19 July 2017

18 July 2017

17 July 2017

16 July 2017

15 July 2017

14 July 2017

Haiku 2017/195

the warmth of the sun
the coolness under the shade
divided pleasures

Friday photo 2017/28

a seagull realizing his picture was being taken, on the banks of the Charles River, Boston, June 2017

13 July 2017

10 July 2017

Haiku 2017/191

this grey morning sky:
when will this quiet return?
when light goes, maybe

09 July 2017

Haiku 2017/190

hummingbird hovers
sparkling against the green leaves
bright flying jewel

08 July 2017

06 July 2017

Haiku 2017/187

silver light shining
from the low-set summer moon
where were you all day

05 July 2017

Haiku 2017/186

the digital clock
glowing green through blurry gloom:
waking at midnight

04 July 2017

Haiku 2017/185

dumbass holiday
the explosions we get are
never ones we need

What can you say about a holiday whose greeting is "have a safe & sane fourth"? I wish my country were anywhere near safe & sane.

03 July 2017

Haiku 2017/184

more than a flower –
just a single soft petal –
and worlds bloom for you

02 July 2017

01 July 2017

fun stuff I may or may not get to: July 2017

July is usually a fairly slow month for performances but of course there are always a few interesting things going on. In addition, some of the plays and exhibits mentioned last month are still around.

San Francisco Playhouse presents La Cage aux Folles, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and book by Harvey Fierstein, from 12 July to 16 September.

The young artists at San Francisco Opera's Merola program will be performing an intriguing triple-bill of one-act rarities: Pergolesi's La serva padrona, Holst's Sävitri, and Walton's The Bear; you can experience all three at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 20 or 22 (matinee) July. You can also hear the Merolini playing scenes from Cavalleria rusticana, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Thaïs, Der Freischütz, and Lucrezia Borgia on 6 July at the Conservatory. Though tickets are available on-line, they do not have a choose-your-own seat option so if you're like me and refuse to buy a seat you don't get to choose, you can call the very helpful folks at the Opera box office at 415/864-3330.

Opera Theater Unlimited presents a new opera, Hunter, with music by Joseph Colombo and a libretto by Caitlin Mullan, on 14 - 15 and 21 - 22 July at the Exit Theater in San Francisco.

Modern / Contemporary Music
Pianist Sarah Cahill will perform works by Luciano Chessa, Ricky Crews, Lou Harrison, Kyle Hovatter, and Ann Southam at Old First Concerts on 7 July.

The Friction Quartet will perform the US premiere of Piers Hellawell's The Still Dancers along with other works at Old First Concerts on 21 July.

Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, and James McAlister will perform a live version of their new album Planetarium on 21 July at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

The SF Jazz Center presents a John Luther Adams festival from 26 - 30 July; the composer himself will be in residence, with the JACK Quartet performing several works, including a world premiere, over several evenings. Most performances are at the Jazz Center but there will be a performance of Inuksuit at Sutro Baths and a sound installation at Grace Cathedral. You can check out the full schedule here.

Ali Paris plays flamenco on his Qanun, a Middle Eastern 76-string zither that dates back to the fourteenth century, at Old First Concerts on 28 July.

Chamber Music
Old First Concerts presents Le Due Muse in a program of Rachmaninoff, Myaskovsky, and Shostakovich on 23 July.

Haiku 2017/182

the bushes rustle
a cautious shape emerges
cat follows kitten

30 June 2017

Haiku 2017/181

pressing against time
as the dull clouds pass over
sing an angry song

Friday photo 2017/26

lectern at Trinity Church, Boston, June 2017

As is often the case, the lectern takes the form of the eagle associated with St John, traditional author of the fourth gospel and the Apocalypse

29 June 2017

27 June 2017

26 June 2017

25 June 2017

24 June 2017

22 June 2017

Haiku 2017/173

imagined birdsong
filled the space between the clouds
and the dull office

21 June 2017

Haiku 2017/172

lots of wine for sale
but who will sell me moonlight
and a spring evening

20 June 2017

19 June 2017

18 June 2017

17 June 2017

Haiku 2017/168

it's summer outside
but leaves continue to fall
will they be swept up

Haiku 2017/159-167

2017/167 (16 June 2017)
wilting in the sun
cut flowers in the market
the bees buzz away


2017/166 (15 June 2017)
the rock continues
washed by unending waters
pebbles roll away


2017/165 (14 June 2017)
winds direct the clouds
winds pull leaves from off the trees
they swirl around me


2017/164 (13 June 2017)
within this building
an unexpected fountain
drowning the city


2017/163 (12 June 2017)
New England gravestones
knocked sideways by wind and rain
O the fresh green grass


2017/162 (11 June 2017)
in my old station
a frail voice sings this warning:
que sera, sera


2017/161 (10 June 2017)
these drooping blossoms
lovely in their long pale deaths
there is only now


2017/160 (9 June 2017)
New things shock old eyes.
New things turn into old things.
This is what happens.


2017/159 (8 June 2017)
climbing up the hills
serried ranks of boxy homes
as the trees retreat

16 June 2017

The chap in the macintosh is thirteen

     Now who is that lankylooking galoot over there in the macintosh? Now who is he I'd like to know? Now, I'd give a trifle to know who he is. Always someone turns up you never dreamt of. A fellow could live on his lonesome all his life. Yes, he could. Still he'd have to get someone to sod him after he died though he could dig his own grave. We all do. Only man buries. No ants too. First thing strikes anybody. Bury the dead. Say Robinson Crusoe was true to life. Well then Friday buried him. Every Friday buries a Thursday if you come to look at it.

                           O poor Robinson Crusoe,
                           How could you possibly do so?

     Poor Dignam! His last lie on the earth in his box. When you think of them all it does seem a waste of wood. All gnawed through. They could invent a handsome bier with a kind of panel sliding let it down that way. Ay but they might object to be buried out of another fellow's. They're so particular. Lay me in my native earth. Bit of clay from the holy land. Only a mother and deadborn child ever buried in the one coffin. I see what it means. I see. To protect him as long as possible even in the earth. The Irishman's house is his coffin. Embalming in catacombs, mummies, the same idea.

     Mr. Bloom stood far back, his hat in his hand, counting the bared heads. Twelve. I'm thirteen. No. The chap in the macintosh is thirteen. Death's number. Where the deuce did he pop out of? He wasn't in the chapel, that I'll swear. Silly superstition that about thirteen.

And once again a very happy Bloomsday to all my mountain flowers.

Friday photo 2017/24

window at St Mark's Lutheran, San Francisco, May 2017

07 June 2017

Haiku 2017/158

sun-like little blooms
swaying on their slender stalks
rain clouds overhead

(I may or may not have computer access for the next week or so. . . .)

06 June 2017

Haiku 2017/157

another wind blew
a different set of dry leaves
through this same valley

04 June 2017

Haiku 2017/155

the sky turns sapphire
trees dance with the evening breeze
the light lingers late

03 June 2017

Haiku 2017/154

The night wind rises.
Birds huddle on their branches.
There is no moonlight.

