Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Composer-in-Residence Search, Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia and its partners Gotham Chamber Opera and the Music-Theater Group are looking for a composer in residence, funded by a Mellon Foundation Grant. Applications are being accepted through July 18, 2013. The position includes a salary and benefits.

There's a web page about the CIR post, and it links to the application. Some important information (like the eligibility requirements!) appears to be in the press release only, so read both.

You Win Some, You Lose Some 2

Especially at the Supreme Court:

  • Shameful 5-4 ruling overturning portions of the Voting Rights Act. Why, yes, majority, we still do need those sections. I would be happy to see pre-approval for every damn jurisdiction, considering the effects on minority turnout of voter ID laws and so on. 
  • DOMA overturned (U.S. v. Windsor), 5-4, with Kennedy in the majority, on equal protection grounds. The breakdown is as I expected, but I am pleasantly surprised about the grounds for the ruling. I am sure Scalia's dissent is amusing.
  • CA Proposition 8 proponents did not have standing to appeal Vaughn Walker's decision overturning Prop. 8. This is also 5-4, but the breakdown is something weird: Roberts, Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan in the majority, Kennedy, Sotomayor, Alito, and Thomas in the minority. Buh? Must read.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Selective Quotation

Okay, the reviews for The Gospel of Mary Magdalene were not exactly rapturous; even the most positive had reservations. Pity the poor marketing department at San Francisco Opera, which does its best to sell tickets regardless. They managed to put together marketing email that makes Mary Magdalene sound quite a bit better than it is. Here's what I can copy & paste:

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
"The densely rhapsodic new opera by composer and librettist Mark Adamo, that had its world premiere at the San Francisco Opera on Wednesday night, burns with the fervor of an artist championing a cause."
"From scene to scene and moment to moment, The Gospel sweeps the listener along on a stream of evocative music. Adamo has the ingenious knack for creating memorable themes whose recurrences serve as signposts for the drama, and his vocal writing is both urgent and shapely."
"In a performance of dazzling vocal majesty and theatrical clarity...the extraordinary mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke made a triumphant company debut in the title role... her singing was throaty, eloquent, and shimmeringly rich; the saintly nimbus that Renaissance painters suggested using gold paint attaches naturally to Cooke's voice."

Sasha Cooke and Nathan Gunn
Box Office
(415) 864-3330
Mon 10am–5pm
Tue–Sat 10am–6pm
Group Sales
Bring a group and enjoy exclusive savings and benefits! For groups of 10 or more call(415) 621-4403.

Nathan Gunn
More praise for The Gospel of Mary Magdalene:
"Nathan Gunn sings with robust sound and…aching subtlety. You admire his daring in portraying Jesus in an opera."
  –The New York Times
"In addition to making a handsome Yeshua, Gunn provided a non-tableaux-like figure, moving easily on stage, genuine and always human.He sang with a warm and flexible baritone and provided the finest vocal moments of the evening." –The Classical Review
"Sasha Cooke's Mary is a modern feminine ideal, opulently sensuous, insistently sensible, deeply feeling and demandingly honest." –The Los Angeles Times

"William Burden was a superb Peter—ardent, implacable and wrenching in his final moments of regret."  –San Francisco Chronicle
William Burden gives Peter "a profound electricity."
  –The Los Angeles Times
Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke "has a voice like a full moon; it beautifies and illuminates, giving the listener something special to contemplate." –San Jose Mercury News

William Burden

Maria Kanyova

To a certain extent, you can judge for yourself without buying a ticket: the libretto is on line (kudos to composer and company for doing this) and so are lots of musical excerpts. (The trailer gives a truthful flavor of the music.)

Donato Cabrera Appointed Music Director of California Symphony

The California Symphony has been without a music director since founder and longtime MD Barry Jekowsky was ousted several years back. Now Donato Cabrera has been appointed Music Director. Cabrera has worked at both SFO and SFS, and he's currently resident conductor and conductor of the SFS Youth Symphony at the latter.

Congratulations to Donato Cabrera!

