Next month Noe Valley Chamber Music will conclude its 23rd season with a program featuring the return of violinist Livia Sohn. Her Livia Sohn and Friends concert will also feature oboist James Austin Smith, violist Meena Bhasin, and cellist Christopher Costanza. This will allow for the presentation of a program of diverse selections involving different combinations of instruments and composers ranging from the eighteenth century of Johann Sebastian Bach to the twentieth century of Luciano Berio.
The program will be framed by the two selections for all four musicians. It will conclude with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 370 oboe quartet in F major. The same group of performers will open the program with Benjamin Britten’s Opus 2 (which, composed in 1932, is actually his earliest published composition). The piece is entitled simply “Phantasy” (a category label that Britten seemed to like); and the instrumentation may (or may not) have been inspired by Mozart.
The program will also feature solo performances by two of Sohn’s guests. Smith will perform Berio’s seventh “Sequenza” composition, written to explore the sonorous capabilities of an extensive variety of oboe performance techniques, all of which are exercised against the sound of on offstage B natural drone. (Remember that the most familiar sound of the oboe is its steady performance of an A natural to provide a point of reference for the tuning of the instruments of an orchestra. Some readers may also recall that this “Sequenza” was played by Andrea Plesnarski at the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble concert given this past December.) At the other end of the timeline, Costanza will perform Bach’s BWV 1009 C major suite for solo cello. Finally, Sohn will perform the first of Ludwig van Beethoven’s three Opus 9 string trios (written in the key of G major) with Bhasin and Costanza. Beethoven composed the Opus 9 trios between 1797 and 1798, publishing them in Vienna at 1799. He was 28 years old then; and, at that time, he regarded those trios as his best compositions.
The Noe Valley Ministry is located at 1021 Sanchez Street in Noe Valley near the corner of 23rd Street. The performance will take place on Sunday, May 8, at 4 p.m. There will also be a pre-concert talk, given by Scott Foglesong, which will begin at 3:15 p.m. General admission is $30 with a $20 rate for students and seniors. Admission is free for children aged twelve or less. Also, there is a discounted rate of $25 for adults if tickets are purchased online in advance at a Brown Paper Tickets event page.