01 June 2017

31 May 2017

Haiku 2017/151

shrimp curled on a plate
swimming in seas of strange sauce
we're so far from home

30 May 2017

29 May 2017

fun stuff I may or may not get to: June 2017

Again we begin with a warning about our ridiculous public transit system, BART, which seems to get worse by the day. As previously mentioned, on certain weekends between April and July they are rebuilding tracks between the Fruitvale and 19th Street stations, with free shuttle buses running between the two; the Lake Merritt station will be closed. Expect major delays and hassles, so if you are a BART user you may want to avoid buying expensive performance tickets on those weekends, or at least plan on leaving your residence an hour earlier than usual. Since BART tends to switch around the shut-down dates with little advance notice or publicity, you should also check their site for the current schedule. I ended up using the bus bridge a few weeks ago, since they changed their dates but I did not change my theater ticket. The bus bridge works but it is indeed a hassle and a time-suck. We had a "character" as a fellow passenger, one of those semi-crazy semi-street people who are engaging until they're annoying. We had an entertaining conversation as I helped him understand what the bus bridge was and how it worked (he was claiming he was late for a party in San Francisco with Cissie Houston, as in Whitney Houston's mother), but by the time our bus was pulling up to 19th Street and he was screaming, "We're on the bus to Dachau!" I had pretty much had enough. After shutting down most weekends in May, including the three-day holiday weekend, BART is currently scheduled for only one June shut-down, from 10 to 11 June – but as previously mentioned that could change. I only wish I could feel the service would be improved after all this, instead of just slightly less tragic.

San Francisco Playhouse presents The Roommate by Jen Silverman, directed by Becca Wolff, from 23 May to 1 July.

42nd Street Moon presents Kismet in Concert, a special two performance run on 2 - 3 June of the Borodin-based musical at the Marines Memorial Theater, directed by Daren A.C. Carollo with music director Daniel Thomas.

Shotgun Players presents brownsville song (b-side for tray) by Kimber Lee, directed by Margo Hall, from 15 June to 9 July.

The African-American Shakespeare Company presents The Winter's Tale, directed by L. Peter Callender, from 10 to 18 June in the Taube Atrium Theater (next to the Opera House).

Berkeley Rep presents the west coast premiere of An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Eric Ting, from 23 June to 23 July.

Modern / New Music
Cal Performances continues its sponsorship of Ojai at Berkeley, the Bay Area version of the famous Ojai festival. This year's music director is Vijay Iyer, who will be joined by performers including Zakir Hussain, Jennifer Koh, Tyshawn Sorey, Wadada Leo Smith, Aruna Sairam, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steven Schick, and Stephan Crump to perform music by composers including Iyer himself, George Lewis, and Stravinsky. That's 15 - 17 June on the Berkeley campus; you can check out the full schedule here.

San Francisco Opera closes out this season with Rigoletto (31 May - 1 July), Don Giovanni (4 - 30 June), and La Bohème (10 June - 2 July).

The San Francisco Girls Chorus will be joined by the Trinity Youth Chorus, soprano Mellissa Hughes, and bass Jonathan Woody, in a program with the appealing (to me) title Mystics and Ecstatics, featuring music by Vivaldi, John Tavener, the US premiere of Song of Seals by Emily Doolittle, and choral improvisations led by Hughes. That's 4 June at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.

Chanticleer, in a program they call Psalm, will perform songs of praise and thanksgiving by Dufay, Poulenc, Weelkes, Victoria, and Palestrina, as well as a world premiere of a new work by John Harbison; the concerts take place from 3 to 11 June; check here for specific dates and the various locations.

The San Francisco Symphony closes out its season with some enticing concerts, including: Susanna Mälkki conducting Stravinsky's Scherzo fantastique as well as Le Sacre du printemps along with Beethoven's Piano Concerto 1 (Garrick Ohlsson, soloist) from 9 to 11 June; Vasily Petrenko conducting Glinka's Capriccio brillante on the Jota Aragonesa, the Rachmaninoff Symphony 1, and Lalo's Symphonie espagnole (with violinist Joshua Bell) from 15 to 18 June; and then two programs led by Michael Tilson Thomas – first Music for a Modern Age, featuring works by George Antheil, Lou Harrison, Charles Ives, and Michael Tilson Thomas himself, and it looks as if it will be a multi-media extravaganza, directed by Patricia Birch, featuring projections as well as vocalists (mezzo-soprano Measha Brueggergosman, Mikaela Bennett, and Kara Dugan) and dancers (Kiva Dawson and Erin Moore), and that's 23 - 25 June, and then there's Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, with soloists Sasha Cooke (mezzo-soprano), Nicholas Phan (tenor), and Luca Pisaroni (bass-baritone), on 28 - 30 June and 1 July.

Dawn Harms leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in a program that includes works by Clarice Assad, Laura Karpman, and Joe W. Moore III as well as Rossini and Ravel on 17 June at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Old First Concerts presents Zofo (the piano-playing duo of Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi, performing the west coast premiere of Akira Nishimura's Samudra Manthan (The Churning of the Ocean Milk) and Holst's The Planets, arranged by Nakagoshi, on 30 June at Old First on Van Ness Avenue.

Visual Arts
The Oakland Museum has a couple of interesting shows: Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing examines the photographer's work, particularly her shots of Dust Bowl migrants and Japanese-Americans in the camps during World War II; and Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest is the first full career retrospective for the artist, who died ten years ago. The Lange show runs from 13 May to 13 August and the De Forest show from 29 April to 20 August.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, from 24 June to 9 October.

The Legion of Honor has an exhibit with the self-explanatory title Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade; the show runs from 24 June to 24 September.

The annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival will take place from 1 to 4 June; as usual everything is at the beauteous Castro Theater with wonderful live music, and as usual they have a rich array of silent films, from the familiar to the obscure. This year's programs look so enticing I finally decided just to buy a membership and a pass so that I wouldn't have to decide what to see in advance. Sometimes it's just too difficult to cull the herd!

That's the Bay Area stuff. But since I'm taking a long-overdue trip, I should mention that the Boston Early Music Festival is going on between 11 and 18 June, with an exciting line-up including a fully staged production of André Campra's opera Le Carnaval de Venise.

Haiku 2017/149

rising with the sun
people whisper, talk, cry, shout
many-voiced music

28 May 2017

27 May 2017

25 May 2017

24 May 2017

Haiku 2017/144

when the fog rolls in
when the birds have stopped singing
when night has fallen

23 May 2017

22 May 2017

21 May 2017

Haiku 2017/141

The sky did nothing.
All day it shone, clear and blue.
Then it disappeared.

20 May 2017

18 May 2017

17 May 2017

16 May 2017

Haiku 2017/136

blow briskly, breezes;
bending branches arabesque,
all flags are flapping

15 May 2017

Haiku 2017/135

the wind was graceful
dancing through the bending trees
but left quite a mess

13 May 2017

Haiku 2017/133

fallen rose petals
carpet last year's fallen leaves:
pink and red on brown

11 May 2017

Haiku 2017/131

a tree's tangled roots,
twisted and grey like granite:
the sidewalk buckles

10 May 2017

09 May 2017

08 May 2017

Haiku 2017/128

woke up, went to work
stayed there all day, left for home . . .
was this a new day

07 May 2017

Haiku 2017/127

leaning on a ledge
the stone still warm from the sun
though it's now in shade

06 May 2017

Haiku 2017/126

this is where we put
the shaft of light or bird-song
that changed time for us

04 May 2017

03 May 2017

Haiku 2017/123

gardens in full bloom
waiting for the night-time dews
to freshen them up

02 May 2017

01 May 2017

30 April 2017

29 April 2017

Haiku 2017/119

The hot sun beats down.
Somewhere a dog barks and barks.
And my heart feels fear.