Here's California Symphony schedule for 2013-14, about half classical, half pops:

California Symphony Orchestra 2013-2014 Season Calendar

Cabrera Conducts Mozart and Dvorak
September 29, 2013 

Adams – Chairman Dances 
Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466
          Kuok-Wai Lio, piano (Winner of the 2013 Avery Fisher Award)
Dvorak – Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World, Op. 95

Tomasz Golka Conducts Elgar and Strauss
January 19, 2014 

Shafer Mahoney – Triple Point
Richard Strauss - Horn Concerto No. 1, Op. 11
          Robert Ward, horn
Bach/Golka - Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
Elgar – Enigma Variations 

Cabrera Conducts Mendelssohn and Strauss
March 2, 2014

Mark Grey - ‘Leviathan’ Overture for Orchestra
R. Strauss – Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration)
Wagner - Flying Dutchman Overture
Mendelssohn – Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
          Kenneth Renshaw, violin

Cabrera Conducts Rachmaninov and Rimsky-Korsakov
May 4, 2014
D.J. Sparr – World Premiere
Rachmaninov – Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini
          Ilya Yakushev, piano
Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade

Pops I: CALIFORNIA! From the Golden Gate to the Silver Screen
Target Pops on the Plaza
Todos Santos Plaza, Concord, CA
August 29, 2013
Donato Cabrera, conductor

October 17, 2013
Sean O'Loughlin, pops conductor

Cabrera Conducts Holiday Favorites
December 23, 2013
Donato Cabrera, conductor
Pacific Boychoir
Kevin Fox, conductor

February 11, 2014
Donato Cabrera, conductor

Looks like an all-guy season, unless D.J. Sparr is a girl.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

You Win Some, You Lose Some.

Jamie Barton won the Cardiff Singer of the World contest this weekend. The name rang a bell; I was sure she had been announced for something in the Bay Area during 2013-14.

Sure enough, a search of my email showed her as the mezzo soloist in SF Opera's celebratory Verdi Requiem....but the SFO web site shows Margaret Mezzacappa singing that performance on October 25....and Barton's own web site shows her singing Adalgisa at the Met on October 24 and 28.

Pretty easy to guess at what happened here: Barton was originally covering the Adalgisas, so she signed on for the Requiem, then was assigned two of the Met performances and asked to be released from the Verdi. (Can't say that I blame her.) I have asked SFO for any comments they might have.

If you have not heard her, you ought to check the clips at Barton's site, because she has a spectacular voice and she knows how to sing. I hope we get her in a future season.

And Here I Thought My Review Was Negative.

Over at Chicago Classical Review, Lawrence Johnson tells us exactly what he thinks of The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene:
As Jesus and Mary stopped their bickering and got married, and the interminable first act of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene limped toward its close in Wednesday’s world premiere at San Francisco Opera, crucifixion didn’t seem so bad a fate after all, at least for those seated in the audience. Anything to escape this hellish, three-hour show. 
The opera world has seen some genuine turkeys over the years, but not since Anthony Davis’s Amistad, have I experienced such a hopeless operatic stink bomb as Adamo’s new work. Didactic, tedious, endlessly talky and mired in a numbing political correctness, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is a disaster of biblical proportions.
Just goes to show, I should have left my initial description of the libretto ("hopelessly muddled and overly talky") intact. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Stravinsky at SFS

Rehearsal of Les Noces on the roof of the Theatre de Monte-Carlo, 1923
LoC photo

Busy week here, so I only made it to the second of the pair of Stravinsky programs at SFS. The first had Sacre, Agon, and Gil Shaham playing the violin concerto; the second had the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble in traditional songs and Les Noces, plus Sacre.

I'm sure Shaham was terrific, and I would have loved to hear that. However, Les Noces is about my favorite Stravinsky, undoubtedly owing to the formative experience of having turned pages for first pianist Tony Spiri in performances at Brandeis way back when. Slosberg Music Center's recital hall is tiny, seating about 200 maybe 400 or 450 people. Let me tell you, Les Noces, with a 60-voice chorus, four pianos, and whatever number of percussionists, is one noisy piece under any circumstances, but sitting right in the middle of it in a small hall? Wow.

I heard it enough times in rehearsal and performance to fall completely in love, and somewhere I still have a much-listened-to tape of one of those performances. (I was elsewhere on the program, singing the Debussy Trois Chansons de Charles d'Orleans with the Early Music Ensemble Chorus.) I saw Les Noces back in the 1999 Stravinsky Festival, on a program with Renard and, yes, Sacre.

