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Kanbar Performing Arts Center will showcase the music of Lisa Bielawa

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The Kanbar Performing Arts Center serves as the “home base” for the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC). It therefore seems like an appropriate venue for the presentation of a recital consisting entirely of compositions by Lisa Bielawa, now SFGC Artistic Director. The performers for this concert will be baritone Joe Chappel, who will be in San Francisco for the SFGC performance of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde this Saturday (March 29) to sing the role of Noah, Dan Carlson, violinist with the San Francisco Symphony (SFS), just returned from the SFS European tour, and pianist Paul Vasile.

All three musicians will perform the major work on the program. This is The Lay of Love and Death, a song cycle setting of Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (the lay of love and death of Cornet [standard-bearer] Christoph Rilke), an epic tale, written in highly poetic language, by Rainer Maria Rilke. (Readers of my national site may recall that an organ accompaniment for a reading of this text was written by the Austrian composer Victor Ullmann, one of several Jewish composers to perish in the Auschwitz concentration camp.) Vasile will also perform two solo piano works by Bielawa, “Elegy-Portrait” and “Wait.” The first of these was built from materials intended to be part of The Lay of Love and Death. “Wait,” on the other hand, is scored for solo piano and drone and is one of four pieces, each of which is based on a verb from Vladimir Nabokov’s translation of six lines from another major epic, Alexander Pushkin’s verse novel Eugene Onegin.

This concert will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1. The Kanbar Performing Arts Center is located at 44 Page Street. Admission will be $10 paid at the door in cash or by check.

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