September Classical Roundup: The Sound of History


San Francisco Symphony at Civic Center

For its one-hundredth birthday bash, the San Francisco Symphony hits the city streets with a free concert in Civic Center Plaza on September 8. Food trucks and hordes of people will be lounging in the sun (or fog -  let's be real here) as Michael Tilson Thomas kicks up the string section with his baton and Joe Lang Lang takes the piano bench. You'll hear Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major and Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. If you get there early enough, you can snag free treats from Ghirardelli and La Boulange. 

September 8, noon. Civic Center Plaza, Polk and McAllister Streets. Tickets are free. 

Catacoustic Consort and Wildcat Viols

If you've ever wondered what 17th-century Germany sounded like, come hear the Catacoustic Consort and Wildcat Viols perform the rich cantatas by the lesser known but no less brilliant generation of composers sandwiched between Heinrich Schütz and Johann Sebastian Bach. On the program are works by Franz Tunder, Matthias Weckmann and Christoph Bernhard, all reflecting the current events of their Europe - the death of Queen Elizabeth, civil war in France, the end of the Golden Age in Spain - and the surge of creativity that followed. 

September 11. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell Street. Tickets are $28-35 at 510-528-1725.

Philharmonia Baroque Presents Mozart and Haydn: A Tale of Two Cities

Prague was good to Mozart - The Marriage of Figaro was very well-received - so Mozart was good to Prague. Composed in 1786, Mozart's Symphony No. 38 in D Major, nicknamed Prague, is boisterous and operatic and was a smash hit with the Czechs. Philharmonia Baroque also performs a reconstruction of Mozart's unfinished Concerto for Horn and Orchestra in E-flat Major, with the recently-discovered manuscript of the second movement, as well as Haydn's Symphony No. 98 in B-flat major and Beck's La Mort d'Orphee, originally a ballet score that survived long after the ballet it accompanied was lost. 

September 23. Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Avenue. Tickets are $25-90 at

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