The reason you don't hear Les Noces much is that it is difficult, and most choruses just can't schedule enough rehearsal time to work it over thoroughly. If you've got singers dedicated enough to learn the music at home, great; most amateur choruses don't. The Brandeis Chorus had a pair of two-hour rehearsals each week in the 1970s, if I'm remembering this correctly, and that was enough time for a good college chorus to learn the piece.

Last night's performance was absolutely fabulous, and one of a kind. The Pokrovsky Ensemble, with a dozen or 15 singers, hails from Russia, and sounds it, with that forward, nasal production and those Slavic vowels. The group has an enormous repertory of traditional songs, and they opened the program with a set of wedding-related music. Holy moly! Fantastic stuff, marvelously sung, in traditional peasant costumes with a lot of movement and acting.

I was skeptical about how well Les Noces would work in a big hall with a very small ensemble of singers. SFS chose to use some amplification, which was initially very bad, the voices out of balance with each other and one really blaring. Yes, they were using body mikes. Somebody adjusted that really fast. The pianos sounded a little recessed, which made me wonder whether MTT was deliberately keeping them down in volume.

The singers taking solo parts were somewhat variable; the soprano who took the very first sure had STYLE, but she was tough to hear even with the microphone. (Didn't they try this out in rehearsal?)

But whatever. They sang the piece from memory and with enormous musical fluency and verbal ease; with the men and women on opposite sides of the stage, you could see how much of Les Noces is a conversation, and sometimes a competition, between them. They moved in and out of formation, they moved in time to the music, and all in all, it was just wonderful. The energy, the joy, the way they embodied the primitive spirit of the piece: I've never heard anything like it.

As for Sacre, well, I think the best of the live performances of it that I have heard at SFS was the first, back in 1999. I was fairly close to the stage and the performance overwhelmed me, but it was, I think, also the first time I'd ever heard it live. (You have not heard Sacre until you've heard it live.) Last night was good enough, though I was surprised by the number of sloppy wind entries and flubs, and also by the violinist who entered a beat early in "Augurs of Spring." Still, there was plenty to write home about: beautiful alto flute playing Robin McKee (whom I did not recognize!) and fabulous Eb clarinet work from Luis Baez. The brass and percussion killed! I just wish I'd been closer than Row T.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, San Francisco

My review is up at SFCV. The lede has the short version:
A fine quartet of leading singers and excellent musical leadership could not overcome a muddled and wordy libretto, inept staging, and a splashy, but ultimately unmemorable, score.
More later when I have time.

And for Crying Out Loud!

Put concert running times on your web site! It's just not that hard to do!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Auditions at San Francisco Symphony

SFS has an audition page wherein they list upcoming auditions and sometimes the repertory required for the auditons. I checked it out today in connection with CK Dexter Haven's mention of goings-on in the percussion section, and I found the following:

Principal Second Violin (November, 2013)
Associate Principal Trumpet (Winter, 2014)
Principal Oboe (February, 2014)

Principal second violin, eh? That's a chair currently held by Dan Nobuhiko Smiley.

Justin Emerich has been Acting Associate Principal Trumpet since Glenn Fischthall's retirement. I cannot remember whether there has already been one round of auditions for replacing Fischthall.

We've got a scheduled Principal Oboe audition, but not Associate Principal, but there hasn't been an announcement yet about whether Jonathan Fischer is staying in SF or going to Houston permanently.

What a Difference a Letter Makes

After last night's Mary Magdalene premier, I am even more curious to hear the Adams take on the same source material.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Seattle Opera Names Aidan Lang to Succeed Speight Jenkins

Breaking news: Seattle Opera has named Aidan Lang to succeed Speight Jenkins upon the latter's retirement next year.

Jenkins is a legend in the opera biz, after 30 years of leading the company, where he has successfully produced several Ring cycles and launched any number of important careers, as well as overseeing the complete renovation of the opera house. He announced a couple of years back that he would be retiring, and the company started the search for the next general director. (Planning is a good thing. Yes, I'm looking at you, Met Opera.)

Lang comes with a deep operatic background: he is a director who has worked at Glyndebourne and the Welsh National Opera; he was the artistic director of the Buxton Festival, and he is currently General Director of the New Zealand Opera. He directed the first Ring production at the tiny Teatro Amazonas in Manaus.

