Front Row: 2020 Online Concert Series

While we can’t be together to enjoy beautiful live music right now, we hope you will join us to listen to some memorable concerts from the past, as well as new recordings of artists and programs coming up in the future. As we come to the end of our 40th anniversary year, let’s celebrate our history while looking forward to continuing to do what we do best—bringing great artists and audiences together for transformative, live arts experiences.

Sanctuary

SANCTUARY

Throughout many periods of challenge and change in human history, we have sought places of refuge and retreat. From cloisters or cathedrals to mountain tops and forests, there are times when we seek sanctuary, or rest from the world’s woes. Music has often been called a refuge or an oasis, but it can also be a catalyst for reflection or even revolution. With this new digital series, performed especially for San Francisco Performances by artists with a deep connection to our organization, we offer a musical space for introspection and contemplation.
Edward Simon, piano
Sanctuary—Recorded July 9, 2020
Edward Simon

This past winter, we invited pianist Edward Simon to put together four concerts for our updated Salon series in the War Memorial building. For one Salon, I asked Ed if he would perform a full program of piano works by Catalan composer Federico Mompou, and he graciously agreed to do so. I had heard him play a bit of Mompou on a recording he made with vocalist Luciana Souza several years ago, and I loved the simple elegance of those pieces. They also seemed perfect for our digital Sanctuary series right now. This beautiful and thoughtful video is the perfect way for us to end our Front Row concerts for now, as we take a summer break and look forward to what may come in the fall.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the program notes for this recording
Federico
Mompou
Song And Dance No. 1
Song and Dance No. 2
Song and Dance No. 3
Song and Dance No. 6
Song and Dance No. 8
Song and Dance No. 12
 
  Música Callada Book 1
 I. Angelico
 II. Lent
 III. Placide
 IV. Afflitto e penoso
 V.
 VI. Lento molto cantabile
 VII. Lento profond
 VIII. Semplice
 IX. Lento
 
  Prelude No. 8
Prelude No. 9
Prelude No. 10

 

Produced, engineered and mastered by Matt Carr

Nicholas Phan, tenor & Jake Heggie, piano
Sanctuary—Recorded July 2, 2020
Jake Heggie and Nicholas Phan

When Nicholas Phan contacted me to ask about doing a special video concert for SFP, it was pure serendipity. We had just begun putting together ideas for our online Sanctuary series, and I was delighted to be able to include this beautiful and profound program. The collaboration between Nick and Jake Heggie made it even more special. From the prescient observations of Emily Dickinson, as set by Jake Heggie, to the bittersweet humor of Leonard Bernstein, this meditation on our times fits the moment perfectly, while looking ahead towards better days.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the program notes (with texts/translations) for this recording

Time

Songs which touch on the subject of time—how it can be fleeting, feel suspended, how finite our time is, etc. Also, a meditation on this moment of paused performances.

I.  
 
Charles Ives Memories
 A. Very Pleasant
 B.Rather Sad
 
John Dowland Time Stands Still
 
II.  
 
Ernest Chausson Le temps des lilas
 
Lili Boulanger Les lilas qui avaient fleuri from Clairères dans le ciel
 
Gabriel Fauré Mandoline
 
III.  
 
Ned Rorem Early in the Morning
 
R. Vaughan
Williams
Silent Noon
 
IV.  
 
Nadia Boulanger Heures ternes
 
Lili Boulanger Attente
 
Howard Swanson I Will Lie Down in Autumn
 
V.  
 
Jake Heggie By the Spring, at Sunset from Of Laughter and Farewell
The Sun Kept Setting from How Well I Knew the Light
 
VI.  
 
Benjamin Britten If It’s Ever Spring Again
Before Life and After
from Winter Words
 
Gerald Finzi In Years Defaced from Til Earth Outwears
 
VII.  
 
Leonard Bernstein Some Other Time from On the Town

 

Produced, engineered and mastered by Matt Carr

Music for Hard Times
Danny Clay (Composer) with The Living Earth Show (Andy Meyerson and Travis Andrews)

Sanctuary
Music for Hard Times Cover

For our second Sanctuary concert, we have Living Earth Show’s Music for Hard Times, written by Bay Area composer Danny Clay, which came from the frustrations and opportunities of sheltering in place and grew out of their question “Is it possible for us to use the tools of our discipline—classical art music—to make people feel better?” We also have a video (see the Program Information section below) of a post-performance artist talk moderated by pianist/composer Timo Andres (scheduled to appear 3 times in our 2020–21 season: with Jennifer Koh and Jay Campbell (in November), in a solo recital (in January) and with Anthony Roth Costanzo and the Attaca Quartet (in April).

