Rupertum celebra.

Last night we shared a wonderful experience in performing Biber’s great Missa Salisburgensis. One of the lines from the final movement — which celebrates Rupert, the patron saint of Salzburg — is, “This blessed day is thrice delightful, a day full of pleasures.” That certainly describes yesterday!

• We heard a sensational work, so rarely performed, and previously unexperienced by nearly all of us as performers,

• We heard so many of our Academy Participants singing and playing their hearts out in the performance, and

• We celebrated this grand community we have here in the San Francisco Bay Area of early music aficionados and performers.

It was quite a sight to behold the SF Conservatory’s Concert Hall packed to the rafters. And the enthusiasm of the audience was gratefully received by all the singers and players. From the front row, the shout of “encore” produced one more round of the final chorus, and enabled the performers to enjoy a few more minutes of a work that we have come to love.

The concert began with a gorgeous performance of the Passacaglia for Solo Violin from Biber’s “Mystery Sonatas” by Robert Mealy, and that was followed by baroque trumpeter John Thiessen and violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock taking the solo roles in a beautiful sonata in five parts…all serving as a gradual warm-up to the big sonorities of the Salzburg Mass.

If you haven’t been able to join us for the concerts so far, do check out upcoming editions of the wonderful online resource, San Francisco Classical Voice (SFCV.org). Their senior editor and content manager, Michael Zwiebach, has been following the progress of our rehearsals for the Biber and will post a mini-documentry about it soon.

Another highlight of yesterday was the fascinating Colloquium on pitch, tuning, and temperaments, led by our resident genius and violone player, Steven Lehning. His faculty colleagues joined in, offering some brilliant explanations of the puzzles that have to be worked out when considering proper tuning methods for early music performance. We finished the three-hour public session with a Q&A during which we shared stories about our own experiences with the often-times complicated ways to resolve the tuning challenges we face as performers. Next week will bring more presentations by faculty, including a series of five lectures, Tuesday through Saturday.

Now, off for some final rehearsals with our Academy members for Bach’s Mass in B Minor!