Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Two Student Cello Recitals at SFCM This Week

Readers have probably noticed that the monthly previews for concerts at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) tend to focus on faculty and visitors. However, they also probably know that, every now and then, I shall put up an advance piece about a student recital. Such articles are usually triggered by students industrious enough to create and post Facebook Event pages. I figure that such students should be rewarded a bit for their initiative (at least until Cambridge Analytica comes up with a way to use information about Bohuslav Martinů for more insidious purposes)!

With those observations as context, I felt it worth letting readers know that this week will be offering two student cello recitals on two consecutive days. I have long had a personal interest in the cello; and, unless I am mistaken, the very first time I decided to take on a major box set during my tenure at Examiner.com, the box was one of all of the EMI recordings made by Mstislav Rostropovich. As a result I am currently reviewing my iCal to see if I can squeeze at least one of these into my listening schedule.

Like all student recital offerings, these concerts will be free of charge; and reservations will not be required. The SFCM building is located at 50 Oak Street, between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni Station. Readers are encouraged to consult the Performance Calendar Web page at the SFCM Web site for the most up-to-date information about both of these offerings. Specifics are as follows:

Wednesday, March 28, 8:30 p.m., Recital Hall: Cellist Leo Baluk is a first-year Master’s student, and this will be his very first SFCM recital. This program will feature the last of the three suites for cello composed by Ernest Bloch in 1957, near the end of his life when he was living in Agate Beach in Oregon. The major works to be played with piano accompaniment will be Ludwig van Beethoven’s sonata in F major, the first of his two Opus 5 sonatas, and Friedrich Grützmacher’s arrangement of Luigi Boccherini’s B-flat major cello concerto. Baluk will also play Felix Mendelssohn’s Opus 109 in D major, entitled “Song Without Words” and not related to any of the 48 solo piano pieces given the same title. Baluk will have two piano accompanists, Amy Chiu and Xiaoxiao Ji.

Thursday, March 29, 7:30 p.m., Osher Salon: Complementing Baluk’s concert, cellist Edward Luengo will be performing his last recital as an SFCM undergraduate. Luengo’s program will be distinguished by a departure from the usual coupling of cello and piano. He will play Zoltán Kodály’s Opus 7, a duo for violin and cello. His violinist partner will be Maria van der Sloot. All of the other works on the program will have piano accompaniment. His “historical” offerings will be Beethoven’s WoO 46, the set of seven variations of the duet “Bei Männern, welch Liebe fühlen” from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 620 opera The Magic Flute, and Johannes Brahms’ Opus 99 (second) sonata in F major. The second half of the program will present two relatively recent works. Luengo will conclude with a piece by Jérôme Ducros entitled, appropriately enough, “Encore.” Composed in 2009, this will be preceded by “Les Chants de l’Agartha,” which Guillaume Connesson composed in 2008. In addition, the first half of the program will include Pablo Casals’ arrangement of the first of three songs that Gabriel Fauré published as his Opus 7, “Après un rêve.” Accompaniment will be shared by three pianists, Chiu (again), Keisuke Nakagoshi, and Kevin Lee Sun.

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