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Music for Hard Times

Danny Clay, composer
The Living Earth Show (Andy Meyerson and Travis Andrews)

Part 1 (0:00)
Part 2 (6:17)
Part 3 (9:13)
Part 4 (11:38)
Part 5 (16:57)
Part 6 (20:37)
Part 7 (24:43)
Part 8 (28:44)

Alexander String Quartet
Sanctuary—Recorded June 12, 2020
Alexander String Quartet

Having the Alexander String Quartet come back together for the first time since March to finish a recording of Brahms and perform these quartets seemed like the perfect opportunity to share this music, in this moment, with our patrons and friends. It’s the ideal way to begin this new Sanctuary series as well, with some of Brahms’ most stirring, beautiful and tender works, including a special arrangement of the Intermezzo Op. 118, No. 2 for piano, arranged here for the ASQ by first violinist Zakarias Grafilo.

The Alexander String Quartet will be appearing in our upcoming season with Robert Greenberg for our Saturday Morning Series and in a special Beethoven Marathon of 2 performances in December.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the program notes for this recording

Zakarias Grafilo, violin
Frederick Lifsitz, violin
Paul Yarbrough, viola
Sandy Wilson, cello

Brahms String Quartet in C minor, Opus 51, No. 1
 Allegro
 Romanze: Poco Adagio
 Allegretto molto moderato e comodo
 Allegro
 
  String Quartet in A minor, Opus 51, No. 2
 Allegro non troppo
 Andante moderato
 Quasi Minuetto, moderato
 Finale: Allegro non assai
 
  Intermezzo in A Major, Opus 118, No. 2
 Andante teneramente
(arranged for string quartet by Zakarias Grafilo)
 

Funded in part by a generous gift from Thomas and Lily Beischer

Produced, engineered and mastered by Matt Carr

Front Row Archives

Alexander String Quartet and Eli Eban, clarinet
Brahms String Quintet

Frederick Lifsitz, Sandy Wilson and Eli Eban introduce this week’s Front Row Concert featuring the Alexander String Quartet/Eli Eban recording of Brahms’ Quintet in B minor for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 115. We also featured their recording of Mozart’s Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings, KV 581 three weeks ago. The Alexander String Quartet will be appearing in our upcoming season with Robert Greenberg for our Saturday Morning Series and in a special Beethoven Marathon of 2 performances in December.

The Alexander String Quartet has been Ensemble-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances for 25 years. We are honored to be able to present them in a variety of concerts each year. Their final performance of this season was scheduled for Saturday, May 16, and we had hoped to have a special toast to them, with all of you, to celebrate the Quartet and their ongoing relationship with SFP. But since we can't do that right now, we're thrilled to offer this preview of their upcoming CD, featuring the clarinet quintets of Mozart (three weeks ago) and Brahms (this week), with clarinetist Eli Eban. I hope you will enjoy this beautiful new recording, in anticipation of its public release in August.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the program notes for this recording

Zakarias Grafilo, violin
Frederick Lifsitz, violin
Paul Yarbrough, viola
Sandy Wilson, cello
Eli Eban, clarinet

Brahms Quintet in B minor for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 115
 Allegro
 Adagio
 Andantino—Presto non assai, ma con sentimento
 Con moto

Recorded at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Belvedere, CA on June 10–14, 2019

Tracks from the upcoming Foghorn Classics release: Brahms & Mozart Clarinet Quintets

Pavel Haas Quartet
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Pavel Haas Quartet

While we had looked forward to the return of the Pavel Haas Quartet, in partnership with pianist Boris Giltburg, this past March, we must now look ahead to their return in a future season. Since their formation in 2002, the PHQ has become one of Europe’s most exciting and beloved chamber ensembles. We’re delighted to be able to offer this archival recording of their San Francisco Performances debut concert from 2011.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the original program notes for this concert

Veronika Jarůšková, violin
Eva Karová, violin
Pavel Nikl, viola
Peter Jarůšek, cello

Schulhoff Quartet No. 1
 Presto con fuoco
 Allegretto con moto e con malinconia grotesca
 Allegro giocoso alla slovacca
 Andante molto sostenuto
 
Debussy Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
 Animé et très décidé
 Assez vif et bien rhythmé
 Andantino doucement expressif
 Très modéré; Très mouvementé et avec passion
 
Haas Quartet No. 2, Op. 7
“From the Monkey Mountains”

 Landscape (Andante)
 Coach, Coachman and Horse (Andante)
 The Moon and I (Largo e misterioso)
 Wild Night (Vivace e con fuoco)

Original performance was made possible in part through the generous support of James and Kathleen Leak.