Seattle Opera will present some challenges; the company has had financial difficulties and has cut back on productions. Given the renaissance at the Seattle Symphony, perhaps Lang can spark a comeback at the Opera. Welcome!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Garden of Memory

It's that time of year, that is, we're closing in on the summer solstice. The days are long and hot, and you can hear hours of new, recent, and experimental music at Oakland's Chapel of the Chimes this Friday. There's a long list of participating composers and performers at the Garden of Memory web site.

Garden of Memory
Friday, June 21, 2013
5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Chapel of the Chimes
4499 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA

Tickets are $15 general admission / $10 students & seniors / $5 under 12. You can buy them at the door (cash or check only) or in advance at Brown Paper Tickets.

Web Site Basics Redux: SFS, I'm Looking at You.

Compose-Your-Own went on sale at San Francisco Symphony today, meaning that as soon as single tickets go on sale, I can go through the frustration of:

  1. Ordering tickets to three programs, which SFS will assign to me.
  2. Waiting overnight.
  3. Now that I'm an official subscriber, ordering single tickets and getting to choose the exact locations.
This could be fixed, though SFS hasn't done it yet. It shouldn't even be that hard.

But that's not what this is about.

The layout for Compose-Your-Own's web page is good; it's a single page listing all programs and dates. However, without clicking through to the individual concerts, all you can tell about the programming is what a copywriter wants you to know. "Dutoit conducts Faure's Requiem," for example. You can't tell that Symphony of Psalms (Stravinsky) and the rarely-heard Litanies of the Black Virgin (Poulenc) are also on the program.

You can't tell, and you're not always told, who the soloists are for a given program. For instance, if you click "Britten: Bychkov conducts War Requiem," you're told there's a "marvelous cast of soloists," but not their identities!

I happen to know that one of them must be Christine Brewer, because I recognize the photographic icon of her, but does everybody?

Folks, this is pure Web Site Stupidity 101. Alex Ross and I have complained about this kind of crap for several years now. Please make it as easy as possible for patrons to see full information about your concerts. Don't make people click through, and don't omit important concert information! I mean, you do want people to buy tickets, right?

James Levine Birthday Celebration

The Met Opera radio channel on Sirius XM (channel 74) will have a special marathon this weekend in honor of James Levine's 70th birthday. Program is after the cut. Of special interest are the rarely-heard Ghosts of Versailles at noon Saturday and Idomeneo at noon on Sunday, as well as the Vespri that follows Idomeneo. It's a shame they can't get it together for Moses und Aron or Wozzeck, and it is bizarre that no Wagner is among the operas being broadcast.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Starting Times

Okay, for once, I'm going to have to agree with Patrick about starting times.

I am usually fine with a 8 p.m. start. I see from the Tales of Hoffman page at San Francisco Opera's web site that most weekday performances of Hoffman are starting at 7:30, but not the Friday night. People, by Friday, many of us are a little tired from our day jobs. In the mid-90s, when I didn't have a commute to speak of and I was 18 years younger, 8 p.m. on a Friday wasn't a problem. Now that I'm up around 6 a.m. and have a long, long commute, well, let's just say that I understand why the Friday audience is a little more subdued than the Sunday audience.

I really wish the show had started at 7:30. As it was, even with very short intermissions, Hoffman finished at 11:30 and it was 12:40 by the time I got home. You'd think it was a Wagner opera.

I also was not feeling great, having had a little too much cheese at a party at work and not having gotten enough sleep during the week. Before the opera, trying to figure out where to have dinner, I actually avoided a possible encounter with someone I know; under other circumstances, I would have been happy to say hi and chat with him. I seriously considered skipping the opera altogether, and was sufficiently jammed in during the first act that I thought about leaving even though I liked what I was seeing and hearing.

Okay, obviously only part of the problem was the 8 p.m. start time. That'll teach me to overindulge at TGIF.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Glass, Cello Concerto No. 2

I've got a review up at SFCV of Philip Glass's Cello Concerto No. 2, Naqoyqatsi, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, played by Matt Haimovits, whom, oddly, I mention for the first rather far down in the review.

Long story short, the concerto is an interesting mix of same-old, same-old and new & novel. Let me put it this way: After the last time I listened to it, the chaser / palate cleanser was the incomparable Nixon in China.

