Thursday, November 16, 2017

OFS Puts a Twist on Seasonal Programming

Readers may recall that the conductor-free chamber orchestra One Found Sound (OFS) began their fifth anniversary season close enough to Halloween to entitled their program Monster Masquerade (with a little bit of both on display among the performers, as well as in the audience). With the major holiday season of the year upon us, the ensemble has decided to entitle their second concert program Saturnalia Regalia. According to its Wikipedia page, this ancient Roman festival was celebrated near the end of the calendar year with “a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms.” It is unclear how much of this will be experienced among either the performers or the audience, but it sounds like another night in San Francisco to me!

Of greater importance is that there will be as much diversity in the Saturnalia Regalia program as there was in Monster Masquerade. In contrast to beginning their first concert with a wildly original arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach by Anton Webern, next month’s program will begin back in the eighteenth century without any latter-day embellishments. The program will open with the overture to Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera Naïs, whose genre is generally described as pastorale héroïque. On the modern side the October selection of music by Igor Stravinsky will be complemented by Alberto Ginastera’s Opus 23, “Variaciones concertantes,” which he composed in 1953.

The remaining selection on the program seems to reflect the principle that one good serenade deserves another. As a “response” to the October performance of Antonín Dvořák’s Opus 44 serenade in D minor, scored primarily for winds, the December program will present Johannes Brahms’ Opus 16 serenade in A major. This was the second of two early ventures into orchestral writing before Brahms felt he was ready to compose a symphony. Because this is early Brahms, it is worth noting that Brahms was an avid supporter of Dvořák in a variety of ways when that younger composer was just beginning to show his talents.

This performance will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 8. The venue will be Heron Arts, located in SoMa at 7 Heron Street on the block between 7th Street and 8th Street. General admission tickets are being sold for $25 with a $45 VIP rate for reserved seating that includes an invitation to an OFS open rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased online in advance through an Eventbrite event page.

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