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 Monteverdi, and Domenico 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.

 

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
    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.” Rachmaninoff composed it in just two weeks in 1915 and dedicated it to his teacher Stepan Smolensky, a scholar of ancient chant.  Nine of the fifteen movements are based on Orthodox chants, including some of the ancient Znamenny chants and more recent Greek and Kievian-style chants. Often called the “Rachmaninoff Vespers,” the Vigil encompasses the gamut of human emotions; to hear it is a moving and profound experience.

 

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 choir, Fall 2017.  Photo by Will Toft.

The choir, Fall 2017.  Photo by Will Toft.