LCCE percussionist Loren Mach (photograph by Vivian Sachs, from the LCCE event page for this concert)
The title of the first Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE) program to be performed in 2019 is The Sound of Nature. The concept behind the title was the presentation of works focusing on climate change and the natural world. That theme will be highlighted by the world premiere of “Lemuria,” a concerto by Clarice Assad scored for two cellos, percussion, and cello choir. The conductor will be Matilda Hofman.
Like Atlantis, Lemuria is one of those “lost lands” that was ultimately discredited by nineteenth-century scientific theory. It was believed to have been located in either the Indian or Pacific Ocean. It was presumed to have been utopian. Assad provides the following description, which motivated her approach to writing her concerto:
The legend tells us that the Lemurian people possessed a very strong connection to nature and were very caring and sensitive to each other’s needs. There were no wars, no hunger, no violence, no need from individuals to profit at other people's expenses. Lemuria is believed to have vanished during a tragic, great flood, and this dramatic shift destroyed the entire civilization, leaving no traces of evidence behind.
Since Assad is Brazilian-American, it may be reasonable to assume that her approach to instrumentation reflected an earlier Brazilian composer, whose skills as a cellist led to several extraordinary compositions for cello ensemble. That composer was, of course, Heitor Villa-Lobos. The concerto soloists will be the two LCCE cellists, Tanya Tomkins and Leighton Fong; and the percussionist will be Loren Mach. Tomkins and Fong will also play Kurt Rohde’s cello duo “credo petrified;” and Tomkins will give a solo performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1009 solo cello suite in C major.
Mach will be featured in two other works on the program that reflect aspects of nature. He and guitarist Michael Goldberg will play George Crumb’s duo “Mundus Canis” (a dog’s life). Mach will then give a solo performance of Evan Hause’s composition for five-octave marimba, “Fields.” Over the course of three movements, this piece emerges as a celebration of nature’s wide-openness and free spirit.
The San Francisco performance of this program will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, January 14. The venue will be the Recital Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, located at 50 Oak Street, between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street and a short walk from the Van Ness Muni Station. Single tickets will be sold at the door for $35 for general admission and $18 for those under the age of 35. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through an event page on the LCCE Web site.