The 2014–15 season will mark the tenth anniversary of San Francisco Renaissance Voices (SFRV), a relatively small group that focuses primarily on a cappella composition from the Renaissance and related periods. This will also be the first season under new Music Director Katherine McKee, formerly Assistant Music Director. This year the season will begin with an annual tradition, a performance on Halloween on a setting of the text for the Requiem Mass.
The tenth anniversary will be celebrated with a reprise of a performance of the Requiem setting by Tomás Luis de Victoria composed for his patroness, the Dowager Empress Maria. SFRV first performed this composition on Halloween of 2004. The ensemble decided that one of the best ways to look forward to the next ten years would be to recall one of its most memorable accomplishments from the first ten.
The San Francisco performance of this concert, which SFRV has entitled In Memoriam: The Best of the Dead, will take place at the Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, located at 1329 Seventh Avenue, just south of Golden Gate Park and near the Muni N Line stop at the corner of Irving Street and Seventh Avenue. Tickets are on sale for $30 (general admission), $25 (students and seniors), and $15 (children under twelve years of age). They may be purchased online in advance through a Brown Paper Tickets event page.
The dates for the remaining San Francisco performances, all of which will also take place at Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church (with one exception, which will be noted), are as follows:
December 20, 7:30 p.m.: This will be the third annual Festival of Lessons & Carols concert. This is SFRV’s annual free family concert, which will be given for the third time. It is modeled after the Festival of Lessons & Carols given at King’s College of Cambridge University (in England), where it has been performed every year since 1918. As usual, there will be plenty of opportunities for the audience to join the ensemble in singing familiar carols. Neither tickets nor reservations will be required.
January 3, 8 p.m.: This will be the fifth annual Boar’s Head Festival & Mid-Winter Gala concert, It is an early celebration of the Feast of Epiphany, which actually takes place on Twelfth Night (January 6). It is an evening of feasting, libations, music and dramatic surprises, all presided over by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth I. This year countertenor Brian Asawa will appear in the role of the ambassador from the Imperial Court of the Emperor Kangxi, combining the music and dance of Ancient China with the repertoire from Medieval and Renaissance England. Instrumentalists will include lutenist Adam Cockerham and Margaret Davis performing on both Celtic harp and recorders, and the San Francisco Renaissance Dancers will also perform. The performance will be preceded by a reception and silent auction and followed by a grand Renaissance feast of traditional foods and drinks. Those who choose to come in period costume will be especially welcome.
February 7, 7:30 p.m.: This will be the third annual Prelude for Valentine’s Day concert given by Jarring Sounds, Cockerham’s duo with mezzo Danielle Reutter-Harrah; this year’s recital will feature Speak Love, a song cycle by Frank Wallace based on texts from a 1911 San Francisco poetry collection.
March 14, 7:30 p.m.: Merrie Olde England: English Country Dances & Madrigals is the one concert of the season to be performed at a different venue. It will featured the SFRV resident dance troupe, the San Francisco Renaissance Dancers directed by Jennifer Meller, which first performed in the spring of 2012. This concert will also be a retrospective one, with five of the SFRV vocalists singing selections from The Regina Monologues, a madrigals concert given in 2007. It will take place at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the southwest corner of Franklin Street.
June 6, 7:30 p.m.: The anniversary season will conclude with Our Favorite Things: A Celebration of 10 Years of Renaissance Music-Making. The program will include some major a cappella selections from the heart of Renaissance including the following compositions:
- Adriano Banchieri: Madrigale Bestiale
- Juan Esquivel: In paradisum
- Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: Super flumina Babylonis
- Clement Jannequin: La Guerre
- Gregorio Allegri: Miserere
Many other Renaissance composers will also be included on the program.
The 2014–15 Season Web page at the SFRV Web site has links to Brown Paper Tickets event pages for all performances that require tickets.