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Bay Choral Guild prepares a program inspired by poetry

Poster design for the next Bay Area Choral Guild concert
Poster design for the next Bay Area Choral Guild concert
courtesy of the Bay Area Choral Guild

The title of the program that Sanford Dole has prepared for next month’s concert by his Bay Choral Guild is Poet’s Corner. The idea is to present settings of texts by major poets by both present and past composers. Dole himself has contributed to the program with “Invitation to a Voyage,” drawing upon one of the most evocative texts from Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal (flowers of evil) collection. The other Bay Area composer on the program will be Michael Kaulkin with his setting Emily Dickinson’s “Are Friends Delight or Pain?”

There will be two featured extended works on the program. The first is a rather unconventional set of chansons (so titled as a reflection on one of the earliest forms of French part song) by Paul Hindemith. What makes this selection somewhat curious is that the texts Hindemith has set were written in French by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. The other major work will be Emma Lou Diemer’s “Verses from the Rubáiyát,” a cycle of five songs based on texts from Edward FitzGerald’s The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

Other composers contributing to the program will be Nils Lundberg, Eric Whitacre, Frank Tcheli, Stacy Garrop, Lloyd Pfautsch, and Nancy Wertsch, setting texts by Sara Teasdale, William Shakespeare, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and William Blake.

The San Francisco performance of Poet’s Corner will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 7. The venue will be St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church at 500 De Haro Street, at the foot of Potrero Hill. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, and $5 for students. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online.