Next month the San Francisco Choral Artists (SFCA) will present the second of the three imaginatively conceived concerts in its 2015–16 season. Artistic Director Magen Solomon has prepared a program entitled Prayers from the Ark: Songs of Lamentation and Jubilation. Prayers from the Ark is also the title of the major composition on the program, written by the little-known Welsh-born English composer and organist Ivor Davies. This is a cycle based on six of a collection of 27 poems by Carmen Bernos De Gastzold (translated into English by Rumer Godden), written in the midst of the Second World War during the German occupation of France. Each poem takes the form of a prayer; and the prayers collectively express multiple personal perspectives on the doubts and fears of some of the animals in Noah’s Ark, a unique and insightful perspective for anyone living in Europe during World War Two. The specific prayers set by Davies are those of a little bird, the cat, the mouse, the raven, the dove, and Noah himself.
The program will also offer six world premieres. These will be by Composer-in-Residence John Kelley (“Dort Baym Breg”), Composer-Not-in-Residence Shawn Crouch (“Invocation”), SFCA Assistant Conductor Tina Harrington (an arrangement of “Adiyo Kerida”), Michael Kaulkin (an arrangement of “Tumbalalaika”), Robin Estrada (a setting of the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes in Tagalog), and James Tecuatl-Lee (“An American Midrash”). Other composer to be included will be Felix Mendelssohn (“Jauchzet dem Herrn”), Paul Ben-Haim (“Yo m’enamori d’un aire”), Stephen Glass (an arrangement of “Eili, Eili”), Joshua Jacobson (“BeTset Y’israel”), David Nowakowsky (a setting of the “Hashkivenu” prayer), Arnold Schoenberg (“Schein uns du liebe Sonne”), Malcolm Singer (a setting of Psalm 117), and Karen Tarlow (“Tsaddik” and “Vay’chulu”). The audience will then be invited to join the performers at a reception following the concert.
The San Francisco performance of this program will take place Temple Emanu-El as part of the Music at Meyer Series. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 14. The Temple is located at 2 Lake Street, on the northwest corner of Arguello Boulevard. Tickets will be sold at the door for $33 with special rates of $29 for seniors and $15 for individuals 30 and under with valid identification. However, there is a discount for advance purchase: $28 for general admission, $25 for seniors, and $12.50 for those 30 and under. Tickets may be purchased online in advance from a Brown Paper Tickets event page.