Richard Goode, piano
Friday, January 22, 2010
Richard Goode

We were delighted to welcome legendary pianist Richard Goode as guest artist for our 40th season gala last fall. It was a great way to begin this season, and to celebrate our milestone year. Here’s a recording from another great evening with him, a few years back. We look forward to sharing in his artistry again, in person, in the future.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the original program notes for this concert
Bach The Well Tempered Clavier, Book II
 Prelude and Fugue in F-sharp minor, BWV 883
 Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 884
 
Haydn Piano Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI:21
 Allegro
 Adagio
 Finale: Presto
 
  Piano Sonata in C minor, Hob. XVI:20
 Moderato
 Andante con moto
 Finale: Allegro
 
  Piano Sonata in G Major, Hob. XVI:40
 Allegretto e innocente
 Presto
 
Schumann Kreisleriana, Op. 16
 Ausserst bewegt
 Sehr innig und nicht zu rasch
 Sehr aufgeregt
 Sehr langsam
 Sehr lebhaft
 Sehr langsam
 Sehr rasch
 Schnell und spielend

Original performance was a Shenson Piano Series performance made possible by Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation and was sponsored by Concert Partners: Anonymous, in memory of Peter F. Ostwald, M.D.; David and Judith Preves Anderson; the Rev. Richard Fabian; Dr. Daniel J. Fourrier Jr.; Ellen Friedman; Frederick D. Hammer; Mr. James Hayward; Kim and Judith Maxell; and Robert and Adelle Rosenzweig.

Alexander String Quartet and Eli Eban, clarinet
Mozart String Quintet

Frederick Lifsitz, Sandy Wilson and Eli Eban introduce this week’s Front Row Concert featuring the Alexander String Quartet/Eli Eban recording of Mozart’s Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings, KV 581. We will also be featuring their recording of Brahm’s Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 in a future Front Row concert. The Alexander String Quartet will be appearing in our upcoming season with Robert Greenberg for our Saturday Morning Series and in a special Beethoven Marathon of 2 performances in December.

The Alexander String Quartet has been Ensemble-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances for 25 years. We are honored to be able to present them in a variety of concerts each year. Their final performance of this season was scheduled for Saturday, May 16, and we had hoped to have a special toast to them, with all of you, to celebrate the Quartet and their ongoing relationship with SFP. But since we can't do that right now, we're thrilled to offer this preview of their upcoming CD, featuring the clarinet quintets of Mozart (this week) and Brahms (in a future installment of Front Row), with clarinetist Eli Eban. I hope you will enjoy this beautiful new recording, in anticipation of its public release in August.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the program notes for this recording

Zakarias Grafilo, violin
Frederick Lifsitz, violin
Paul Yarbrough, viola
Sandy Wilson, cello
Eli Eban, clarinet

Mozart Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings, KV 581
  Allegro
  Larghetto
  Menuetto—Trio I—Trio II
  Allegretto con Variazioni

Recorded at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Belvedere, CA on June 10–14, 2019

Tracks from the upcoming Foghorn Classics release: Brahms & Mozart Clarinet Quintets

Jerusalem Quartet
YouTube Playlist

Violist Ori Kam of the Jerusalem Quartet introduces this week’s Front Row Concert of Jerusalem Quartet video performances.

