Every year the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (SFCO) and its Music Director Benjamin Simon schedule one of the four Main Stage Concerts to take place on the threshold between the old and the new year. Last year’s concert consisted entirely of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This year Simon is taking a tighter focus on the First Viennese School. Rather than just preparing a program consisting entirely of music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Simon has decided to narrow that scope between the years 1795 and 1800. For those who believe in dividing Beethoven’s work into three periods, that means that the program will be one of “early period” music.
The composition written in 1795 is the Opus 15 piano concerto in C major. (This was published as Beethoven’s first piano concerto, but it was written after he had completed the concerto that was published as his second. Go figure.) Keeping with the theme of youth, the pianist will be twelve-year-old Rin Homma, this season’s Debut Artist, who is currently a student of Professor Hans Boepple at Santa Clara University.
SFCO 2017–18 Debut Artist Rin Homma (courtesy of SFCO)
The 1800 selection will be the Opus 21 (first, no questions about numbering here) symphony in C major. Situated chronologically between these two pieces, Simon has scheduled one of Beethoven’s larger chamber music compositions, the Opus 20 sextet, which is basically a six-movement divertimento scored for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, and bass. This piece of chamber music will serve as the “overture” for the overture-concerto-symphony format of the program.
The San Francisco performance of this program will be the first of three and will take place on the 2017 side of the threshold. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 30. The venue will be Herbst Theatre, which is located at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the northwest corner of McAllister Street. As is always the case, there is no admission charge for all SFCO Main Stage Concerts. Seating for members will begin at 6:30 p.m. Doors will then open for everyone at 7:15 p.m., at which time member seating cannot be guaranteed. This concert has become a seasonal favorite, which plays consistently to a full house. Early arrival is highly recommended.