If you like Glass, you'll like this piece. But if you're thinking of buying it and you don't have Songs & Poems for Solo Cello already, get the solo recording, with the wonderful Wendy Sutter, first. It's the better piece.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Double Concertos

Despite my lack of postings, believe it or not, I've been to a few concerts lately, all at SFS. Herewith some brief comments, as the first was nearly a month ago.

Janowski/Schumann, Brahms, with Arabella Steinbacher (violin) and Alban Gerhardt (cello)

This was my first time hearing all Marek Janowski live, and the first time I'd heard either Steinbacher or Gerhardt. Janowski's Ring cycle is one I recommend to people a lot, for its excellent singing (except for Theo Adam...sigh), the great sonics, excellent orchestra, and the straightforward, sometimes inspired conducting. And also the fact that when it has been in print, it's a tremendous bargain - I think I saw it for around $40 somewhere this week. Anyway, I have a high opinion of it and have mostly read very good things about Janowski in the central Central European repertory, which a program of Brahms and Schumann...well, you see.

The opening Manfred Overture was fine, the Brahms Double Concerto, for violin and cello, magnificent. I haven't got much in the way of reference points for this piece, to the point that I have no idea when I last heard it or who was playing, but everything about the performance, from Janowski's handling of the orchestra to the playing of the soloists, separately and together, was just right. You could not ask for anything more.

The closing Rhenish Symphony was another case. By comparison, it sounded a little untidy - I heard the orchestra in its first performance of the program, at a donor event - and, weirdly, it was both faster than I prefer and somehow ponderous anyway. Speed and lightness of touch are not the same thing; the orchestra sounded a little clotted and the most graceful bits of the piece were heavy. I realize that to some extent I probably still have David Hoose's interpretation in my head from when I played flute in this during college; moreover, my favorite recording is Gardiner's, with the ORR. (If you've never heard his Schumann set, run out and buy it right away. Srsly.) So take that into consideration.

Robertson/Carter, Ravel, Gershwin, Ravel, with Marc-Andre Hamelin

This program, by contrast, was a winner all around, a big thrill. I caught it the last day it was playing, I think, or I would have gone back for seconds. The Carter Variations for Orchestra is a terrific piece, quite beautiful, and for Carter, comparatively easy to follow. I wish we didn't have to depend on visiting orchestras and conductors to get a dose of orchestral Carter, but you really cannot do better than David Robertson. 

The meat of the program was the great Marc-Andre Hamelin playing the Ravel Concerto for the Left Hand and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. As Joshua Kosman said in the Chron, the only thing better than Marc-Andre Hamelin playing one piano concerto is Marc-Andre Hamelin playing two. As you might guess, he wiped the floor with both pieces, which you can do when you have about 25% more physical technique than anyone else in the world and you're a tremendous musician. After hearing him in several programs at Ojai North last year, I started telling people he was my new favorite living pianist. (Sorry, Martha and Stephen!) It was a lot of fun to hear the two concertos in close proximity, given that the composers were acquainted, and quite a feat on Hamelin's part. 

The closing La Valse was appropriately hot, crazed, and just a little bit scary.

I need to note that the timpanist for the performance was Michael Israelievitch, and he was fabulous, especially in the prominent solo part in the Carter.

Karabits/Honneger, Britten, Sibelius, with Alexander Barantschik, violin and Jonathan Vinocour, viola

It's just plain weird to have heard Honneger's chugging Pacific 231 twice within about 18 months. Last time around was with the CSO, under Muti, but I don't remember that much about it. It sure is fun, though, and was played this time by the SFS under debuting returning conductor Kiril Karabits. It was followed by a gorgeous account of the Britten double concerto for violin and viola, with concertmaster Barantschik and principal violist Vinocour playing the heck out of it. I gather this is a posthumous reconstruction from sketches, but I can't give you details, as I haven't read the program notes yet. (Long story short: can't read with my new contact lenses, not until I get the reading glasses that will go over them.) Anyway, a beautiful piece, played with poise and involvement by all.

The Sibelius was fine, but man, it is an odd piece in some ways: irregular phrasing, off-balance pacing. I sort of checked out somewhere during the finale, or lost focus, or something. Elsewhere on the Internet, a friend of mine thought it was too Tchaikowskian; I have no opinion on this.