28 April 2017

Haiku 2017/118

the clock tower rings
chiming the merciless hours
we keep our heads down

fun stuff I may or may not get to: May 2017

the BART warning
Again we open with a warning about BART, our ineptly run but essential public transportation system: the tracks between Fruitvale and Lake Merritt Stations need to be rebuilt and therefore for several weekends into July trains will not run between the two stations; instead there will be a (free) bus bridge between them. Expect major delays throughout the system (and a ripple effect on traffic in general). And be sure to check the BART website for updates; just today* they announced that the semi-shutdown planned for 29 - 30 April was being moved to 6 - 7 May due to a possible Warriors playoff game this Sunday. In addition to 6 - 7 May, the current plan is for semi-shutdowns on 13 - 14 May and 27 - 29 May – yes, Memorial Day weekend, because why would anyone need public transportation then. BART! They're just so awful.

* Two days before the weekend in question.

Shotgun Players presents The Events, written by David Greig and directed by Susannah Martin, from 4 to 28 May.

At the San Francisco Playhouse, Noises Off continues until 13 May, and then The Roommate, written by Jen Silverman and directed by Wolff, runs from 23 May to 1 July.

The Oakland Symphony is presenting Frank Loesser's Guys & Dolls in concert at the Paramount Theater on 19 May.

Opera Parallèle presents Les Enfants Terrible, one of Philip Glass's Cocteau adaptations, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 26 to 28 May. Brian Staufenbiel directs, Nicole Paiement conducts, and les enfants are sung by baritone Hadleigh Adams and soprano Rachel Schutz.

New Century Chamber Orchestra bids a fond farewell to departing Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg with a special three-concert festival: Concert #1, on 16 May, celebrates Salerno-Sonnenberg's Featured Composer Program by playing some of the new works produced during these residencies by an exciting line-up of composers including Derek Bermel, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Jennifer Higdon, William Bolcom, Clarice Assad, Mark O'Connor, Michael Daugherty, and Lera Auerbach; Concert #2, on 18 May, is a salute to Salerno-Sonnenberg, featuring her in Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Piazzolla's Seasons of Buenos Aires; and Concert #3, on 20 May, celebrates the 25th anniversary of NCCO with an all-Gershwin program, including pianist Anne Marie-McDermott as soloist in the theater orchestra version of Rhapsody in Blue and vocal selections by soprano Melody Moore and baritone Efraín Solís. All concerts are at Herbst Theater in San Francisco.

The two big draws at the San Francisco Symphony are at the beginning and the end of the month: the Berlioz Requiem conducted by Charles Dutoit with soloist Paul Groves on 4 - 6 May, and Matthias Goerne in the Shostakovich Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti, conducted by Manfred Honeck (along with the Tchaikovsky 5), from 25 - 27 May. But there's also some interesting stuff in between, like Dutoit conducting the Sibelius Karelia Suite, Falla's Three Dances from the Three-Cornered Hat, and Debussy's La Mer, along with Emanuel Ax in the Mozart Piano Concerto 22, from 10 - 13 May, and Roberto Abbado conducting the Schumann Violin Concerto with soloist Veronika Eberle, along with Busoni's Music from Turandot Suite (this is Busoni's Turandot, not Puccini's) and Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony, on 17 and 19 - 21 May.

The Berkeley Symphony closes its season with Shostakovich's Babi Yar Symphony, a setting of Yevtushenko's poem commemorating a massacre of Jews in Kiev during World War II, conducted by Christian Reif with bass soloist Denis Sedov, on 4 May in Zellerbach Hall.

The Golden Gate Symphony will be playing Mahler's Resurrection Symphony in Herbst Theater on 21 May.

Early / Baroque Music

Jeffrey Thomas leads the American Bach Soloists in Handel's glittering oratorio La Resurrezione, with soloists Nola Richardson (soprano), Mary Wilson (soprano), Meg Bragle (mezzo-soprano), Kyle Stegall (tenor), and Jesse Blumberg (baritone). Performances are 5 May at St Stephen's in Belvedere, 6 May at First Presbyterian in Berkeley, 7 May at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 8 May at the Davis Community Church in Davis.

Volti closes its current season with Wie ein Kind by Per Nørgård, Consent by Ted Hearne, From Ivory Depths by Tonia Ko, Like a Strange Sigh by Jack Hughes, and Santiago, another movement from Joby Talbot's Path of Miracles, which Volti is planning to present in its entirety next season. There are two performances: 20 May at First Presbyterian in Berkeley and 21 May at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

The International Orange Chorale of San Francisco presents Freshly Squeezed: New Music by and for IOCSF, a free concert featuring works by David Avshalomov, Salvatore LoCascio, Bryan Lin, Elliott Encarnación, Elizabeth Kimble, Ivo Antognini, Joseph Gregorio, Frank LaRocca, and Josh Saulle; you can hear this abundance on 29 April at St Paul's Episcopal (114 Montecito in Oakland) and 13 May at St Matthew's Lutheran in San Francisco (3281 16th Street).

Lacuna Arts presents madrigals by Monteverdi, Orlando di Lasso, and Morten Lauridsen on 19 May at 544 Capp Street in San Francisco and 21 May at 1924 Cedar Street in Berkeley.

Paul Flight leads Chora Nova in sacred choral music by Rameau, Lully, and Delalande on 27 May at First Presbyterian in Berkeley.

Modern / New Music
Wild Rumpus presents a concert they're calling Four Kings for Lou Harrison, featuring works by Lou Harrison, John Luther Adams, Carolina Heredia, and Brian Baumbusch (with puppetry by Niki Ulehla). That's 5 May at St John's Episcopal in San Francisco. You can never have enough Lou Harrison in your musical life.

Earplay closes out its season with works by Kyle Bruckmann, Cindy Cox, John Liberatore, Eric Moe, and Toru Takemitsu; that's 15 May at the ODC Theater in San Francisco.

Other Minds continues its Lou Harrison centennial celebration with a concert on 20 May at Mission Dolores Basilica; Nicole Paiement will be leading La Koro Sutra and other gamelan-inspired works by Harrison.

The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble closes its season with Francophilia, a concert celebrating French music and its influence on (some) American music; the program includes works by Debussy, Copland, Kurt Rohde (a world premiere, based on texts from Michel Foucault), Ravel, Dutilleux, Ned Rorem, and André Caplet, and that's 30 May at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music or 1 June at the Berkeley Piano Club.

Check out the calendar at the Center for New Music as well; some things there that catch my eye are pianist Thomas Moore playing Morton Feldman's Triadic Memories on 3 May; Modern Composers Celebrating Shakespeare on 6 May; pianist Sarah Cahill playing Lou Harrison on 7 May; the Refuse Project on 13 May; and Lou Harrison's Cinna as a shadow play on 18 May.

