Our 2018-2019 Season

Oct 19–21, 2018

J.S. BACH  Cantata 198 & Missa Brevis in A Major

Nov 30–Dec 2, 2018

BUON NATALE  Five centuries of Italian Christmas music

Mar 1–3, 2019

RACHMANINOFF  The All-Night Vigil 

Apr 26–28, 2019

I MAESTRI ITALIANI A VIENNA  Valentini and Bertali

Subscribe to our new season and save!  Subscribe to all four concerts and receive reserved seating at the front of the house and discounted ticket pricing.

 

Oct 19–21

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J.S. Bach

Cantata 198 & Missa Brevis in A Major

Friday, October 19, 2018, 8pm
    St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Saturday, October 20, 2018, 8pm
    All Saints' Episcopal Church, Palo Alto
Sunday, October 21, 2018, 4pm
    * First Congregational Church, Berkeley *

We open our 48th season with works by our namesake, Johann Sebastian Bach, continuing our exploration of his Lutheran masses.  Composed in 1738, the Missa Brevis in A Major is a lovely work, scored for soloists, flutes, strings, continuo, and chorus, in which Bach draws upon movements from the Leipzig cantatas he was most proud of.  Bach wrote the exquisite cantata Lass, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl, BWV 198, in 1727 for the funeral of the beloved Queen Christiane Eberhardine of Saxony and Poland. The royally lavish orchestration for flutes, oboes d'amore, strings, lutes, and violas da gamba recalls the music of the French courts.

 

Nov 30–Dec 2

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Buon Natale

Five centuries of Italian Christmas music

Friday, November 30, 2018, 8pm
    St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Saturday, December 1, 2018, 8pm
    All Saints' Episcopal Church, Palo Alto
Sunday, December 2, 2018, 4pm
    St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Berkeley

Our holiday destination this season is Italy. We present a program of Italian music written for Advent and Christmas spanning five centuries.  From the Renaissance and Baroque eras we will perform traditional canzoni natalizie alongside sacred pieces by Giovanni Croce, Claudio Merulo, and Allesandro Scarlatti.  From the later centuries we present Verdi’s richly chromatic Laudi alla Vergine Maria and Respighi’s beautiful pastoral Lauda per la Nativitá del Signore.

Artistic Director Paul Flight leads the award-winning California Bach Society in Italian music for Advent and Christmas: traditional holiday carols and glorious double chorus motets by Giovanni Croce, and Alessandro Scarlatti, plus Verdi’s Laudi alla Vergine Maria and Respighi’s stunning Lauda per la Nativitá del Signore.  

The 25-voice chorus is joined by soprano Caroline Jou Armitage, mezzo soprano Mindy Ella Chu, and tenor Mark Bonney.

Read more about the program in our latest blog post: https://www.calbach.org/blog/

 

Mar 1–3

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Rachmaninoff

The All-Night Vigil

Friday, March 1, 2019, 8pm
    St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Saturday, March 2, 2019, 8pm — free pre-concert lecture at 7:15
    All Saints' Episcopal Church, Palo Alto
Sunday, March 3, 2019, 4pm
    St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Berkeley

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s monumental All-Night Vigil has been described as “the last great crowning achievement of Russian Orthodox choral music, a masterpiece from a composer at the peak of his creative powers.”  Often called the “Rachmaninoff Vespers,” nine of the Vigil's fifteen movements are based on Orthodox chant.  

Paul Flight leads a chorus of 35 singers with soloists Gabriela Estefanie Solis (mezzo-soprano) and Mark Bonney (tenor). For this program, we are delighted to welcome Glenn Miller and Eric Alatorre, two of North America’s finest basso profundos.

On Saturday, March 2, we present a free pre-concert lecture at 7:15 by Paul Andrews,  co-founder and first musical director of the Bay Area's Slavyanka Chorus.  Doors for the lecture open at 7:15.

Read more about the Vigil in our latest blog post.

 

Apr 26–28

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I Maestri Italiani a Vienna

Giovanni Valentini and Antonio Bertali

Friday, April 26, 2019, 8pm
    St. Mark's Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Saturday, April 27, 2019, 8pm
    All Saints' Episcopal Church, Palo Alto
Sunday, April 28, 2019, 4pm
    St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Berkeley

Our season closes with a flourish of sackbuts and cornetti!  We present music by two 17th-century Italian composers who worked in Vienna as Kapellmeisters to the Holy Roman Emperors Ferdinand II and Ferdinand III.  Giovanni Valentini was a student of the great Giovanni Gabrieli, and his music reflects that legacy.  We perform a selection of his deeply expressive madrigals written for voices and obbligato instruments.  Valentini’s successor at the Hapsburg court, Antonio Bertali, excelled in compositions for large forces. We are excited to present the U.S. premiere of Bertali’s Missa Redemptoris, with its alternating groups of soloists, chorus, brass, and strings.

The 30-voice chorus is joined by a period instrument orchestra of cornettos, sackbuts, and strings, featuring Alex Opsahl and Steve Escher on cornetto and Aaron Westman and Anna Washburn on violin. Vocal soloists are sopranos Christa Pfeiffer and Caroline Jou Armitage, mezzo-soprano Gabriela Estephanie Solis, tenors Tim Silva and Michael Desnoyers, and basses Clayton Moser and Adam Cole.

 
The choir, Fall 2017. Photo by Will Toft.

The choir, Fall 2017. Photo by Will Toft.