My last SFS program of the year is likely to be next week's Les Noces/Sacre du Printemps noisefest. The last time MTT did this combo, maybe ten years back, it was fabulous. I bet this will be too.

UPDATE: Whoops, Karabits made his debut a couple of years back. And thanks to SF Mike for mentioning that the 6/21 program is at 6:30, or I would have been in big trouble.

Iain Banks

If you follow the science fiction world, you already know that Scottish author Iain [M] Banks died Sunday morning at 59, just a couple of months after announcing that he was "officially very poorly" with gall bladder cancer that had taken over his abdomen.

The NY Times hasn't run an obituary yet, which has me scratching my head; Banks not only wasn't an obscure writer, he had a long and successful string of mainstream novels behind him. I was interested to read elsewhere, in fact, that sales of the mainstream novels subsidized the s.f. novels. I had assumed the other way, but no.

Banks was a great stylist and had an immense imagination. The first book of his that I read, Consider Phlebas, was also the first book of his long-running series of novels about a culture called, well, the Culture. This was some 20 years ago, and I became a fan, picking up the Culture novels, and some of the others, as they came out in paperback.

The Culture novels are really quite fabulous, a set of intertwined books about a far-future utopian society. If your world or race joins the Culture, you can have a perfect life, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of conflict with non-Culture civilizations, and even conflict within the Culture. I cannot recommend them highly enough - and read them in order, for crying out loud.

I've been waiting on the paperback of The Hydrogen Sonata, his last Culture novel, which was published last fall, and now I feel like I should hold off reading for a few years, or decades, because there won't be any more Culture novels. (I have not yet read Blue at the Mizzen, for example.) There's other Banks s.f. I haven't read (and I was surprised to remember that The Algebraist, a terrific book, isn't a Culture novel, but it feels like one) and almost all of those mainstream novels, so I won't be lacking in Banks. But damn. Too soon, too young.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Augurs of Spring" Mashup

This is cool. Looks like the recordings are all from the big Decca box of Sacre performances:

There's a video out there of Leonard Bernstein and Michael Tilson Thomas playing the four-hands (or two piano) arrangement; I've been reminded this week that when Stravinsky first played that arrangement around a century ago, his partner was Claude Debussy.

Government Surveillance

Back in 2008, candidate Barack Obama said he was troubled by and opposed to the extent of government surveillance under then-President Bush. Now in his second term, President Obama has kept and perhaps expanded that surveillance, as well as programs such as overseas targeted drone assassination. I am completely appalled by the extent of the spying, on Americans and others.

Here's some of what has emerged in the last week.
My suggestion: start with Schneier.

UPDATED with letter from Drummond to US officials.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cal Bach Summer Workshop

Received from the California Bach Society:
Paul Flight, Artistic Director of the California Bach Society, continues his survey of choruses from the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach. Join members of the California Bach Society and Dr. Flight in exploring choruses from  Cantata 105, Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht; Cantata 198Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl; Cantata 11Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen; and Cantata 23Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn.  Dr. Flight will have the assistance of the CBS rehearsal accompanist, Gwen Adams. 
The fee for the workshop is $50, which includes music and lunch.  Please register no later than August 10.  Register online at or print the attached flyer, fill out the application, and mail it with a check to California Bach Society, PO Box 1526, Palo Alto, CA 94302-1526.  
I attended one of these workshops a few years ago, and it was great fun!

Formosa Singers in Palo Alto

The Formosa Singers will be visiting from Taiwan, and their visit includes a concert in Palo Alto. Here are the details (h/t SY); the concert is about a month out and during a period when not that much is going on. (Hmm, nothing about the cost of the concert.)

Who: Formosa Singers
When: 7:00pm July 14, 2013 (Sunday)
Where: First United Methodist Church, located at 625 Hamilton Avenue in Palo Alto, CA
Artistic Director and Conductor: Julian Ching-Chun Su