San Francisco Performances presents soprano Carolyn Sampson and pianist Joseph Middleton in a flower-themed recital featuring works by Purcell, Britten, Schumann, Schubert, Poulenc, Hahn, Debussy, and others; that's 17 May at Herbst Theater.

Javier Perianes makes his Bay Area recital debut at Herbst Theater, presented by San Francisco Performances. He will be performing Schubert, Falla, Debussy, and Albéniz on 6 May.

Cal Performances presents RIOULT Dance NY in a Bach-inspired program in Zellerbach Playhouse; some of the performances are sold out but tickets are still available for the matinee on 6 May and the evening of 7 May. (I'm not sure why RIOULT is all caps in the company name, as it is the last name of company choreographer Pascal Rioult.)

Cal Performances presents the Scottish Ballet in A Streetcar Named Desire, with choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and music by Peter Salem. That's 10 - 12 May in Zellerbach Hall.

Friday photo 2017/17

California poppies (with bonus nasturtiums), San Leandro, March 2017

27 April 2017

26 April 2017

25 April 2017

24 April 2017

23 April 2017

Haiku 2017/113

the birds are singing
everything is blooming
so I guess it's spring

for Shakespeare's birthday

For Shakespeare's birthday: read a sonnet, or maybe go write one. This is one of my favorites. Since I have spent most of this month recovering from my second bout of flu this year, I don't have the time and energy to write an analysis, but I think it's pretty straightforward (insofar as these things can be straightforward; I guess I mean it's easy enough to get the gist of it). What's amazing is how clear and true the sentiments are, centuries after they were written.

Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

William Shakespeare

22 April 2017

20 April 2017

19 April 2017

18 April 2017

Haiku 2017/108

light wind through the leaves
shadows jump, shifting, dancing,
then resume stillness

17 April 2017

16 April 2017

15 April 2017

Haiku 2017/105

sun following rain:
the hills turn green and then glow
with golden poppies

13 April 2017

12 April 2017

11 April 2017

Haiku 2017/101

the gathering clouds
a skyward burst of black birds
a quick sweep of rain

10 April 2017

09 April 2017

08 April 2017

Haiku 2017/98

lying half awake
listening to the winds blow
restless through the night

06 April 2017

Haiku 2017/96

such foreboding skies,
such gloomy clouds, such darkness,
such a bright flower!

05 April 2017

04 April 2017

Haiku 2017/94

the sun is too bright
the sidewalk glares up at me
the leaves are too green

03 April 2017

Haiku 2017/93

I hear the waters
murmur, gurgle, glide, and splash . . .
what do the fish hear?

02 April 2017

01 April 2017

Haiku 2017/91

in the early hours
halfway in the land of dreams
a cry in the dark

a poem for #WhanthatAprilleDay17

The first day of April is Whan That Aprille Day, a day celebrating "alle langages that are yclept ‘old,’ or ‘middel,’ or ‘auncient,’ or ‘archaic,’ or, alas, even ‘dead’" in the words of the day's founder, Geoffrey Chaucer Himself. Ignore all other holidays alleged to take place on this day. You may find the 2014 poem here, which has some internal linkage to other Middle English posts; check here for 2015, and here for 2016. I've posted Middle English poems a few other times; you can click the poesy label and read through all the poems, and honestly there are worse ways you could be spending your time.

In a further tradition, the Google machine is apparently unable to cope with the sophisticated typesetting I had in mind, in which the lines of the original Middle English, set in green and roman, are interleaved with a crib, set in black and italic. Only the color thing didn't quite work out and my attempts to fix it disappear no matter how many times I save, so: apologies for the confusion, but the lines in italic are my version of the lines above in roman. If any scholar wishes to dispute my interpretation, I will accept the rebuke gratefully and gracefully, as a true student should.

When the nightegale singes,
When the nightingale sings,
The wodes waxen grene:
The woods grow green:
Lef and grass and blosme springes
Leaf and grass and blossom spring
In Averil, I wene,
In April, as I expect,
And love is to min herte gon
And love goes to my heart
With one spere so kene:
With a sharp spear:
Night and day my blod it drinkes;
Night and day it drinks my blood;
Min herte deth me tene.
My heart grieves me so.

Ich have loved all this yer
I have loved all this year
That I may love namore;
So much that I can't love any more;
Ich have siked mony sik,
I have sighed many sighs,
Lemmon, for thin ore.
Sweetheart [leman], for your favors.
Me nis love never the ner,
But love has not come any nearer,
And that me reweth sore.
Which grieves me sorely.
Swete lemmon, thench on me:
Sweet sweetheart, think on me:
Ich have loved thee yore.
I have loved you for so long.

Swete lemmon, I preye thee
Sweet lover, I beg you
Of love one speche.
For one word of love.
Whil I live in world so wide
While I live in this big old world
Other nulle I seche.
I will seek no other but you.
With thy love, my swete leof,
With your love, my sweetest love,
My bliss thou mightest eche:
You would increase my happiness:
A swete cos of thy mouth
A sweet kiss from your mouth
Mighte be my leche.
Would be my doctor [leech, meaning doctor, as applying leeches was a frequent medical maneuver]

Swete lemmon, I preye thee
My beloved, I beg you
Of a love-bene;
For this lover's boon:
If thou me lovest, as men says,
If you love me, as men say,
Lemmon, as I wene,
Darling, then I expect,
And if it thy wille be,
And if you desire it,
Thou loke that it be sene.
That you shall see that it happens.
So muchel I thenke upon thee
I think about you so much
That all I waxe grene.
That my whole self grows green.

Bitwene Lincolne and Lindeseye,
Between Lincoln and Lindsey,
Norhamptoun and Lounde,
Northhampton and Lound,
Ne wot I non so fair a may
I do not know of so fair a maiden
As I go fore ibounde.
As the one I am bound to.
Swete lemmon, I preye thee
Sweet sweetheart, I beg you
Thou lovie me a stounde.
To love me, at least for a moment.
     I wole mone my song
     I will moan my song
     On wham that it is on ilong.
     To the one who inspired it.

Anonymous, Harley 2253

The speaker goes right from the lovely springtime renewal of the natural world into his (or her; I don't want to rule out that possibility) world of love-pain, though he (or she – from here on I'll stick with the masculine adjective but feel free to supply any other one you want) cleverly brings the waxe grene back in the end, this time in reference to his whole self: does this mean that thinking about love renews him? or that it makes him jealous (was green already the color of envy at this time?)? or sick, with the greenish tinge of anemia, hence the term green-sickness? I am utterly charmed by the declaration that the beloved is the fairest maiden between Lincoln and Lindsey, Northhampton and Lound – so much more discreet, sensible, and provable than proclamations about your beloved being peerless in the world.

This poem is from the Harley Lyrics, a manuscript now in the British Library and dating from the middle of the fourteenth century containing poems in Middle English, Middle French, and Latin. You may read more about it here, and you may see some pages of the manuscript here.

The Middle English text is taken from Middle English Lyrics: A Norton Anthology, selected and edited by Maxwell S. Luria and Richard L. Hoffman.

