According to my records, October was the first month of last season that required serious listeners to make hard choices. Since it is early in the season, several of those choices involve season-opening concerts; and, as in the past, I shall use this occasion to summarize the entirety of those seasons. In fact, as of this morning, it appears that those summaries will outnumber the one-off events. Specifics are as follows:
Friday, October 19, 7 p.m., 405 Shrader: Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) will be giving their first performance of the season this Sunday at SF Music Day 2018; but their first full program will lead off next month’s busy weekend. The title of that recital will be Emigres & Exiles in Hollywood. As was recently observed, during the Thirties and Forties Los Angeles became a cultural sanctuary for a rich diversity of European artists and intellectuals, some of whom, such as Franz Waxman, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Miklós Rózsa, would make significant marks working on providing soundtracks for Hollywood movies. The E4TT trio of soprano Nanette McGuinness, cellist Anne Lerner-Wright, and pianist Dale Tsang will cast a wide net in surveying the achievements of many of those émigré composers in a program that will also include music composed by E4TT co-founder David Garner.
As might be guessed, 405 Shrader is the address of the venue, located at the corner of Oak Street near the Panhandle. Accommodations are modest, so the only way to guarantee a seat will be to make a reservation. Admission for all will be $20, and tickets may be ordered through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.
E4TT will present two other full concerts in San Francisco this season as follows:
- Saturday, January 26, 7:30 p.m., Center for New Music (C4NM): This will be the latest installment in performing the results of the 56 x 54 Call for Scores issued in 2015. The title of this program will be 56 x 54: “But Wait! There’s More!” The offerings will include works by nine women composers, and there will be one world premiere and four West Coast premieres. Garner’s music will again be included in the program with selections from his revision of his Cinq Hommages. C4NM is located at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of the Golden Gate Theater, where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. General admission for this concert will be $15 with a $10 rate for C4NM members and $5 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance through a Vendini event page.
- Sunday, April 6, 7:30 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM): The final San Francisco performance will be a co-production with MaryClare Brzytwa and the SFCM Technology and Applied Composition Department. The program will feature world premieres of commissions inspired by the film noir genre. Xin Zhao will be guest pianist for this occasion. The performance will take place in the Osher Salon. SFCM is located at 50 Oak Street, between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street and a short walk from the Muni Van Ness Station. There will be no charge for admission to this concert.
Friday, October 19, 7:30 p.m., Adobe Books: As has been the case in the past, the performers for the next three-set evening will be identified only by their URLs as follows: Dax Pierson, Beast Nest, and Marc Manning. Adobe Books is located at 3130 24th Street in the Mission between South Van Ness Avenue and Folsom Street. The concert is free. However, donations will go directly to the performing artists and are strongly encouraged. At past events Adobe has provided free refreshments to those who make a book purchase of $6 or more, and it is likely that the managers of the book store will maintain this effort to encourage reading their offerings.
Friday, October 19, 7:30 p.m., Monument: groupmuse will host a Massivemuse to be presented by the Vinifera Trio, consisting of pianist Ian Scarfe, violinist Rachel Patrick, and clarinetist Matthew Boyles. They will be joined by cellist Matthew Boyles for a performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quatuor pour la fin du temps” (quartet for the end of time). As many readers probably know, Messiaen composed and first performed this quartet in 1940 during his internment at the Stalag VIII-A prisoner-of-war camp in what was then called Görlitz (now in Poland and called Zgorzelec). The performance will be preceded by a video/photo introduction to both Messiaen and this specific composition.
Monument is located in SoMa at 140 9th Street. Admission will be $20 with a $5 discount for supporting Supermusers. The Web page for this event includes an interactive map showing the location of the venue and a hyperlink for advance purchase of tickets. However, Web-based transactions require creating a Groupmuse account, which will be password-protected. Guests are invited to bring their own drinks; but, because they may be alcoholic, all ticket-holders must be aged 21 or older.
Friday, October 19, 7:30 p.m., Red Poppy Art House: As was previously announced, the Poppy will be hosting a jazz quartet presenting a program entitled Original Music Borrowing from Old & New.
Friday, October 19, 8 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The California Bach Society and its Artistic Director Paul Flight will begin their 2018–2019 season, appropriately enough, with a program consisting entirely of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The major work on the program will be the BWV 234 Mass setting in A major. The second half of the program will present two cantatas, one sacred and one secular. The sacred cantata will be BWV 118, O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht (O Jesus Christ, light of my life). It will be followed by a mourning ode for Saxon Electoress and Polish Queen Christiane Eberhardine, the BWV 198 Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl (Princess, allow still one more glance). The opening selection will be taken from the appendix to Wolfgang Schmieder’s catalog, the BWV Anh. 159 motet for double choir Ich lasse dich nicht (I will not let you go).
There will be three remaining concerts in this season’s programming, all of which will also take place on Friday evenings beginning at 8 p.m. in St. Mark’s. These will be as follows:
- November 30: The title of the program will be Five centuries of Italian Christmas music, and the repertoire will extend from the Renaissance to a composition by Ottorino Respighi.
- March 1: This program will be devoted entirely to Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil.
- April 26: The program, entitled I Maestri Italiani a Vienna, will feature the music of two Italian composers who flourished at the Hapsburg Court, Giovanni Valentini and Antonio Bertali.
