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Kaneez Munjee

Kaneez Munjee is a singer, writer, and editor. She holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford University, and specializes in late 17th- and early 18th-century French music.

Articles by this Author

Choral Review
November 19, 2011

A Finnish paean to nature and the Earth itself is sung for the first time on the West Coast.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
December 12, 2010

Holiday concerts by the SFEMS bring a number of unusual sounds to Bay Area audiences. Sunday’s concert presented Ciaramella, an ensemble dedicated to music of the 15th century, showcasing the celebratory Renaissance music of the season, and how pleasing it can be to modern audiences.

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Chamber Music Review
October 30, 2010

At 20th-anniversary concerts of Musica Pacifica offered performers who reach far beyond merely creating beautiful sounds: They truly create music by infusing the composers’ notes with energy and passion, and with the elusive-but-essential breath of life.

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Choral Review
September 17, 2010

Chanticleer began its 33rd season this week with “Out of This World,” a program built around music referencing the stars, the planets, and the heavens. The men’s chorus drew principally on music of the Renaissance, Romantic, and modern eras, and delivered a performance that was varied in content, well-nuanced, and crowd-pleasing.

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Upcoming Concert
June 28, 2010

How do you get to be a successful opera singer? According to Sylvia Anderson, founder of the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI), it takes a combination of talent, vocal and acting techniques, time and experience, confidence, honesty, and — most of all — the passion to want it “with all of your heart.” 

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Upcoming Concert
May 10, 2010

Chora Nova performs one of Rossini’s greatest works, the Petite Messe solennelle — neither little, solemn, nor even really a Mass — on May 29, under the direction of Paul Flight, providing an opportunity to hear this Mass in something close to its original version.

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Upcoming Concert
November 23, 2009
The glorious sounds of choral music for the Christmas season come in many forms, and the California Bach Society’s “Advent in Dresden 1620” concerts, presented Dec. 4-6 in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Berkeley, promise musical splendor in an old and lush tradition. Featuring music by Michael Praetorius, Heinrich Schütz, Samuel Scheidt, and Johann Heinrich Schein — four prominent composers associated with the early-17th -century Dresden court — the program follows the order of a traditional Vespers service, taking the audience through the expectations, the solemn reflections, and the joys of the Advent season.

“The beauty of this program lies in the contrast between the simple and the complex,” says Artistic Director Paul Flight. The simple element is the Lutheran hymn tunes that underlie nearly all this music. The Society will sing a few hymns in traditional Lutheran settings, though most of the program will reflect the complex element — these tunes woven into intricate counterpoint and often decorated with breathtaking ornamentation. “One can only marvel at the skills of the North German composers Schütz, Schein, Scheidt, and Praetorius,” Flight adds, “as they develop every musical possibility inherent in the tune.”

Praetorius is the featured composer on the program. Audiences will hear his unique settings of such familiar tunes as Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme; Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland; and Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, as well as his less familiar Magnificat super Ut re mi fa sol la, based on the simple melodic motive of six ascending notes of the scale. The offerings from the other composers feature antiphonal writing. Schein’s Aus tiefer Not is a complex canon for two voices with continuo, while Scheidt’s version of Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland and Duo Seraphim and Schütz’ setting of Psalm 128 are for double choir, showing the influences of the Venetian polychoral tradition.

It has been many years since the California Bach Society presented an all-German Christmas (or Advent) concert, as it has been focusing recently on Italian and French offerings, to enthusiastic acclaim. The German Lutheran settings offered this season are unique and moving, says Flight, in part because they present a “heartfelt, pietistic poetry,” layered with a new interest in an expressive musical language that prized word painting and heightened emotions.

For fans of either the 17th century or the German musical tradition, this program is a perfect fit. For listeners who do not know this tradition, this concert promises to open wide the doors of a rich musical world. And for anyone who simply wants to hear classic choral music of the season sung with adept passion, this is a concert not to be missed.

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Choral Review
June 7, 2009

To close a season embracing music mostly of the modern era, Chanticleer returned to its founding ideals on Sunday night at San Francisco’s Mission Dolores, with an entirely Renaissance program, sung a cappella.

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Archive Review
October 21, 2008

The San Francisco Bach Choir began its 73rd season last weekend with a concert titled “Before Bach: A Family Portrait,” paying homage to Johann Sebastian’s musical predecessors. As the program notes explained, Sebastian himself was interested in his genealogy, and in 1735 drew up a family tree dating back to the 1500s, which is the most reliable document we have today on the entire Bach family. Sebastian also collected and performed pieces by his family members, which is likely the reason that most of those works survive today.

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Archive Review
June 12, 2007

The Cantabile Chorale has a new sound. Some aspects of this hold great promise, while other aspects suggest areas that could do with some ironing out. Friday night's concert at St. Gregory Nyssa in San Francisco, titled "Bach, Beatles, and Beyond," demonstrated this ably.

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