31 March 2017

30 March 2017

29 March 2017

Haiku 2017/88

Those branches were bare.
When did they turn green again?
When did I grow old?

fun stuff I may or may not get to: April 2017

Once again I have to start one of these with a warning about BART: they are planning partial shutdowns over several weekends from April to July, as they need to rebuild the tracks between Fruitvale and Lake Merritt. The Lake Merritt station will be closed on those weekends. A free bus bridge will carry riders between the affected stations. The buses may add up to 40 minutes to your trip, so if you rely on BART keep that in mind when buying expensive tickets or planning an outing (and even if you don't use BART, of course this will affect Bay Area traffic in general).

And once again, in typical BART style, they have underpublicized what they're doing: I was at a station and happened to hear an announcement on their squawky speakers about the upcoming closure, but it wasn't until I checked their site later that I realized that weekend was just the first in a series.

Yes, I know they need to rebuild the tracks. I also know that they should have been doing maintenance all along. I know . . . well, I'll just stop here. After one more thing! Maybe the most frustrating thing to me about BART is not the high price or the poor quality of service, the filthy stations and the long waits for short trains, but that every anti-government-agency, anti-union slur you've ever heard – that they're inefficient, inept, unconcerned with the public benefit and only interested in their fat pensions – is true in the case of BART. That's a humbling thing for a stalwart leftist to admit to himself.

Currently, the closure is scheduled to take place 8 - 9 and 29 - 30 April, but experience has shown that BART may change these dates semi-arbitrarily and with little publicity, so check here for any updates they've snuck in.

San Francisco Playhouse presents Michael Frayn's beloved backstage farce Noises Off, directed by Susi Damilano, from 21 March to 13 May.

Custom Made Theatre presents Wendy McLeod's House of Yes from 30 March to 29 April.

The African-American Shakespeare Company presents August Wilson's Jitney, directed by and starring L. Peter Callender, from 1 to 16 April at the Marines' Memorial Theater.

42nd Street Moon has two shows coming to the Eureka Theater: New Girl in Town, with music and lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by George Abbot based on Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, directed by Daren A. C. Carollo with music direction by Dave Dobrusky, from 29 March to 16 April, and No, No, Nanette, lyrics by Irving Caesar and Otto Harbach with music by Vincent Youmans and book by Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel (revival book by Burt Shevelove), directed by Cindy Goldfield with music direction by Dave Dobrusky, and that's from 26 April to 14 May.

ACT has two shows coming to the Geary Theater: Needles and Opium, an exploration of Miles Davis in Europe and Jean Cocteau in New York, written and directed by Robert Lepage and produced by Ex Machina, running from 30 March to 23 April, and Battlefield, based on the Mahabharata and the play adapted from the epic by Jean-Claude Carrière, further adapted and also directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne, running from 26 April to 21 May.

Cutting Ball Theater presents Racine's Phèdre, translated by Rob Melrose and directed by Ariel Craft, from 20 April to 21 May.

Cal Performances and Philharmonia Baroque team up to present Le temple de la Gloire, with music by Rameau to a libretto by Voltaire; these are the first productions of the first version of the score (recently rediscovered in the UC Berkeley libraries) since its premiere at Versailles in 1745. Performances will take place at Zellerbach Hall, which is not exactly Versailles or even Versailles-like but will have to do, on 28 - 30 April (the 30th is a matinee).

There are a couple of operatic double bills at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music: you can hear Puccini's Suor Angelica and Massenet's Le Portrait de Manon on 7 and 9 (matinee) April; later in the month (28 and 30 (matinee) April) you can hear Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and Stravinsky's Mavra.

Opera Theater Unlimited is putting on a 48-hour Opera Festival, in which new short (ten to fifteen minute) operas will be put together in, you know, 48 hours. That will take place 28 - 30 April in San Francisco and there will be a public performance at the end. Sounds as if it could be a wild ride. Find out more here.

The San Francisco Symphony is mostly out this month touring the east coast, though they have cancelled their scheduled North Carolina appearances as a result of that state's idiotic new law regarding transgender people using public bathrooms, because that is apparently a very urgent issue, well worth public time and money. Seriously, how exactly are they planning to enforce such a law? Do they really expect people to have birth certificates to hand? Is this really what legislators need to be spending their time on, in a country so far behind comparably wealthy nations when it comes to health insurance, public transportation, supporting public education (not to mention the arts) . . . . Honestly, if your political / religious program consists of targeting people who already have been handed a rough deal by life and figuring out ways to make their lives even rougher, you need to sit down and examine whatever shriveled bit of soul you have left and then go change your life. This is all by way of mentioning a new addition to the Symphony's schedule: Symphony Pride, celebrating "the Bay Area's spirit of inclusion and diversity with a focus on the voices of the LGBTQ community" and including works by such great artists as Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell, Meredith Monk, and John Cage. Michael Tilson Thomas conducts and is joined as co-host by the always wonderful Audra McDonald. The concert will be 4 April and proceeds will benefit social service organizations providing support to LGBTQ people in the Bay Area.

Also at Davies Hall this month: Fabio Luisi leads the Danish National Orchestra in two programs: on 2 April you can hear Nielsen's Helios Overture, the Beethoven 3 (Eroica), and Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder with soprano Deborah Voigt as the soloist; and on 3 April, you can hear the Beethoven Violin Concerto with soloist Arabella Steinbacher, along with Richard Strauss's Don Juan and the Nielsen 6 (Sinfonia semplice).

The San Francisco Symphony returns to close out the month with the fabulous pianist Igor Levit in the Schumann concerto, conducted by Fabio Luisi; this program also includes Richard Strauss's Aus Italien and you can hear all that 27 - 29 April.

The Department of Music at UC-Berkeley presents the Fauré Requiem, Berlioz's Grande Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale, along with pieces by Charpentier and de Lalande, performed by the University Chorus and Symphony and the Contra Costa Wind Symphony, on 7 April in Hertz Hall.

The next two Schwabacher Debut Recitals take place this month at the Taube Atrium: on 2 April baritone Sol Jin and pianist Kirill Kuzmin will perform Poulenc, Tosti, and Beethoven, and on 9 April mezzo-soprano Renée Rapier, bass Anthony Reed, and pianist John Churchwell will perform an all-American program including Rorem, Pasatieri, Bolcom, Thomson, Gershwin, Argento, Coleman, Porter, Sondheim, and others.

See also Deborah Voigt's appearance at Davies Hall with the Danish National Orchestra, listed above in Orchestral.

Piano / Violin (& Other Strings)
San Francisco Performances presents pianist Wei Luo performing Shostakovich, Beethoven, Albéniz, and Prokofiev on 2 April at Herbst Theater.

San Francisco Performances presents violinist Alina Ibragimova and pianist Cédric Tiberghien in a program of works by Bach, Berg, Brahms, Ysaÿe, and Schumann on 3 April at Herbst Theater.

San Francisco Performances presents guitarist Xuefei Yang on 8 April at Herbst Theater. The program has not yet been announced.

San Francisco Performances presents trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger and pianist Roland Pöntinen performing works by Antheil, Stenhammar, Gershwin, Newman, Thomson, and others, on 11 April at Herbst Theater. UPDATE: It was announced on 5 April that Hardenberger had to cancel this performance due to family reasons. If you already have tickets, contact SF Performances to arrange exchanging, donating, or receiving a refund for your ticket.

