It turns out that the need to make choices will extend beyond the first weekend of February. The Monday following that weekend will require, at least as of this writing, choosing between two events. Furthermore, both of those events are likely to appeal to those particularly interested in modernism; and they both will be taking place in the general Civic Center part of the city. Bearing in mind that there may be more to come, here are specifics regarding those two events:
7:30 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music: The title of the next concert to be presented by the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE) is Visions de l’Amen. This is also the title of a suite of seven movements composed by Olivier Messiaen in 1943 during the German occupation of Paris during the Second World War. The Hebrew word “amen” is a declaration of affirmation; and each of the movements of the suite entails the affirmation of a specific act of Divine Creation.
Messiaen composed this suite, which tends to run about 45 minutes in duration, for two pianos. It was first performed in the Concerts de la Pléiade series; and the two pianists were Messiaen and his wife Yvonne Loriod. The two of them subsequently recorded their performance of the piece for Parlophone Records following the War, probably in 1949. For this concert LCCE pianist Eric Zivian will be joined by pianist Sarah Cahill. They will also give the premiere performances of two new works, also composed for two pianos: “Reverent Murmurs” by Philip Acimovic and “IV-I” by Chris Castro.
This performance will take place in the SFCM Recital Hall. SFCM is located at 50 Oak Street, between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street and a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station. Tickets will be sold at the door for $35 for general admission and $18 for those under the age of 35. However, if the tickets are purchased in advance through a Vendini event page, the prices will be $30 for general admission and $15 for those under the age of 35. (The discount is applied after the number of tickets to be purchased is specified.) Those requiring further information may call 415-617-5223 (LCCE).
7:30 p.m., Taube Atrium Theatre: Earplay will present the opening concert of its 33rd season in San Francisco. As usual the program, entitled A Delicate Arrangement of Sounds, will focus on premiere performances. Frank Bedrossian’s “I’m nobody, who are you?,” composed on an Earplay commission through the support of the Fromm Foundation, takes its title from a poem by Emily Dickinson. Its world premiere will be performed by the disarming combination of bass flute, contrabass clarinet, and viola. In addition, Richard Festinger’s 2003 song cycle Coming of Age will receive its West Coast premiere. Soprano Nikki Einfeld will perform will all six Earplay musicians playing flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, and piano, respectively. The program will also include Bruce Christian Bennet’s 2015 “Small Art” for piano solo and, also on the theme of the visual arts, British composer Helen Grime’s set of three “Whistler Miniatures,” written for piano trio in 2011.
The Diane and Tad Taube Atrium Theater is located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. General admission will be $25 with a $10 rate for students. There will also be a premium rate of $35 for preferred seating. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.