The calendar for the first month of the new year seems to be filling up slowly. Nevertheless, with over a month to go, January 26 is already shaping up to be a day on which hard choices will have to be made. As was observed yesterday, this will be the evening of the third of the four concerts in Vox Populi, the title of the four-event PIVOT Series to be present by San Francisco Performances, when Gabriel Kahane will present his latest song cycle, 8980: Book of Travelers. However, that evening will present two additional vocal performances, along with a rather unique cross-cultural offering. Specifics for these alternatives are as follows:
7:30 p.m., Center for New Music (C4NM): As of this writing, this is the first concert to be presented at C4NM in the new year. It will be the second full concert of the season to be preformed by the Ensemble for These Times (E4TT) trio of soprano Nanette McGuinness, cellist Anne Lerner-Wright, and pianist Dale Tsang. The title of the program will be 56 x 54: “But Wait! There’s More!” This is the latest installment in performing the results of the 56 x 54 Call for Scores issued in 2015, consisting of 56 compositions created by 54 of the composers that were approached. The composers to be included on this program will be Jerry Casey, Melanie Mitrano, Loretta Notoreschi, Carlos Dos Santos, Scott Etan Feiner, Derek Jenkins, Dan Senn, and Anderson Viana. The trio will be joined by Julie Michael on viola and pianists Xin Zhao and Ilana Thomas. [added 1/15, 4:50 p.m.: Xin Zhao will be unable to perform for personal reasons; she will be replaced by Taylor Chan.] The program will conclude with Cinq Hommages, a solo piano composition by E4TT co-founder David Garner.
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.
7:30 p.m., Episcopal Church of the Incarnation: This will be the first program in the Vocal series to be presented by Sunset Music and Arts. This will be a shorter series than the one for Chamber Music, and four of the seven events will be free of charge. Those free events will be programs to showcase the young singers participating in the Phoenix Performance Symposium run by the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute. Dates have not yet been fixed, but the plan is to present one recital in January, two in April, and one in May. Further information will be posted to the 2019 Community Series Web page on the Sunset Web site.
The first “formal” recital, however, will be on January 26. The recitalist will be baritone John Smalley, accompanied by pianist Janis Mercer. Smalley plans to focus on Czech and Russian composers with songs by Antonín Dvořák, Modest Mussorgsky, and Pavel Haas. In addition, Mercer will play Leoš Janáček’s only piano sonata, entitled “1.X.1905,” marking the date of the death by bayonet of František Pavlík during a demonstration in support of the Czech university in Brno. (The sonata is also known as “From the Street.”) Specifics for the other two recitals, which will also be held on Saturdays, are as follows:
- February 9, 7:30 p.m.: Ramana Vieira will present a program entitled A Journey to the World of Portuguese Fado. Vieira is a native of northern California of Portuguese descent, and the fado style reflects the Portuguese diaspora through its haunting ballads. Vieira, who is a pianist, vocalist, and songwriter, will demonstrate the impact of fado on different American styles.
- February 16, 4 p.m.: The final recital will be given by mezzo Nicole Takesono. She will present a “three countries” program, beginning in France with Hector Berlioz’ cycle Les nuits d’été. This will be followed by “La maja dolorosa” (the grieving woman), a song in three sections from the collection Tonadillas al estilo antiguo by Enrique Granados. She will then conclude with Leonard Bernstein’s “cycle of Five Kids Songs for Soprano and Piano” entitled I Hate Music.
The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation is located at 1750 29th Avenue, about halfway between Moraga Street and Noriega Street. Ticket prices are $20 for general admission with a $15 rate for students and seniors. Because the demand tends to be high, advance purchase is highly advised. Tickets may be purchased online through Eventbrite. As was the case in the article about the Chamber Music series, each of the hyperlinks on the above dates leads to the event page for single ticket purchases. Further information may be obtained by calling 415-564-2324.
8 p.m., St. Mark’s Lutheran Church: The title of the third of the four concerts to be presented in the 2018–2019 season of Voices of Music will be Musical Crossroads. This will be the program that integrates selections for Western and non-Western instruments, presenting music from the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries. The program will feature two guest artists, Laura Risk on instruments related to the violin and Imamyar Hasanov on kamancheh, an Iranian bowed string instrument. The concert itself if being presented as part of Voices of Music’s Women in Music Project.
St. Mark’s is located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. General admission will be $47 with a $42 rate for seniors and members of several of the local early music organizations and $5 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through an Arts People event page. In addition, the Box Office may be reached by telephone at 415-260-4687.