Next month will see the second round of guest conductors visiting the podium of Davies Symphony Hall to lead San Francisco Symphony (SFS) subscription concerts. All three of those conductors will be making return visits, and the repertoire across the three programs could not be more diverse. Each program will be given only three performances. Specifics are as follows:
November 7–9: The month will begin with the return of Ton Koopman, who has prepared a program of music from both the Baroque and Classical periods. Koopman specializes in historically-informed performances. Nevertheless, he has consistently arranged SFS resources to provide suitably authentic accounts of the compositions being performed. One of those works will be presented by SFS for the first time, the “Chaos” prologue to Les Élémens, a ballet score composed by Jean-Féry Rebel in 1737. This forward-looking composition will be followed by two works of Johann Sebastian Bach, the BWV 1041 violin concerto in A minor, with SFS Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik as soloist, and the BWV 1069 orchestral suite in D major. The Classical portion of the program will be devoted to Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken I/100 “Military” symphony in G major.
The three performances of this concert will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, November 7, and at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 8, and Saturday, November 9. The Inside Music talk will be given by James M. Keller one hour prior to each concert. Ticket prices range from $20 to $160, and an event page has been created for online purchase. They may also be purchased by calling 415-864-6000 or by visiting the Davies Box Office, whose entrance is on the south side of Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street. KDFC’s Rik Malone’s podcast about the Bach suite will be posted to the Program Note Podcasts Web page prior to the first performance of this program. In addition the event page has embedded sound file clips from past performances of that suite. Flash must be enabled for both streamed content and online ticket purchases. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and two hours prior to Sunday performances.
November 14–16: Simone Young will return to Davies to replace Antonio Pappano, who had to withdraw as conductor due to commitments at the Royal Opera House. Fortunately, the program will not change and will still be operatic. The second half of the program will be devoted entirely to the first act of Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre, the second of the four operas in his epic Der Ring des Nibelungen (the ring of the Nibelung). This act is devoted to the initial encounter between Siegmund (tenor Stuart Skelton) and Sieglinde (soprano Emily Magee, making her SFS debut), culminating in an incestuous relationship that will lead to the birth of Siegfried (the central character in the remaining two operas of the cycle). Bass Ain Anger will sing the role of Hunding, Sieglinde’s husband, who will kill Siegmund in the second act of the opera. The program will begin with “Metamorphosen,” which Richard Strauss composed for 23 solo string parts: ten violins, five violas, five cellos, and three basses.
All three performances of this program will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 14, Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16. The Inside Music talk will be given by Peter Grunberg. Ticket prices range from $20 to $160, and an event page has been created for online purchase. Malone’s podcast about “Metamorphosen” will be posted to the Program Note Podcasts Web page prior to the first performance of this program.
November 22–24: The final subscription concert of the month will be conducted by Manfred Honeck. Honeck specializes in performing the music of Anton Bruckner; but, unless I am mistaken, this will be the first time he will bring that expertise to the SFS podium. The second half of the program will be devoted to Bruckner’s fourth (“Romantic”) symphony in E-flat major. The soloist for the first half will be pianist Leif Ove Andsnes in a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 482 concerto in E-flat major.
The three performances of this program will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 22, and Saturday, November 23, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 24. The Inside Music talk will be given by Scott Foglesong. Ticket prices range from $20 to $160, and an event page has been created for online purchase. Malone’s podcast about the Bruckner symphony will be posted to the Program Note Podcasts Web page prior to the first performance of this program. In addition the event page has embedded sound file clips from past performances of both the concerto and the symphony.