At the beginning of next month, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE) continues its 2015–2016 season with a program entitled Broken Consorts. In English Baroque terminology, a “broken” consort consisted of instruments from more than one family (such as strings and winds), as opposed to a “whole” consort (such as an ensemble of viols). Note that the term “consort” applies only to instruments.
The LCCE program will extrapolate on the original terminology. Not only will the selections feature the contrasting sonorities of different instruments; but also the ensemble will add a vocalist, baritone Daniel Cilli, to the mix. There will also be a guest appearance by percussionist Loren Mach, whose instruments never figured in a seventeenth-century consort.
The program will feature the work of composer Richard Chowenhill, who is also a guitarist. Somewhat in the spirit of Ottorino Respighi, Chowenhill has created arrangements of “ancient airs” for contemporary instruments. However, while Respighi wrote for the resources of a chamber orchestra, Chowenhill has confined the instrumentation for his settings to oboe, cello, and guitar; and he has included a baritone vocalist in the mix, thus giving as much attention to the words as to the music. The program will also include the world premiere of a new “companion piece” scored for the duo of English horn and double bass. This will be performed by Andrea Plesnarski and Michel Taddei, respectively. The program will also feature the twentieth-century composers Luciano Berio (the seventh in his “Sequenza” series, composed for oboe and a drone of the pitch B that sounds for the duration of the piece) and George Crumb (“Ghosts of Alhambra,” scored for baritone, guitar, and percussion). The other unlikely combination of instruments will be found in a duo for cello and bass by Gioachino Rossini.
The San Francisco performance of Broken Consorts will take place at 8 p.m. on Monday, December 7. The venue will be the Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion, located at 66 Page Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station. Single tickets will be on sale at the door at $35 for general admission and half price for those under the age of 35. However, there is a discount ($5 for general admission, $2.50 for those under 35) for tickets purchased online through a Vendini event page. Through this Web page subscribers may also purchase extra tickets at $10 apiece, but verification of subscriber status will be required at the box office. Those wishing further information may call 415-617-5223 (LCCE).