If, as reported yesterday, November will conclude with two concerts being given back-to-back at the same venue on the final Saturday, then December will begin with a rather prodigious concentration of events on the first Friday. Some hard choices will have to be made, because all of these events overlap, although two of the options will begin half an hour earlier than the other three. More interesting, however, is that not all of these events are “seasonal,” meaning that there will be “safe harbors” for secularists.
The first concert with the leading edge, so to speak, will be the second recital in the San Francisco Performances (SFP) Guitar Series, presented in conjunction with the 35th Dynamite Guitars season produced by the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts. This will be a solo recital by the Uruguayan classical guitar virtuoso Alvaro Pierri. His program will include sonatas by Joaquín Rodrigo, Manuel Ponce, and Marlos Nobre, the first (Opus 119) of six collections of arrangements of themes from the operas of Gioachino Rossini compiled by Mauro Giuliani under the title Rossiniana, and short pieces by Eduardo Sainz de la Maza and Miguel Llobet.
This recital will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 4. The venue will be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. Tickets for the concert will be $45 and $35. Tickets may be purchased from both SFP (415-392-2545) and the Omni Foundation (415-242-4500). Both organizations have also made arrangements for online purchase. For tickets to this event, the two organizations are sharing a City Box Office event page. The Omni Foundation also has its own CREATE-YOUR-OWN-SERIES option, which can be used for four or more concerts. However, these discounts are only available through their telephone number.
On the other side of O’Farrell Street, the California Bach Society will present the next concert in their 45th anniversary season. The title of the program will be Joyeux Noël!: A French Christmas, medieval to the present.” Artistic Director Paul Flight has prepared a program that extends from two thirteenth-century Noël settings by Antoine Bunois and Antoine Brumel to contemporary Canadian composer Peter Mathews’ “Dans les ombres de la nuit” (in the shadows of the night), inspired by his bicycle trips to study the cathedrals and great churches of France.
The San Francisco performance of this program will take place on Friday, December 4, beginning at 8 p.m. The venue will be the First Unitarian Universalist Church at 1187 Franklin Street, on the southwest corner of Geary Boulevard. Tickets are $33 at the door with a $24 rate for seniors and $10 for students and patrons under 30. However, tickets for general admission and seniors may also be purchased at a reduced rate in advance through the Tickets & Subscriptions Web page on the California Bach Society Web site. Advance purchase for this concert will be possible until 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 3. In addition, discounts are still available for a three-concert subscription, as well as for purchases of tickets for two concerts. These options may all be exercised all from the same Tickets & Subscriptions Web page.
At the same time the San Francisco Bach Choir will be offering the second concert in their 80th Anniversary Season. This will also be a holiday-oriented concert entitled Christmas by Candlelight; and it will also cover a broad span of music history, ranging from early motets to brand-new creations. Bach will be represented by chorale settings that he composed for the many services that take place between the beginning of Advent and the conclusion of the Feast of Epiphany. Instrumental accompaniment will be provided by members of The Whole Noyse performing on cornetti, sackbuts, and shawms.
This is the other program that will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 4. Fortunately, there will also be a second performance at 4 p.m. on the following Sunday, December 6. As usual these concerts will be held in the sanctuary of Calvary Presbyterian Church, located on the northwest corner of Fillmore Street and Jackson Street. Tickets will be available at the door for $35 (general admission), $30 (seniors aged 62 and over), and $10 (students with identification). Those up to age eighteen will be admitted at no charge. Tickets are also available for advance purchase through a Brown Paper Tickets event page. For both general admission and seniors, there is a $5 discount for advance purchase.
Meanwhile, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will celebrate the season with festive English choral music, even if the selections are not directly related to the Christmas season. The program will be divided between Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel, and the entirety of the second half will be devoted to Handel’s HWV 76 setting of John Dryden’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day. The soloists will be guest singers Sherezade Panthaki (soprano) and Isaiah Bell (tenor). This will be the first appearance in the renovated Herbst Theatre by the Philharmonia Chorale, prepared by their Director Bruce Lamott. Cecilia will also be honored by a duet from Handel’s HWV 89 cantata Cecilia, volgi un sguardo (Cecilia, turn your gaze), again with Panthaki and Bell as soloists. The primary Purcell selection is a two-part setting of both the Te Deum and Jubilate (Psalm 100) texts, set for five solo voices, which will be sung by members of the Philharmonia Chorale, soprano Angela Arnold, mezzo Heidi Waterman, countertenor Clifton Massey, tenor David Kurtenbach, and baritone Chad Runyon. This will be followed by an instrumental suite of dances taken from incidental music for Elkanah Settle’s tragedy Distressed Innocence, or the Prince of Persia.
The San Francisco performance of this concert will take place at Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street) at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 4. Ticket prices are $25, $49, $71, $92, and $105. There is an event page for this concert on the Philharmonia Baroque Web site, as well as a Web page for purchasing tickets from City Box Office. City Box Office may also be reached by telephone at 415-392-4400.
Finally, for those on a tight budget, San Francisco State University will host the next free concert in the Morrison Artists Series of the College of Liberal and Creative Arts. The featured ensemble will be the Telegraph Quartet, consisting of violinists Eric Chin and Joseph Maile, who alternative as leaders, violist Pei-Ling Lin, and cellist Jeremiah Shaw. Their program will revisit two of the selections performed at the beginning of this month for Noe Valley Chamber Music, Joseph Haydn’s Hoboken III/32 quartet in C major and Erwin Schulhoff’s 1923 collection of five pieces, each based on a different dance form. The program will conclude with George Rochberg’s third quartet, which he composed in 1972.
The performance will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 4. As always, this concert will be held in the McKenna Theatre in the Creative Arts Building. The entrance to the campus is on the northwest corner of 19th Avenue and Holloway Street. There will also be a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. Tickets are free; but, because of demand, reservations are highly recommended. Reservations may be made online through a Vendini event page with a two-ticket limit for each reservation. The musicians will also conduct a two-hour master class in the Knuth Recital Hall (also in the Creative Arts Building) earlier the same day, beginning at 2:10 p.m.