This site first took notice of the San Francisco Civic Music Association (SFCMA) this past November with the announcement of its first orchestra concert of the 2017–2018 season. As was explained at that time, these performances usually involve some mix of both professional and amateur musicians. However, the emphasis is on community involvement; and, as a result, all concerts are free and available to the public. This month SFCMP will be presenting two concerts, one for string ensemble and the other for full orchestra. Specifics are as follows:
Monday, March 12, Lakeside Presbyterian Church, 8 p.m.: The string ensemble, which calls itself Civic Strings, will present a program entitled Off the Beaten Path. As might be guessed, the program will focus on both composers and compositions that are seldom heard; and even the names of some of those composers are likely to be unfamiliar to many readers. That would probably be the case for Czech composer Josef Mysliveček, who was an intimate friend of Leopold Mozart and provided Mozart’s son (Wolfgang) with a generous collection of models for a variety of different compositional forms. The program will begin with a performance of the overture to one of Mysliveček’s 26 opere serie, Romolo ed Ersilia.
Posthumous portrait of Josef Mysliveček (by Jan Vilímek based on a contemporary engraving, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain)
Another unfamiliar name from that period would be Pierre Van Maldere, whose productivity included about 45 symphonies. Civic Strings will play the third symphony (in B-flat major) from his Opus 4 collection of six. (Just to make music history interesting, several of Van Maldere’s compositions have been falsely attributed to others, include Joseph Haydn and the aforementioned Mysliveček.)
A more familiar name from that same time would be Benda. To be fair, however, the Benda family provided as extensive a range of composers as did the Bach family. The program will present the Grave movement, the second of two from Jan Benda’s only edited violin concerto, which took Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1042 violin concerto in E major as a point of departure. The soloist will be Tetiana Fokshei. Also excerpted will be the F major orchestral suite (overture) by Francesco Maria Veracini, although the specific movements have not yet been announced.
The most familiar composer on the program will be Georg Philip Telemann. He will be represented by a concerto for two violas featuring soloists Dan Stanley and Diana Jeon. The conductor for this program will be Music Director Thomas Alexander.
Sunday, March 18, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 3 p.m.: The Mozart to Mendelssohn concert series will continue with a program entitled Rosamunde & Rhenish. The first half will present excerpts from the D. 797 incidental music that Franz Schubert composed for Helmina von Chézy’s play Rosamunde, along with the D. 644 overture for Die Zauberharfe (the magic harp), which was repurposed to be used with the performance of Rosamunde. The second half will consist entirely of Robert Schumann’s Opus 97, his third symphony in E-flat major, known familiarly as the “Rhenish.” Music Director John Kendall Bailey will conduct.
As mentioned above admission will be free for both of these concerts. Registration is appreciated but not required. Those who wish may register through separate Eventbrite event pages for March 12 and March 18. Seating is on a first-come first-served basis. Doors open half an hour before the performance begins. Donations are gratefully accepted, with a $10 donation suggested for each person.