We were looking forward to presenting the Jerusalem Quartet for the first time this past March, and now plans are being made to reschedule that concert for next season. In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy this special video performance by the quartet, in anticipation of their return sometime next fall.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Alexander Pavlovsky, violin
Sergei Bresler, violin
Ori Kam, viola
Kyril Zlotnikov, cello

Mozart String Quartet No. 15 in D minor, K. 421
  Allegro moderato
  Andante
  Menuetto and Trio.Allegretto
  Allegretto ma non troppo

Recorded at the Scubertiade Hohenems
 
Shostakovich String Quartet No. 3 in F Major, Op. 73
  Allegretto
  Moderato con moto
  Allegro non troppo
  Adagio (attacca)
  Moderato

Recorded at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2013)
 
Brahms String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51
  Allegro
  Romanze, Poco adagio
  Allegretto molto moderatro e comodo
  Allegro

Recorded at Concert Hall of the Marlinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg (2013)
 
Debussy String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
  Andantino, doucement expressif

Recorded at the Scubertiade Hohenems
Dubravka Tomšič, piano
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Dubravka Tomšič

We are honored to share this archival concert recording of Dubravka Tomšič, from 2008. She was the only protégé of the legendary Artur Rubinstein, who considered her “a perfect and marvelous pianist.” While not widely known in this country, Ms. Tomšič’s regal demeanor and virtuosity, combined with passion and subtlety, make her truly one of the great artists of our time.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the original program notes for this concert
Please note that the Brahms Intermezzo in A Major, Opus 118, No. 2 listed in the program notes is not included in this recording for technical reasons.
Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart
Adagio in B minor, K. 540
 
Domenico Scarlatti Sonata in C Major, K. 159
Sonata in C minor, K. 11
Sonata in G Major, K. 125
Sonata in D Major, K. 29
 
Serge Prokofiev Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op.28
 Allegro tempestoso; Moderato; Allegro tempestoso
 
Alojz Srebotnjak Macedonian Dances
 Allegro vivace
 Andante
 Vivacissimo
 Adagio
 Allegro rustico
 
Johannes Brahms Intermezzo in A minor, Op. 118, No. 1
Intermezzo in E-flat minor, Op. 118, No. 6
Rhapsody in E-flat Major, Op. 119, No. 4
 
Ludwig
van Beethoven
Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata”
 Allegro assai
 Andanate con moto
 Allegro ma non troppo
 
ENCORES
 
Frédéric Chopin Waltz No. 7 in C-Sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2
Waltz No. 6 in D-Flat Major, Op. 64, No. 1
SF Performances’ 25th Anniversary Album
2004–05

President Melanie Smith introduces our special Front Row Concert celebrating our 40th Anniversary.

PROGRAM INFORMATION

TRACK LIST

RUTH A. FELT Remarks
 
ANDRÉ WATTS, piano
 
Frédéric Chopin Étude in A-Flat Op. 25, No. 1
 
Alexander
Tcherepnin
Bagatelle, Op. 5
 
LUCIA POPP, soprano and HERMANN PREY, baritone
 
Hugo Wolf From Italienisches Liederbuch:
“Auch kleine Dinge”
“Du denks mit einem Fadchen”
“Und wilst du deinen Liebsten”
“Ein Stanchen Euch zu bringen”
“Benedeit die selge Mutter”
“Ich Hab in Penna Einen Liebsten wohen”
 
RICHARD STOLTZMAN, clarinet
 
Thelonius Monk Round Midnight
 
MARIAN McPARTLAND, piano
 
Jerome Kern All the Things You Are
 
Billy Taylor It’s a Grand Night for Swinging
 
MOSES HOGAN CHORALE
 
Various I Can Tell the World
The Battle of Jericho
 
DAWN UPSHAW, soprano and STEPHEN PRUTSMAN, piano
 
John Dowland Come again: Sweet love doth now invite
Can she excuse my wrongs
 
CHRISTIAN TETZLAFF, violin and LEIF OVE ANDSNES, piano
 
Edvard Grieg Violin Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op. 45
 
MANUEL BARRUECO, guitar
 
Heitor Villa-Lobos Étude No. 11
 
ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET
 
Dmitri Shostakovich String Quartet No. 12 in D-flat Major, Op. 133
 
LANG LANG, piano
 
Frédéric Chopin Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58
Sérgio and Odair Assad
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Sérgio and Odair Assad

The Spanish and Latin American program played by Sérgio and Odair Assad for this performance showcases what these brothers do best—combine their individual virtuosity with a remarkable unity of soul and feeling. Following in the tradition and legacy of the late great Andrés Segovia, the Assads are truly classical guitar super heroes.

