Sunday, November 05, 2006

Volti: Baltic Traditions Now

A couple of weeks ago in SFCV, I wrote a Listening Ahead recommendation for Volti's program of music from countries bordering the Baltic Sea. I went to the first performance last night, at St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco (one of my favorite venues for both singing and listening).

In a word: stunning. There are just a few pieces on the program, by Arvo Pärt, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Pekka Kostianen, Olli Kortekangas, Veljo Tormis, and Per Nørgård. These works are all dense, chewy, and extremely beautiful, with texts from sources such as the Kalavela and from 20th century literature (Rilke, Lorca, Lawrence).

I loved the singing - what a great collection of musicians and voices, and what a performance they gave. Great music, great programming, great conducting. Composer Veljo Tormis himself was present; after his piece was performed, he hugged Robert Geary and kissed the soprano soloist's hand. It was a wonderful piece - so were they all. I would happily have heard the whole program through again.

And I might, because it's being given twice more. You should go!

Sunday, Nov. 5, 4:00 p.m., St. Mark's, Berkeley, 2300 Bancroft Way (Note: FOUR, not four-thirty; I goofed in my original posting.)

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m., Acalanes H.S., Lafayette, 1200 Pleasant Hill Road.

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