jeffries, Hallie Pridham, Lynn Tetenbaum, and Roy Whelden. They will be joined by flutists Vicki Melin and Alissa Roedig. Continuo will be provided by organist Yuko Tanaka.

The San Francisco performance of this program will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 21. The venue will be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, located at 1111 O'Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. Tickets are $35 with discounts for advance purchase, seniors, students, and those under the age of thirty. Tickets may be purchased online through a Web page on the California Bach Society Web site.

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