The Fall 2015 season of the Dolci duo of pianist Viva Knight and oboist Ted Rust concluded at the end of last month. They then celebrated the completion of their free one-hour performances at the San Francisco Aquatic Park Center by giving a full two-hour concert in the Chapel of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco. Not only did they draw upon the repertoire of their Aquatic Park season, but also they remained true to their name by serving sweets after the performance.
This weekend they will celebrate the season by offering one last concert at Aquatic Park entitled A Gift of Music. The music will not be particularly seasonal, which is probably just as well, since most listeners are probably saturated with that repertoire by now. Instead, they will confront our current cold snap head-on with music from one of the sunniest of the Spanish composers, Isaac Albéniz. They will perform an arrangement for oboe and piano of his Opus 47 Suite española.
Opus 47 consists of eight pieces, each of which was written to depict a different region of Spain and its characteristic musical style. Albéniz composed it for solo piano, presumably to provide his listeners with engaging entertainment while showing off his keyboard virtuosity. Transcribing his music is no easy matter. Albéniz was very much the Spanish champion of thickly embellished nineteenth-century keyboard writing, often distributing layers of embellishment both above and below the theme. As was illustrated in a previous article, he often had to resort to writing the piano part on three staves to make sure that the pianist could identify how those layers were disposed (or, as a sedimentary geologist would say, “deposed”). While Opus 47 never rises to that level of complexity, the very first piece, a serenade representing Granada, begins by developing the theme in a middle voice, as is illustrated above.
The San Francisco Aquatic Park Center is located at 890 Beach Street, adjacent to Ghirardelli Square. The location is such that the music will be supplemented by one of the best views of San Francisco Bay (which may be enjoyed without worrying about how much of a chill there is in the air). Like all Dolci events this concert will be free. However, it will depart from its usual Aquatic Park schedule by beginning at 2 p.m. and taking place on a Sunday, this coming December 20. Nevertheless, Dolci will remain true to its name; and tea and sweets will be served following the performance.