St. Mark’s is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. Subscriptions for the entire season are still on sale. General admission is $95 with an $80 rate for seniors and $35 for those under the age of 30. Subscriptions may be purchased through a Brown Paper Tickets event page. Tickets for individual concerts are $30, $25, and $10, respectively. Brown Paper Tickets event pages have been created for all four concerts and may be found through the hyperlinks on the above dates.
Saturday, October 20, 7:30 p.m., Taube Atrium Theater: As of this writing, there will be only one event on Saturday; but it will be a significant one. This will be the first season in which Eric Dudley will serve as Artistic Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP), which will be presenting its 48th season. The season will begin with a special celebration of the music of Elliott Carter entitled Carter and Beyond: Invention and Inspiration. The program will present three of Carter’s compositions, “A 6 Letter Letter,” “Changes,” and “Penthode,” as well as the world-premiere of a composition inspired by Carter and commissioned by SFCMP, “Big Show” by Tobin Chodos. The program will also include Sabrina Schroeder’s essay in the sensuality of noises, “Bone Games/Shy Garden.” As usual there will be a free How Music is Made Program held at 4 p.m., which will include an open dress rehearsal of Chodos’ composition, after which he will engage in discussion with Dudley. There will also be the usual pre-concert discussion with performers beginning at 6:45 p.m.
The Taube Atrium Theater is part of the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, which is located on the fourth floor of the Veterans Building at the southwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street. General admission will be $35, with a $15 rate for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance online from an SFCMP event page.
This will be the first of the four 2018–2019 season concerts that will be led by Dudley. Two of those concerts will be presented as a group entitled Guerrilla Sounds: Julius Eastman’s Legacy, taking place at 7:30 p.m. on both Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11. The performances will be at the SFJAZZ Center, located at 201 Franklin Street on the northwest corner of Fell Street. The remaining concert will be the next installment of the in the LABORATORY series, and it will be entitled Auto-Tuning Ives. It will run from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m in the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), located at 50 Oak Street, near the Van Ness Muni station.
Subscriptions for the entire season are still on sale for $170 for general admission and $85 for students. SFCMP has created a Web page describe the full scope of subscriber benefits. It also includes hyperlinks for two purchasing options.
Finally, there will be two free events:
- Sunday, December 16, 3 p.m., The Women’s Building: This will be an in the COMMUNITY event for which audience participation will be encouraged. The first selection will be “Paragraph 7” from Cornelius Cardew’s The Great Learning. This will be followed by Pauline Oliveros’ “deep listening” piece, “Sonic Meditation.” The Women’s Building is located in the Mission at 3543 18th Street #8, about halfway between Valencia Street and Guerrero Street.
- Thursday, February 21, 7:30 p.m., SFCM: Kyle Bruckmann, an expert in extended techniques played on double-reed instruments, will lead a Master Class for SFCM students.
Sunday, October 21, 4 p.m., Church of the Advent of Christ the King: This season Music Director Paul Ellison has organized the eight concerts in his Third Sundays at 4 O’Clock series around a common theme. Each event will provide an opportunity to hear scripture spoken in the context of prayer and music from the Anglican choral tradition. The choral music will be provided by resident choir Schola Adventus, and the scripture selections will be based on specific services. The service for the first performance will be Pentecost XXII. [added 10/15, 1:35 p.m.: The prelude for this service will be the Adagio movement from the fifth organ symphony by Charles-Marie Widor. The postlude will be a G minor fantasia by Johann Pachelbel. The service itself will include plainchant and compositions by Richard Ayleward, Herbert Sumsion, William Blitheman, and Walter Vale.] Those for the remaining seven Sundays will be as follows:
- November 18: Pentecost XXVI
- December 16: Advent III (Rose)
- January 20: Epiphany II
- February 17: Epiphany VI
- March 17: Lent II
- May 19: Easter V
- June 16: The Most Hold Trinity
No admission will be charged, but donations will be requested. Those planning of attending should be advised that each of these events will cost approximately $500. The Church of the Advent of Christ the King is located at 261 Fell Street, between Franklin Street and Gough Street. The entry is diagonally across the street from the SFJAZZ Center.
Sunday, October 21, 4 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: This will be the first concert to be offered by American Bach Soloists following their Sparkle 2018 gala this coming Saturday. As has already been announced, the title of this program will be Off to the Hunt! Both subscriptions and single tickets are still for sale, also as previously announced. A pre-concert talk will be given by Victor Gavenda one hour before the performance begins.
Sunday, October 21, 7:30 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall: This will be the first of two concerts to be performed when the Mariinsky Orchestra performs as guests of the San Francisco Symphony. Valery Gergiev will conduct, and the piano soloist will be Denis Matsuev. The program will consist entirely of music by Igor Stravinsky. The concertante offering will be his “Capriccio.” Instrumental selections will include “Fireworks,” “Symphony in Three Movements,” “Symphony in C,” and the 1919 version of the suite Stravinsky prepared with music from his score for the ballet “The Firebird.”
Tickets for this concert will be between $35 and $99. Tickets may be purchased online through the event page for this program on the SFS Web site, by calling 415-864-6000, or by visiting the Box Office in Davies Symphony Hall, whose entrance is on the south side of Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It will also open two hours before the performance begins.