California Bach Society: Oratorios and Dialogues

Artistic Director Paul Flight and the California Bach Society present “Oratorios and Dialogues: A Genre Emerges” on February 26–28 in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Berkeley. The program of sacred 17th-century music drama features Giacomo Carissimi’s Jonah and the Whale, Le Reniement de Saint Pierre by Carissimi’s pupil Marc-Antoine Charpentier, and Heinrich Schütz’s Weib, was […]

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The Lyra Trios of William Lawes and Other Delights in Eights

SFEMS’ collaboration with California Jazz Conservatory resumes on Sunday, January 10, with a concert by gambists Peter Hallifax, Julie Jeffrey, and Lynn Tetenbaum. Their program will showcase some of the most unusual and beautful music composed by three of England’s greatest viol composers of the 17th century. King Charles loved the viol, and paid many […]

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A Night in Old Vienna — NOT

Whatever storms El Niño may bring this January, the month is guaranteed to end with with a musical blast as the second half of SFEMS’ regular concert series opens with Quicksilver, led by violinists Robert Mealy and Julie Andrijeski. Quicksilver—whose members include Mealy and Andrijeski on violin; Greg Ingles, trombone; Dominic Teresi, dulcian; David Morris, viola […]

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The (Very) First Viennese School

by Julie Andrijeski and Robert Mealy When the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II moved his court to Vienna in 1619, this great Hapsburg city became a thriving international musical scene. Emissaries sought out the best players and composers from all over Italy in an effort to make Ferdinand’s court as cosmopolitan and sophisticated as possible. […]

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Make a Joyful Noise!

Your Part in Magnificat’s Program A great part of early music’s largesse as an art is its accessibility to participants. Many of its strongest enthusiasts and advocates, be they the performers on stage or the audience listening, began their association with early music as amateur musicians, often as singers in a school or church choir. […]

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Advent Music in Leipzig—The Director’s Cut

Recreated Leipzig Liturgy Follows Old Bach’s Handwritten Notes For twenty years, Warren Stewart and Magnificat have been pioneers in performing the great sacred works of the 17th century in their full musical-liturgical context. Whether they are doing Charpentier’s Midnight Mass or Monteverdi’s Vespers, situating these great works in a more complex setting brings their color […]

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The Return of Stile Antico!

No, this isn’t another Steely Dan reunion. This is the real resurrection of a very special SFEMS concert promised in our Season Brochure—an event that once had foundered but once again has been found! Buy Tickets If that introduction seems a bit irreverent, just wait for what Stile Antico—the British vocal ensemble who’ve quickly established […]

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California Bach Society sings Joyeux Noël!

Artistic Director Paul Flight and the 30-voice California Bach Society present “Joyeux Noël!” on December 4–6 in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Berkeley.  Our program will span the centuries, from Gregorian chant and a 14th-century mass, to Mouton’s “Noe, noe, psallite” and Charpentier’s charming Christmas noëls, to Berlioz’s evocative “Shepherd’s Farewell,” and to 20th-century Francis Poulenc’s motets […]

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The Floating City: Music of Renaissance Venice

by Greg Ingles Rising majestically out of a northern Mediterranean lagoon, the Italian city of Venice, with its many bridge-covered labyrinthine canals traversed by gondolieri, seems almost mystical. The city itself was at the height of its power in medieval times and continued as an influential economic state through the late Renaissance. One byproduct of […]

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SFEMS Annual Membership Meeting

The San Francisco Early Music Society held its annual membership meeting at Berkeley’s Musical Offering café and record store this past Wednesday evening, November 4. Following some pleasant socializing, lubricated with excellent wines and other refreshments donated by Board members, the meeting got underway with president Robert Cole’s State of the Society report. Robert began […]

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Dr. Philippa Kelly to Lecture in Berkeley and San Francisco

Pre-concert Talk at Baltimore Concert Performances SFEMS is delighted to announce that dramaturg and Shakespeare scholar Dr. Philippa Kelly will give a pre-concert talk at the Berkeley and San Francisco performances by the Baltimore Consort on November 21 and 22. Dr. Kelly’s Berkeley talk will begin at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, […]

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The Exquisite Consort’s Food of Love

This is a season of anniversaries. The 40th of our San Francisco Early Music Society has just passed. This coming year, 2016, marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. How appropriate that the next concert in our 2015–16 season features the acclaimed Baltimore Consort—itself celebrating its 35th anniversary this year—for a program of music […]

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There and Bach

This year’s collaboration between SFEMS and the California Jazz Conservatory continues the afternoon of Sunday, November 8, with a recital by harpsichordist Katherine Heater, who will perform works by Johann Sebastian Bach, exploring the fantasy and the fugue, two of the compositional forms most closely linked to the great keyboard master’s renowned gifts of improvisation. […]

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Music in Shakespeare’s Plays

The Baltimore Consort provides these notes about the music they will perform on their SFEMS concerts, taking place the weekend of November 20–22. Purchase Tickets> A note about our instruments The Fairy Queen and her maides daunced about the garden, singing a Song of six parts, with the musick of an exquisite consort; wherein was […]

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SFEMS Annual Members’ Meeting Scheduled For November 4

SFEMS will hold its Annual Members’ Meeting on Wednesday, November 4, from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m., at The Musical Offering, 2430 Bancroft Way in Berkeley. All SFEMS members are cordially invited to attend. Our 40th anniversary was October 15. Please come, celebrate this milestone in our history, and help shape our future. This is your […]

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Sonoma Bach’s Silver Anniversary Season

Sonoma Bach is a nonprofit arts organization based in Sonoma County. Founded in 1991 at Sonoma State University, the organization became a separate nonprofit entity in 2008. Sonoma Bach sponsors several musical ensembles, presents a year-round concert series, and offers music classes and workshops. Through these activities, Sonoma Bach works to build a community of […]

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A Glorious Quartet

Archetti & Nagy, Bach & Handel Open SFEMS Season SFEMS begins our 40th-anniversary season the weekend of October 23–25 with a celebration of joyous, powerful, serene, and ebullient music—Bach and Handel concerti performed by Archetti Baroque Strings with guest artist Debra Nagy, baroque oboe. We’ve titled this season “Masters of Early Music,” and presenting works […]

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Notes on the Concerti of Bach and Handel

Archetti’s co-director John Dornenburg discusses the music on their upcoming SFEMS concert, the weekend of October 23–25. Handel’s Concerti Grossi Opus 3 were published by John Walsh in 1734, a date that rather pointedly corresponds to the expiration of Handel’s 1720 royal privilege for music printing. This was a time of widespread piracy in the […]

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A Bohemian Masterpiece

California Bach Society to Perform Zelenka’s Missa Votiva Artistic Director Paul Flight and 30-voice California Bach Society present Missa Votiva by Czech composer Jan Dismas Zelenka, with a baroque orchestra and vocal soloists Rita Lilly and Elizabeth Kimble, soprano; Gabriela Estephanie Solis, alto; Chris McCrum, tenor; and Sepp Hammer, baritone. Performances are October 16–18 in San […]

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Prelude to a Recording

The collaboration between SFEMS and the California Jazz Conservatory resumes on Sunday, October 11, with the return of Musica Pacifica (Judith Linsenberg, recorder; Elizabeth Blumentstock, violin; Josh Lee, viola da gamba; John Lenti, theorbo; and Charles Sherman, harpsichord), who will take this series—which up to now has focused mainly on the improvisatory link between early […]

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