Cal Performances presents pianist Saleem Ashkar playing an all-Beethoven program on 21 April at Hertz Hall.

San Francisco Performances presents Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin in a joint recital of music for four hands and two pianos by Mozart, Stravinsky, and Debussy; that's 25 April at Herbst Theater.

Also on 25 April is Murray Perahia playing a solo recital (though it's presented by the San Francisco Symphony) of Bach, Schubert, Mozart, and Beethoven at Davies Hall.

San Francisco Performances presents cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Connie Shih performing Debussy, Chopin, Hahn, Fauré, and Adès in Herbst Theater on 27 April.

Cal Performances presents Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Edgar Meyer on double-bass, and Chris Thile on mandolin up at the Greek Theater on 30 April. We are warned that umbrellas are not allowed in this (outdoor) venue so substitute other rain gear if necessary – and if they're worried about heavy rain in late April, I guess the drought is now officially over.

Chamber Music
Old First Concerts presents the Friction Quartet, joined by violist Jodi Levitz and cellist Jennifer Culp, on 2 April in a program featuring Brahms, John Halle, and Schoenberg's glorious Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night).

Cal Performances presents the Takács Quartet in the final two concerts of their survey of the complete Beethoven string quartets; that's 8 - 9 April in Hertz Hall.

San Francisco Performances presents the Calder Quartet in an all-Adès program in Herbst Theater on 12 April.

Choral Music
Cal Performances presents Cappella SF, led by Ragnar Bohlin, in a program featuring Bach, Sven-David Sandström, Ola Gjeilo, Z. Randall Stroope, Arvo Pärt, and Frank Martin, on 22 April in Hertz Hall.

Robert Geary leads the San Francisco Choral Society in three Magnificats by three Bachs: JS, CPE, and JC; you can compare and contrast at Calvary Presbyterian in San Francisco on 29 April.

SF Jazz presents the women's chorus Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares in Grace Cathedral on 26 April.

Early / Baroque Music
Jeffrey Thomas leads the American Bach Soloists in Bach's Motets for Double Chorus; that's 31 March at St Stephen's in Belvedere, 1 April at First Presbyterian in Berkeley, 2 April at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 3 April at the Davis Community Church in Davis.

Cal Performances presents the Tallis Scholars in works by Praetorius, Gibbons, Pärt, Sheppard, Tavener, Stravinsky, Palestrina, Holst, and others – yes, they are including post-Renaissance music this time – in Zellerbach Hall on 6 April.

San Francisco Performances presents Beatrice Rana playing the Goldberg Variations on 7 April at Herbst Theater.

Paul Flight leads the California Bach Society in an all-Charpentier concert, featuring the Litanie de la Vierge and the Missa Assumpta est Maria; you can hear them on 21 April at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, 22 April at All Saints' Episcopal in Palo Alto, and 23 April at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley.

Modern / New Music
San Francisco Contemporary Music Players host a centenary celebration of Lou Harrison on 21 - 22 April at Z Space in San Francisco, where they will perform work by Harrison as well as some current composers; you can buy a pass and go to everything or tickets to individual concerts (see the whole schedule here).

The San Francisco International Film Festival runs from 5 to 19 April. Here are some things that jump out at me: the Kronos Quartet will perform Jacob Garchik's score for a new film by the great Guy Maddin, The Green Fog – A San Francisco Fantasia, and that's 16 April at the Castro Theater, on the closing night of the Festival. A few days earlier (13 April) you can catch that wild ride from the early days of Soviet cinema, Dziga Vertov's The Man with a Movie Camera, with live music by DeVotchKa. The Festival has a calendar on their site, but you have to click it day by day to find out what's playing, and frankly that's just too annoying. I was very glad to see Alex Ross complain recently about something I've also complained about, which is the gradual disappearance of helpful calendars from websites in favor of "smart"phone-friendly lists that go day by day. I fear this is another case of arts groups trying to do what they think is trendy, only to be mostly annoying (pop-ups! secret locations! general seating with drinks!) – I know that that's how many people think they want to live their lives, but that's not how we actually have to live our lives.

SF Jazz presents Max Raabe & Palast Orchester on 6 April in Davies Hall.

Cal Performances presents Bill Charlap and singer Ann Hampton Callaway in a program called Jazz & Sondheim Side by Side, which pretty much sums it up, and you can hear the results on 13 April in Zellerbach Hall.

SF Jazz presents the Wayne Shorter Quartet from 27 to 30 April.

San Francisco Performances presents the Paul Taylor Dance Company in three different programs from 26 to 30 April at the Yerba Buena Center.

The San Francisco Ballet presents the final three programs of its season: Swan Lake, with choreography by Helgi Tomasson (with the Black Swan Pas de Deux and Act 2 by Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa) and music by, of course, Tchaikovsky, from 31 March to 12 April; Cinderella, with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon to Prokofiev's score, from 27 April to 7 May; and a mixed program featuring three works made for the company: Trio, with choreography by Helgi Tomasson to music by Tchaikovsky; the world premiere of Ghost in the Machine, choreography by Myles Thatcher to Michael Nyman's score; and Within the Golden Hour, choreography by Christopher Wheeldon to music by Ezio Bosso and Vivaldi, and that's from 5 to 18 April.

20 March 2017

Haiku 2017/79

I forgot the moon
until I glanced skyward, but
the moon did not care

Derek Walcott, 1930 - 2017

Derek Walcott died last week at the age of 87. Here is one of his poems:

Sea Canes

Half my friends are dead.
I will make you new ones, said earth.
No, give me them back, as they were, instead,
with faults and all, I cried.

Tonight I can snatch their talk
from the faint surf's drone
through the canes, but I cannot walk

on the moonlit leaves of ocean
down that white road alone,
or float with the dreaming motion

of owls leaving earth's load.
O earth, the number of friends you keep
exceeds those left to be loved.

The sea canes by the cliff flash green and silver;
they were the seraph lances of my faith,
but out of what is lost grows something stronger

that has the rational radiance of stone,
enduring moonlight, further than despair,
strong as the wind, that through dividing canes
brings those we love before us, as they were,
with faults and all, not nobler, just there.

Derek Walcott

from Collected Poems 1948 - 1984

a week (or so) of apricot blossoms: 2

19 March 2017

a week (or so) of apricot blossoms: 1

Last Saturday I took some photographs of the apricot tree in bloom in my backyard. The blossoms are already all gone, replaced by a haze of soft green leaves. I will post the blossom photos daily until there aren't any more (so that's a week or so).

