The title of next month’s offering in the 25th anniversary season of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE) will be Sonnets to Orpheus. Orpheus is probably the first character in the corpus of Greek mythology to be honored as a “working” composer and performer. It should therefore be no surprise that he has been honored by composers dating at least as far back of the Renaissance and all the way up to the present day.
Sonnets to Orpheus is, itself, the title of a song cycle composed by Eric Moe late in the twentieth century. Moe scored this piece for soprano, oboe, and string quartet; and it will be one of the compositions featured on LCCE’s program. The program will also include an arrangement of the “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s 1762 opera Orfeo ed Euridice, along with a selection of excerpts from the even earlier opera L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi and a new arrangement of music from the 1958 film Black Orpheus, a setting of the Orpheus myth taking place during the annual Brazilian Carnival. Antônio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, and Luiz Bonfá all contributed to the soundtrack of that film. Finally, to take things to the immediate present, the program will present a new work commissioned by LCCE, an instrumental impression of the Orpheus myth scored for flute, violin, viola, and cello by Iranian-born composer Aida Shirazi.
Luiz Bonfá, one of the composers for the film Black Orpheus (photograph by Harry Pot, from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license)
The program will also include “Rhapsody Toccata” by Chiayu Hsu, the winner of LCCE’s 2017 Composition Contest, which will be performed by guest pianist Katy Luo.
The San Francisco performance of Sonnets to Orpheus will take place in the Recital Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). 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).