SF Choral Artists Going for Baroque

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

San Francisco Choral Artists, led by Artistic Director Magen Solomon, is one of the Bay Area’s premiere chamber choirs, having largely staked their reputation around the fostering of new music with its numerous world premieres over the years.  This month’s concert set offers a slight change of focus. Harpsichordist Jillon Stoppels Dupree and cellist Paul Hale will join SFCA—who normally perform a cappella—for a program with a distinctly baroque flavor. Well known choral works by Bach, Schütz, and Handel are on the program, as well as a piece in Hebrew, Hishki Hizki, by the lesser known Dutch/Jewish composer Avraham Casseres (fl. 1718–1740). The guest artists will also perform contemporary works and baroque masterpieces by Geminiani and Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665–1729), one of the better-known women composers of that era.

The program, entitled “Castle, Court, and Chamber: Harpsichords at Home,” explores music that was created for purposes other than concerts—from all musical eras, not just the baroque.  The Renaissance is represented on the program with works by Goudimel, Sweelinck and Byrd, and the program is rounded out with pieces by the Mendelssohns and the Schumanns, as well as contemporary works.  There are pieces written for the court; music written to be performed in secret, and some music written just to be fun, starting with the famous 13th-century song Sumer is icumen in.

“Castle, Court, and Chamber: Harpsichords at Home” will be performed in San Francisco (Sunday, June 9 at 4:00 p.m.), Palo Alto (Saturday, June 15 at 8:00 p.m.), and Oakland (Sunday, June 16 at 4:00 p.m.). Tickets in advance are $28 General / $25 Senior / $12.50; and at the door $33 General/$29 Senior/$15 Students. Visit www.sfca.org for details and tickets.

Written by Jonathan Harris