SF Performances looks forward to presenting the Assad brothers once again on January 30, 2021. Until then, I hope you enjoy this memorable concert from their 2005 visit to the Herbst Theatre.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the original program notes for this concert
Please note that there were some changes announced from the stage so some of the details in the PDF file are incorrect.
Issac Albéniz Cordoba from Cantos de Espana
 
Joaquín Rodrigo Tonadilla para dos guitarras
 Allegro ma non troppo
 Minueto Pomposo
 Allegro vivace
 
Sérgio Assad Tahhiyya li Ossoulina
 
Astor Piazzolla Invierno Porteño from Las cuatro estaciones porteñas
Zita from Suite Troileana (Announced from Stage)
 
Jacob Bittencourt Noites Cariocas
 
Clarice Assad Valsas do Rio
 I. Arcos da Lapa
 II. Laranjeiras
 III. Central do Brasil
 
Egberto Gismonti Two Works
 Agua e Vinho
 Sete Aneis
 
Roland Dyens Hillerod from Côtè Nord
 
Leo Brouwer Danzas concertantes
 Molto vivace
 Toccata

Original performance was presented in association with the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Trio Mediaeval
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Trio Mediaeval

I was very fortunate to be present at the debut concert of Trio Mediaeval for San Francisco Performances back in 2005, For someone who loves vocal music and early music, the extraordinary clarity of this ensemble took my breath away. And as Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle said about them, “To hear the group’s note-perfect counterpoint is to be astonished at what the human voice is capable of.”

SF Performances looks forward to presenting Trio Mediaeval once again on March 6, 2021. Until then I hope you enjoy this memorable concert from one of the group’s previous visits to the Herbst Theatre.

—Melanie Smith

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the original program notes for this concert
Please note that there were some changes announced from the stage so some of the details in the PDF file are incorrect. The program listing below reflects the recording accurately.
St. Godric
of Finchale

Arr. Trio
Mediaeval
Three medieval songs
Sainte Marië Viërgenë
Crist and Sainte Marië
Sainte Nicholas, Godes Druth
 
Anonymous
England, 13th C.
Three-voice conductus:
Flos Regalis
Beata Viscera
Quem Trina Polluit
 
Anonymous
Italy, 13th C.
Lauda
Laude Novella
Solo: Torunn Østrem Ossum
 
Sungji Hong
(b. 1973)
Kyrie from ”Missa Lumen de Lumine” (2002)*
 
Anonymous
Italy, 13th C.
Lauda
Benedicti e llaudati
Solo: Linn Andrea Fuglseth
 
Gavin Bryars
(b. 1943)
Ave regina gloriosa (Lauda VII) (2003)*
 
Sungji Hong
(b. 1973)
Agnus Dei from ”Missa Lumen de Lumine” (2002)*
 
Anonymous
England, 13th C.
Three-voice conductus:
Salve Mater misericordie
Salve Virgo Virginum
 
Anonymous
England, 13th C.
Two-voice motet with drone
Dou way Robyn/Sancta Mater
 
Anonymous
Italy, 13th C.
Lauda:
Venite a Laudare
Solo: Anna Maria Friman
 
Andrew Smith
(b. 1970)
Quam Pulchera es (2006)*
Regina caeli (2002)*
Ave maris stella (2004)*
 
Anonymous
Italy, 13th C.
Lauda:
Oi me lasso
 
Traditional Vestfold
Norway
Arr. Tone Krohn
Den elskte Jerusalem
 
Hallingdal
Norway
Arr. Linn Andrea
Fuglseth
Eg veit i himmerik ei borg
 
Traditional Telemark
Norway
Arr. Linn Andrea
Fuglseth
Nu solen går ned
 
Traditional
Norway
Arr. Tiriltunga
Encore:
Eg aktar inkje

* Written for Trio Mediaeval

Original performance was made possible in part throught the generous support of the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Marc-André Hamelin
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Marc-André Hamelin

To kick off our Front Row Concert Series, we're featuring perennial piano favorite Marc-André Hamelin from a concert in April 2006 playing a program of Schubert, Vladigerov, Wagner, Verdi and Bellini.

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Download the original program notes for this concert
Franz Schubert Piano Sonata in A Major, K.664
Allegro moderato
Andante
Allegro
 
Pantcho Vladigerov Sonatine Concertante, Opus 28
Con moto
Andantino
Animato giocoso
 
Richard Wagner—
Franz Liszt
Isoldens Liebestod: Schlußszene aus Tristan und Isolde
 
Giuseppe Verdi—
Franz Liszt
Ernani: Paraphrase de concert
 
Vincenzo Bellini—
Franz Liszt
Reminiscences de Norma
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These archival recordings were not created with the intent of public viewing and therefore do not meet typical quality standards for broadcast/streaming.