The busy days during the first weekend in February have turned out to be Saturday and Sunday. However, on the second weekend the action seems to be concentrated on Friday and Saturday. This will involve considerable diversity in both styles and venues. Specifics are as follows:
Friday, February 9, 8 p.m., Heron Arts: One Found Sound will return to Heron Arts to give the final concert in its fifth anniversary season. In anticipation of Mardi Gras, the title of the program will be A Major Carnival. In that festive spirit the ensemble has selected the symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven that Richard Wager once called the “apotheosis of the dance, the Opus 92 (seventh) symphony in A major. (Whether or not the key inspired the title of the program is left to the imagination of the reader.) The evening will begin with the string section playing Toru Takemitsu’s “The Dorian Horizon,” whose mystical rhetoric may be taken to evoke the Lenten solemnity that follows Mardi Gras.
Heron Arts is 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.
Friday, February 9, 8 p.m., Herbst Theatre: The title of next month’s concert to be given by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra is Harmonic Convergence. The title was chosen to honor the astronomer William Herschel, best known for having discovered the plant Uranus. Herschel was also a composer; and the second half of the program will begin with his eighth symphony in C minor, which will then be followed by Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken I/43 symphony in E-flat major, given the name “Mercury.” Haydn will also be featured in the first half of the program when cellist Steven Isserlis will appear as guest soloist in a performance of Haydn’s Hoboken VIIb/2 concerto in D major. This concerto selection will be preceded by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 129 symphony in G major.
Herbst Theatre is located at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. Ticket prices will range from $28 to $120 for premium seating. Tickets are currently available for advance purchase through a City Box Office event page, which displays a color-coded seating plan that shows which areas correspond to which price levels.
Friday, February 9, 8 p.m., McKenna Theatre: The Morrison Artists Series, presented by the College of Liberal and Creative Arts at San Francisco State University (SFSU) will continue its 2017–2018 season with a visit from Zéphyros Winds. The program will offer wind quintet music by György Ligeti and Endre Szervánszky, as well as Mozart’s K. 388 serenade in C minor. The McKenna Theatre is in the Creative Arts Building at SFSU, a short walk from the SFSU Muni stop at the corner of 19th Avenue and Holloway Avenue. Tickets are free but advance registration is highly desirable. Reservations may be made through the event page for this concert but only beginning on January 19. As usual, there will be a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., which will be given by Richard Festinger, Artistic Director of the Morrison Artists Series. Also as usual, the five members of this quintet will give a collective Master Class earlier in the day at 2 p.m. This two-hour session will take place in Knuth Hall, also in the Creative Arts Building, and will be open to the general public at no charge and with no requirements for tickets.
Saturday, February 10, 3 p.m., Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin: Director of Music Eric Choate has arranged for a vocal recital to be given by soprano Winnie Nieh accompanied at the piano by Paul Dab. The first half of the program will feature a selection entitled The Art of Song. Nieh has selected poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Emanuel Geibel, and Paul Valéry, each of which has been set by more than one composer. (In the case of Valéry, one of those composers is Choate.) That survey will be followed by Francis Poulenc’s song cycle Fiançailles pour rire (betrothal for laughs). The second half of the program will be religiously themed, honoring the name of the church with a performance of Henry Purcell’s “The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation.” The program will conclude with Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs collection. The church is located at 2325 Union Street, between Steiner Street and Pierce Street. There will be no charge for admission, but a collection will be taken.
Saturday, February 10, 4 p.m., Episcopal Church of the Incarnation: In addition to the young vocalists that will be showcased by Sunset Music and Arts, there will also be two Vocal Series recitals. The first of these will be by mezzo Nicole Takesono, who will be accompanied by pianist Kevin Korth. Takesono has selected songs by four composers, Reynaldo Hahn, Hugo Wolf, Manuel de Falla, and Kurt Weill, for her program. The church is located in the Sunset district at 1750 29th Avenue, about halfway between Moraga Street and Noriega Street. Ticket prices are $20 for general admission with a $15 rate for students and seniors. Because the demand tends to be high, advance purchase is highly advised. Tickets may be purchased online through Eventbrite. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-564-2324.
This should also be a good time to alert those interested in the genre that the second Vocal Series recital will be given by Vanessa Langer, accompanied at the piano by Vera Breheda. Langer used to live here and was an active member of several groups committed to the performance of recent music. However, she moved to Milan (in Italy) following a sort-of “farewell recital” at the Center for New Music in May of last year. Her program for Sunset Music and Arts will feature cabaret songs by Arnold Schoenberg, reflecting a lighter side of that composer’s character that many would assume he never had. She will also perform songs by Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. This recital will also take place at 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, April 7. Tickets are also available for this concert (at the same prices) through an Eventbrite event page.