This past March the Music at Meyer series at Temple Emanu-El presented a concert by the Mirror Visions Ensemble (MVE), a chamber vocal trio of soprano Vira Slywotzky, tenor Scott Murphree, and baritone Jesse Blumberg. The name of the group comes from the vocalists’ interest in exploring multiple settings of the same text, particularly when the text is a poem, by one or more composers. To this end the group has commissioned over 80 works from 24 composers.
The program that MVE prepared for Music at Meyer was entitled Journeys. Taken as a whole, it was a series of selections, five of which were results of commissions, through which the trio explored land, sea, and air travel to far-flung destinations, both real and imaginary, in lighthearted and humorous ways. Tomorrow evening MVE will return to San Francisco with a new incarnation of Journeys. Four of the commissioned works will be repeated. These will include Tom Cipullo’s “Nightmare at the Windermere Hotel,” the second of two songs in the cycle A Letter from Chicago, whose text is a letter written by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Scott Wheeler’s Letters to Isabella, a collection of three songs each based on the text of a letter written to Isabella Stewart Gardner by Henry James, Paul Bourget, and Kazuko Okakura, respectively, Gilda Lyons’ “Great Barrier Reef,” from her set A List of Wonders, and Deborah Fischer Teason’s “The Bells at Saint-Aignan.” A commissioned work not previously performed in San Francisco will be William Ryden’s setting of Edward Lear’s poem “The Owl and the Pussycat.”
Once again, the program will cover a wide diversity of other composers, as well as an arrangement of the folk song “He’s Gone Away.” Many of the selections are likely to be familiar, such as Henri Duparc’s setting of Charles Baudelaire’s “L’invitation au voyage,” Hugo Wolf’s setting of Eduard Mörike’s “Auf einer Wanderung” (on a foot journey), and Samuel Barber’s “Solitary Hotel,” using a poem by James Joyce. Songs less likely to be familiar include Cole Porter’s “Tale of the Oyster,” from his musical Fifty Million Frenchmen, Joseph Haydn’s “The Mermaid’s Song,” setting a poem by Anne Hunter, and Felice Blangini’s setting of Pietro Metastasio’s “Per valli, per boschi” (through valleys and forests).
This second performance of Journeys by MVE will take place at 405 Shrader, the performance space whose name is its address, as part of the series of events it calls “Aperitif Concerts for the Neighborhood.” Like all events in this series, the performance will begin at 7 p.m. (the aperitif hour), taking place tomorrow evening, Friday, October 9. The venue is located at the corner of Shrader Street and Oak Street. Seating is extremely limited for these offerings. As a result, reservations are required following instructions on the 405 Shrader Web site. There is no charge, but donations are encouraged to show appreciation to the artists. A minimum donation of $10 per person is suggested.