Haiku 2017/78

smiling like a friend
from a spot we both know well:
the face of evil

18 March 2017

17 March 2017

Haiku 2017/76

waiting for the sun
to sink so that I can see
light from subtler stars

Friday photo 2017/11

from the San Leandro BART station, February 2017

(Truth Is Beauty, sculpture by Marco Cochrane)

16 March 2017

15 March 2017

14 March 2017

13 March 2017

Haiku 2017/72

down this crowded street
falling night will clear a path
for the lonely moon

12 March 2017

Haiku 2017/71

that distant birdcall
needs landscapes of lonely pines,
not this cityscape

11 March 2017

10 March 2017

Haiku 2017/69

while I was sleeping
the apricot trees blossomed
into spring's light snow

Friday photo 2017/10

oh what a beautiful day: sidewalk outside of the Aurora Theater, Berkeley California, February 2017

09 March 2017

Haiku 2017/68

see the moon shining
silver through the new spring leaves –
it's just so classic

08 March 2017

Haiku 2017/67

on a day like this –
so crisp, so cool, so refreshed –
we should be other

07 March 2017

06 March 2017

05 March 2017

Haiku 2017/64

stripped by the strong winds
the green spring growth lay fallen
with last year's dead leaves

04 March 2017

03 March 2017

02 March 2017

01 March 2017

28 February 2017

Haiku 2017/59

such intense music
from birds hidden by branches . . .
the trees are singing

27 February 2017

Haiku 2017/58

the garden I planned
has slowly been supplanted
by these unplanned plants

26 February 2017

fun stuff I may or may not get to: March 2017

I'm sure I've complained before about the tendency of some major arts groups to segregate their more adventurous offerings into separate programs held in special tiny and difficult venues at inconvenient times, thereby allowing these groups to fill their main stage with the same exhausted nineteenth-century warhorses they trot out each year, so here's a related complaint: the increasing number of these offbeat performances from major arts groups that are open seating, even in venues where it's easy enough to sell assigned seats. I'm sure there is some annoying little "theory" behind this trend, like generating "buzz" or something equally vague, but even movie theaters, traditional home of general admission, are starting to sell reserved seats (presented as part of a more luxurious and convenient experience, to lure people away from their home theaters) so it's extra-depressing to see the fine arts once again loping after an indifferent culture in last decade's direction. Presenters! You're selling something valuable: show some respect for your artists and your audience. I don't want to waste my time milling around a lobby so that when the doors open (which is always later than they're supposed to) I can bolt Oklahoma-land-rush-style to my preferred seat. Selling general admission tickets doesn't even make sense from the theater's box-office and financial planning point of view: if my seat is determined not by when I buy my ticket but by where I'm positioned near the doors on the day of performance, then why should I buy my ticket in advance? And it's one thing if you're paying $30 for a show in a blackbox theater in the Tenderloin (but even those theaters will reserve seats for subscribers and donors as an easy way to encourage people to subscribe or donate) but it's especially appalling when groups charge premium prices (looking at you, SF Opera Center) and then make us scramble for seats once they've grabbed our cash. I've been in some of these scrums and believe me, they are not pretty. Could presenters please stop being lazy and could we just roll back on the general admissions?

The New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the world premiere of Leaving the Blues, about Alberta Hunter, written by Jewelle Gomez and directed by Arturo Catricala; that's 3 March to 2 April.

Crowded Fire presents the Bay Area premiere of You for Me for You by Mia Chung, directed by M. Graham Smith, from 9 March to 1 April at the Potrero Stage (which used to be known as Thick House Theater).

The Aurora Theater presents Leni, about the Nazi film-maker, written by Sarah Greenman and directed by Jon Tracy, from 10 March to 23 April. The play is presented at their smaller upstairs space, not their main stage.

Shotgun Players opens its season with Nora, described as "a stage version of Ibsen's A Doll's House" – I'm not sure what the phrasing there means, as I thought A Doll's House was already the stage version of Ibsen's A Doll's House – written by Ingmar Bergman, translated and adapted by Frederick J. Marker and Lise-Lone Marker, and directed by Beth Wilmurt. The show runs from 16 March to 16 April at the Ashby Stage.

Cal Performances presents Britain's Filter Theater in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, directed by Sean Holmes, from 22 to 26 March in Zellerbach Playhouse.

Early / Baroque Music
Philharmonia Baroque presents music and arias by Handel, Hasse, Zelenka, Arne, CPE Bach, and Gluck, featuring countertenor Iestyn Davies, with guest conductor Jonathan Cohen leading the band; Davies has a really wonderful sound (I heard him in a Cal Performances recital a few years ago) so I'm glad to see him back in this area. Performances are 1 March at Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, 3 March at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, 4 March at First Presbyterian in Berkeley, and 5 March at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in Lafayette.

The San Francisco Early Music Society presents Voices of Music in a program featuring Pergolesi's famous Stabat Mater along with works by Scarlatti and Vivaldi; that's 17 March at All Saints Episcopal in Palo Alto, 18 March at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco, and 19 March at St Mary Magdalen in Berkeley.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music presents Handel's Atalanta on 11 March and 12 March (matinee). Both performances are free.

Ars Minerva presents company director mezzo-soprano Céline Ricci and harpsichordist Derek Tam in a salon evening of arias written for the sorceresses Armida, Medea, and Circe by Lully, Clérambault, Charpentier, Handel, and Pietro-Antonio Ziani, whose La Circe is being revived (an eagerly awaited Modern World premiere) by the group this coming September. That's 26 March at the Hotel Rex.

Cal Performances presents the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin playing Telemann, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and Rebel on 11 March at Hertz Hall.

Modern / Contemporary Music
The Hot Air Music Festival takes place at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on 5 March, with programs starting at 11:00 AM1:30 PM3:30 PM, and 7:00 PM.

There's a new group in town, Bard Music West, presumably related to the annual festival at Bard College in the Hudson Valley of New York, which focuses on single composers and their cultural milieux. Anyway they are presenting a two-day series built around György Ligeti and his world. That's 17 - 18 March in the Noe Valley Ministry (1021 Sanchez Street at 23rd) in San Francisco.

The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble presents Brahms through the Looking Glass, a program in which the great Johannes's Piano Trio in B Major Op. 8 inspires new works by Jennifer Jolley, Kenneth Lim, and Sam Nichols; you can hear the results on 18 March at the Berkeley Piano Club or 21 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Earplay presents music by Linda Bouchard, Peter Maxwell Davies, Jason Federmeyer, Toru Takemitsu, and Stephen Yip at the ODC Theater on 20 March.

And as always check out the various enticements at the Center for New Music.

San Francisco Opera's Opera Lab presents Anna Caterina Antonacci in the Poulenc / Cocteau monodrama La Voix Humaine, along with Berlioz'a La mort d'Ophélie, Debussy's Chanson de Bilitis, and Poulenc's La fraîcheur et le feu (Coolness and fire) on 11, 14, and 17 March at the Taube Atrium Theater. Please note that tickets are $95 (exclusive of any fees) and the seating is general admission: two clauses that should never, ever be joined.

See also the Conservatory of Music's production of Handel's Atalanta under Early / Baroque Music.

Matthew Shilvock, General Director of the San Francisco Opera, will be speaking to the Wagner Society of Northern California on 18 March; that starts at 1:00 at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco. I assume, given the audience, that his talk will focus on Wagner and SF Opera's 2018 Ring revival, but the talks at the Society are often wide-ranging and there's generally a Q-and-A afterwards in case you want to ask about local plans to stage Meyerbeer or someone like that.

On 11 March at Herbst Theater, Dawn Harms leads the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony in the Sibelius 5, along with Andrée's Concert-Overture in D, Paganini's Moses Fantasy for Bass and Orchestra, and Koussevitzky's Concerto for Bass, with soloist Gary Karr on double bass.

