Regular readers are probably beginning to get used to the need to choose among multiple options during the week, rather than just on the weekends. A particularly tricky case will arise in about two weeks with three chamber music recitals all taking place on the same evening. Furthermore, while two of them will be at the “usual locations” in the Civic Center, there will also be one out in the Sunset; so geography may figure in how music lovers make their decisions.
The event in the Sunset will be the next installment in the Sunset Music | Arts concert series. This will be a return visit (probably the third if available records are correct) of the Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet, whose members are violinists Mikhail Bondarev and Ekaterina Belisova, violist Alexei Popov, and cellist Anton Andreev. This ensemble is based in Saint Petersburg, but their touring schedule seems to take them to San Francisco with impressive consistency. This time they will be joined by a guest artist, mezzo Sally Porter Munro, who performed with them during their last recital for Sunset Music | Arts.
As was the case last year, much of the program has been prepared for the Lenten season. Munro will revisit arias from Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s setting of the “Stabat Mater Dolorosa” hymn, which was performed in its entirety last year. Similarly, the quartet will revisit the introductory movement of the string quartet version of Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken XX, The Seven Last Words of Christ. Seasonally appropriate music will also include a performance of the “Fugue in the Monastery,” a string quartet composed by the ensemble’s namesake, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The quartet will also perform two string quartets, the second (in A minor) of Johannes Brahms’ two Opus 51 quartets and Sergei Prokofiev’s Opus 50 (first) quartet in B minor. Munro will also offer a selection of Italian arias and songs.
This concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22. Sunset Music | Arts performances take place at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, located at 1750 29th Avenue, just north of Noriega Street in the Sunset district. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors and students. Tickets may be purchased through an Eventbrite event page.
This will also be the date and time for the final concert in the Virtuosi Series prepared by San Francisco Performances (SFP). It would be fair to say that this will be a recital of two virtuosi honoring a third. The virtuoso soloist will be cellist Amit Peled, and he has prepared a program entitled Homage to Pablo Casals. There will be two selections from the legacy of studio recordings that Casals made for EMI, Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1009 solo cello suite in C major and Ludwig van Beethoven’s WoO 46 set of seven variations on the duet “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 620 opera The Magic Flute. Bach will also be represented by the Aria movement from his BWV 590 Pastorale in F major for organ.
The Casals legacy will also be honored through performances of an arrangement by August Lindner for cello and piano of George Frideric Handel’s HWV 287 oboe concerto in G minor, three short pieces for cello and piano by Gabriel Fauré, and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Opus 43, and an Allegro appassionato movement in B minor. The program will conclude with the West Coast premiere of a recent work by virtuoso composer Lera Auerbach, “La Suite dels Ocells,” inspired by Casals’ performances of his own “El cant dels Ocells” (song of the birds). Peled’s accompanist for this program will be pianist Noreen Cassidy-Polera.
This concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22. The venue will be Herbst Theatre at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. Tickets are priced at $40, $55, and $65. Tickets may be purchased through a City Box Office event page with a seating chart indicating availability in the different sections. SFP may be reached at 415-392-2545 for further information.
Finally, the San Francisco performance of the next concert in the 2015–2016 season of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE) will take place on a Tuesday, rather than the usual Monday. The title of the program will be Mendelssohn and New Voices; and Felix Mendelssohn will be represented by a performance of his Opus 49 piano trio in D minor by violinist Anna Presler, cellist Tanya Tomkins, and pianist Eric Zivian. The “new voices” will be those of composers Jeremy Podgursky (“Nonsense and Sorcery ?%#*!”), Craig Walsh (“Neshanic Wanes”), and Sean Varah, the title of whose new work has not yet been announced. Each of their pieces will provide a fresh 21st-century perspective on the piano trio, a genre that emerged during the eighteenth century and flourished during the nineteenth.
The San Francisco performance of Mendelssohn and New Voices will begin at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22. It will be held in the Recital Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, located at 50 Oak Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station. Single tickets are on sale at $35 for general admission and half price for those under the age of 35. However, the respective prices are $30 and $15 if the tickets are purchased in advance. Advance purchases can be made online through a Vendini Web page.