You are cordially invited to the Formosa Singers concert on July 14 (Sunday) at 7:00 PM, at the First United Methodist Church, located at 625 Hamilton Avenue in Palo Alto.
The repertoire will include western sacred songs, folk songs from Japan, the Philippines, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as a series of folk songs in Taiwan’s aboriginal language, Taiwanese, Hakka, and mandarin.
Please join us for this summer evening, and enjoy the choral music of pristine quality presented by this wonderful choir from Taiwan, the Formosa.
More information about the Formosa Singers:
The Formosa Singers has established itself as one of the premier choral ensembles of Taiwan. Founded in 1994 by Artistic Director and Conductor, Julian Ching-Chun Su, one of the most vigorously active and influential choir conductors in Taiwan, the Formosa Singers is dedicated to the promotion of choral music of pristine quality and to refine the art of choral music in Taiwan. Over the last nineteen years, the Formosa Singers has created a level of music excellence that has been recognized throughout Taiwan and abroad.  The Formosa Singers' dedication in preserving the spirit of Taiwanese folk songs has created a new sound and life for this rich treasury of vocal music. The Formosa Singers has released over a dozen CD recordings, several of which have been nominated and received the Golden Melody Award (the Taiwan equivalent of the Grammy Awards). Since 2000, the Formosa Singers has been invited to perform at numerous artistic festivals and choral competitions worldwide, including appearances in North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

San Francisco Choral Artists: Upcoming

UPDATED with final program, Jun 6.

Interesting-looking mostly new music program from SFCA, with Veretski Pass:

Veretski Pass                                        Forshpil (Prelude)*
Phocion Henley                                   O God, whose former mercies make
Randall Thompson                             Say ye to the righteous
Joshua Horowitz                                  Kalliop (Calliope)*
                                                              Viglid (Lullaby)*
                                                              Hutzulka (Hutzul Song)*
Alice Parker, arr.                                 Durme, durme
Mark Winges                                          scherzo diabolique*
Henry Aldrich                                     Out of the deep
Felix Mendelssohn                            Aus tiefer Not
Paul Ben-Haim                                    Yo M’enamori d’un Aire (I fell in love with a breeze)
Sylke Zimpel, arr.                                Schpilsche mir a Tango (Play me a Tango)
Salamone Rossi                                   Al naharot (By the Rivers of Babylon)
Randall Thompson                             The paper reeds by the brook
Veretski Pass                                        Twirling Dances
Joshua Horowitz                                  Malokhim (Angels)*
Veretski Pass                                       Molkovanka (Moldovan Song)
Joshua Horowitz                                  Kloles (Curses)*
                                                               Zyg (Victory)*
Eleanor Aversa                                     Knock on Wood*
Veretski Pass                                        Yesoymetants (Orphan’s Dance)
Tina Harrington, arr.                         Quando el Rey Nimrod (When King Nimrod)*
Veretski Pass                                       Veretski Pass Dance Set
* = world premiere

Saturday June 15, 2013
7.30 pm: pre-concert talk with composers Eleanor Aversa and Mark Winges
8.00 pm: concert
St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, 500 De Haro Street, San Francisco 94107
Sunday June 16, 2013
3.30 pm: pre-concert talk with Composer-Not-in-Residence Eleanor Aversa and Veretski Pass
4.00 pm: concert
Congregation Beth Jacob, 1550 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City 94061
Sunday June 23, 2013
3.30 pm: pre-concert talk with Composer-in-Residence Mark Winges and Veretski Pass
4.00 pm: concert
Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit Street, Oakland 94609
TICKETS: $30 at the door; discounts for advance purchase, seniors, and students.

Monday, June 03, 2013

SCOTUS Shocker: Scalia on the Right Side, For Once

Unfortunately, it's the losing side of the 5-4 decision declaring DNA sampling at arrest time to be constitutional.

But WTF happened with Breyer?

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Where's Runnicles?

There's Runnicles: in China conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra on their tour. Read all about it on the orchestra's blog.

West Edge Opera's Salons at the Garden Gate

The ever-imaginative West Edge Opera now has a recital series, Salons at the Garden Gate. The venue is new to me, the Garden Gate Creativity Center, described as "a charming new recital and performance space in the shadow of the Claremont Hotel." The address is 2911 Claremont Avenue, Berkeley.

First up is soprano Christine Brandes, tomorrow, June 2, at 3 p.m., with a program of Haydn, Handel, Hahn, and Strauss. Laura Dahl is on piano and mezzo Ana Miranda is special guest.

Laura Bohn sings an all-Britten program on July 14 (3 p.m.) and Buffy Baggott performs on August 11, also at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $35 for a single recital or $94.50 for the three-concert series.