Saturday, July 6, 2019

The SFP 2019–2020 Shenson Piano Series

Since this site has begun to review the subscription plans for the coming season, it is appropriate to turn attention to San Francisco Performances (SFP). As most readers should know by now, SFP organizes its concerts into a rich variety of subscription series. As in the past, these will be examined in the chronological order of their respective first performances. Single tickets will not be available until Monday, August 19; but, as has already been announced, subscriptions have been on sale since April 24. The first of those series will be the return of the Piano Series (now the Shenson Piano Series). This will consist of five concerts, the first of which will be a duo performance, followed by three solo recitalists, one of whom will play two different programs. All of these events will take place at 7:30 p.m. on different days of the week.

As usual, all of the concerts will take place in Herbst Theatre. The entrance to Herbst is the main entrance to the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue, located on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. The venue is excellent for public transportation, since that corner has Muni bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel. The specific dates and their related performers are as follows:

Friday, September 27: The duo concert will be given by Natasha Paremski and Alfredo Rodriguez. What promises to be interesting is that Rodriguez, who is Cuban, both composes and interprets jazz music. As a result, even when they are playing “historical” material, the “source texts” provide a foundation for interplay and improvisation. For this particular program Paremski will work with three specific “source texts,” Sergei Prokofiev’s Opus 22 collection Visions fugitives, Maurice Ravel’s suite Gaspard de la nuit, and Mily Balakirev’s finger-busting “Islamey,” each of which will trigger improvised “responses” from Rodriguez.

Tuesday, February 4, and Tuesday, March 31: Garrick Ohlsson will return to SFP for his second round of two solo recitals devoted entirely to the music of Johannes Brahms. The February recital will complete his account of the Opus 35 set of variations on the theme of Niccolò Paganini’s 24th caprice for solo violin in A minor, the fourteen variations in the second book. (The first book was performed at Ohlsson’s recital this past February.) The other major composition on the program will be the Opus 5 (third) piano sonata in F minor. The collections of shorter pieces will be the Opus 79 pair of rhapsodies and the seven fantasias of Opus 116.

At the March recital Ohlsson will complete the “sonata cycle” with the performance of the Opus 1 (first) sonata in C major. (The Opus 2 sonata in F-sharp minor was performed this past March.) The other early works on the program will be the Opus 4 scherzo in E-flat minor and the Opus 9 set of variations on a theme by Robert Schumann in F-sharp minor.) The remainder of the program will be devoted to the Opus 39 collection of sixteen short waltzes and the four pieces collected as Opus 119.

Thursday, March 26: For this season’s visit to San Francisco, András Schiff will play four consecutively-numbered sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven. The opus numbers for these sonatas are also consecutive. The program will begin with Opus 26 (twelfth) in A-flat major. This will be followed by the two Opus 27 sonatas, both identified as “Sonata quasi una Fantasia.” The first of these (thirteenth) is in E-flat major; and the second (fourteenth) is the “Moonlight” sonata in C-sharp minor. The program will then conclude with Opus 28 (fifteenth) in D major.

Thursday, April 23: The final recital in the series will be given by Marc-André Hamelin. The second half of the program will be devoted to Franz Schubert’s final sonata, D. 960 in B-flat major. The first half will present a chronological account of pieces by three Russian composers. It will begin with Alexander Scriabin’s Opus 28, his B minor fantasia composed in 1900. This will be followed by Prokofiev’s Opus 17 collection of five pieces under the title Sarcasms, composed between 1912 and 1914. The most recent piece is also the least-known, the Opus 3 (third) piano sonata composed by Samuil Feinberg in 1917.

Subscriptions are now on sale for $390 for premium seating in the Orchestra and the front and center of the Dress Circle, $295 for the Side Boxes, the center rear of the Dress Circle, and the remainder of the Orchestra, and $200 for the remainder of the Dress Circle and the Balcony. Subscriptions may be purchased online in advance through a City Box Office event page. Orders may also be placed by calling the SFP subscriber hotline at 415-677-0325, which is open for receiving calls between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. When single tickets go on sale, they may be purchased by visiting the specific event pages. The above dates provide hyperlinks to the appropriate Web pages.

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