New Century Chamber Orchestra is reunited with the chorus guys of Chanticleer in a program called Americans in Paris, featuring works by Gershwin (of course!), Stravinsky, Fauré, Satie, Rorem, and songs associated with Edith Piaf and others. There is an open rehearsal at the Wilsey Center for Opera on the morning of 15 March and performances on 16 March at First Presbyterian in Berkeley, 17 March at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, 18 March at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and 19 March at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael.

At the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts an all-Russian program from 1 to 4 March, including the Tchaikovsky 6 (the Pathétique), Mikhail Gnesin's The Jewish Orchestra at the Ball of Nothingtown (which certainly has one of the more intriguing titles I've come across this month), and the Shostakovich Cello Concerto 1, with soloist Gautier Capuçon; Tilson Thomas returns on 23 - 24 March to conduct John Cage's The Seasons (with video), Robin Holloway's Europa and the Bull (a Symphony co-commission), and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra; he conducts the same program on 25 - 26 March, except the Holloway is swapped for Bruch's Violin Concerto 1, with soloist Nicola Benedetti; and finally he closes out the month leading an all-Mahler program, featuring the Mahler 1 and the Adagio from the Mahler 10, and that's on 30 - 31 March and 1 - 2 April.

In between Tilson Thomas's concerts, you can hear Marek Janowski conduct the Brahms 4, along with Beethoven's Coriolan Overture and Hindemith's Violin Concerto with soloist Arabella Steinbacher, on 9 - 12 March; and Juraj Valčuha conduct the Beethoven 7, along with Schreker's Chamber Symphony and Barber's Violin Concerto with soloist Gil Shaham, on 16 - 18 March.

The San Francisco Symphony will present Yuri Temerkinov leading the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic in two concerts, one on 19 March featuring selections from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and his Violin Concerto 2 (with soloist Sayaka Shoji) and Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe Suite 2, and another on 20 March featuring the Shostakovich 5 and the Brahms Piano Concerto 1 (with soloist Garrick Ohlsson).

Cal Performances presents the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, conducted by Theodore Kuchar, in a program of Verdi (the Overture to La Forza del Destino), Prokofiev (the Piano Concerto #3, with soloist Alexei Grynyuk), and the Shostakovich 5; that's 26 March in Zellerbach Hall.

On 31 March at the Paramount Theater, Michael Morgan leads the Oakland Symphony in the Dvořák 9 (From the New World), along with Gabriela Frank's Concertino and Bruckner's Te Deum, with soloist Hope Briggs (soprano), Betany Coffland (mezzo-soprano), Amitai Pati (tenor), and Anthony Reed (bass), as well as the Oakland Symphony Chorus.

Chamber Music
Chamber Music San Francisco presents the Pavel Haas Quartet on 26 March in Herbst Theater, playing Martinu, Dvořák, and Smetana.

Strings / Keys
Cal Performances presents pianist Jeffrey Kahane playing works by Schubert, Chopin, Timo Andres, and his son Gabriel; that's 12 March at Hertz Hall.

San Francisco Performances and the San Francisco Symphony co-present pianist András Schiff in an all-Schubert program in Davies Hall on 13 March.

San Francisco Performances presents cellist Harriet Krijgh and pianist Magda Amara in a program of Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Rachmaninoff on 16 March at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

San Francisco Performances and the San Francisco Symphony co-present violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist Lambert Orkis playing works by Sebastian Currier, Mozart, Respighi, and Saint-Saëns in Davies Hall on 26 March.

Cal Performances presents soprano Miah Persson, baritone Florian Boesch, and pianist Malcolm Martineau in an all-Schumann program on 19 March in Hertz Hall.

San Francisco Performances presents composer/pianist/vocalist Gabriel Kahane performing Schumann (Dichterliebe) and some of his own works, including Craigslistlieder. That's 5 March at the SF Jazz Center.

San Francisco Performances presents tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Jonathan Biss in an all-Schubert program on 17 March at Herbst Theater; this is the fourth and final installment of a series programmed by Biss exploring the concept of late style.

San Francisco Performances presents tenor Nicholas Phan with pianist Robert Mollicone, performing selections from Phan's latest CD, Gods & Monsterson 22 March as part of the series Salons at the Rex.

San Francisco Performances presents mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly with pianist Joseph Middleton in a program of Schumann, Mahler, Poulenc, Copland, and Richard Rodney Bennett on 23 March at Herbst Theater.

The San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program present the first of this year's Schwabacher Debut Recitals on 26 March at the Taube Atrium Theater, when mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven and baritone Cody Quattlebaum will be accompanied by pianist Mark Morash in a not-yet-announced program.

Volti presents a concert they're calling Mantras, Miracles, Meditations, featuring one movement of Path of Miracles by Joby Talbot, an evening-length depiction for choreographed chorus and dancers of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across Spain (the entire work will be done by Volti next season), along with Lux Aeterna by György Ligeti, The Blue of Distance by Žibuoklé Martinaityté, Into Being by Ingrid Stölzel, and the world premiere of Caeli Enerrant by Robin Estrada; that's 3 March at St Mark's Episcopal in Berkeley or 4 March at St Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco.

Chora Nova performs Dvořák's Mass in D Major and Rheinberger's Stabat Mater on 17 March at St Perpetua in Lafayette and 18 March at First Presbyterian in Berkeley.

Lacuna Arts Chorale celebrate's Bach's birthday with works not only by Bach but later works bearing his influence by Mendelssohn, Herzogenberg, and Brahms; that's 17 March at 1111 O'Farrell Street in San Francisco and 18 March at 1661 15th Street in San Francisco.

Cal Performances presents the Hot Sardines and Jason Moran: Fats Waller Dance Party on 11 March at the Paramount Theater in Oakland.

The SF Jazz Center has a show with the sort of cumbersome title Aaron Diehl presents Jelly & George featuring Adam Birnbaum & Cécile McLorin Salvant; "Jelly" is Jelly Roll Morton and "George" is George Gershwin. That's 16 - 19 March.

The SF Jazz Center presents Joshua Redman along with Ron Miles, Scott Colley, and Brian Blade, from 23 to 26 March.

Cal Performances presents the all-male ballet parody group Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in a 40th anniversary celebration on 3 - 4 March in Zellerbach Hall.

Cal Performances presents the annual residency of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 14 to 19 March in Zellerbach Hall.

San Francisco Ballet has two repertory programs this month: Program 4, from 7 to 18 March, which is an all-Balanchine program featuring Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Prodigal Son (music by Prokofiev), and Diamonds (music by Tchaikovsky); and Program 5, from 9 to 19 March, which is an all-contemporary program featuring Fusion (choreography by Yuri Possokhov, music by Graham Fitkin and Rahul Dev Burman), the world premiere of Salome (choreography by Arthur Pita, music by Frank Moon), and Fearful Symmetries (choreography by Liam Scarlett, music by John Adams).

Visual Arts
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents Matisse / Diebenkorn, which examines the influence of the French modernist on the Californian. This sounds very exciting, and it runs from 11 March to 29 May, so plan several visits.

And just like that, a third of this year has gone by. . . .