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Gerald Carpenter: Camerata Pacifica’s Stellar Trio to Shine in Hahn Hall

Camerata Pacifica will play its January program at 1 and 7:30 p.m. Friday in Hahn Hall on the Music Academy of the West Miraflores campus.

Anton Rubinstein looks pretty romantic, for an administrator.
Anton Rubinstein looks pretty romantic, for an administrator.

We’ll hear Camerata stalwarts Catherine Leonard (violin), Richard Yongjae O’Neill (viola) and Warren Jones (piano) play the Violin-Piano Sonata No. 3 in D-Minor, Opus 108 of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897); the Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano (1897) of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937); the Duo in G-Major or Violin and Viola, K. 423 of Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791) and the Viola-Piano Sonata in F-Minor, Opus 49 of Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894). Those attending the 1 p.m. performance will hear only the Brahms and the Rubinstein pieces.

The Ravel sonata is sometimes called the “Sonate Posthume” because it wasn’t published until after the composer’s death. Completed in April 1897, it is in one movement and lasts approximately 14 minutes.

The only — and sketchily documented — performance during Ravel’s lifetime might have been at the Conservatory, with the composer at the piano and Georges Enescu (!) on the violin.

For the next 40 years, Ravel never referred to it again (perhaps, after the premiere, too many people told him how much it sounded like Frederick Delius). The piece was discovered among his papers after he died, but wasn’t given its first, authenticated, public performance until 1975.

In the days of vinyl, the Mozart Duo would sometimes fill out the disk containing the Sinfonia Concertante in Eb-Major, K. 364. David Oistrakh used to show up with his viola at his son Igor’s recitals and give the audience an immense treat with a performance of the work. It is quite a dazzler, quite a charmer.

Rubinstein was a great romantic composer, but for various reasons his compositions still language in the shadows cast by the other brilliant aspects of his career. For one thing, he was one of the greatest virtuoso pianists of the 19th century — an era that valued the piano above all other instruments. For another, he was the founder of the St. Petersburg Conservatory (his brother Nikolai founded the Conservatory in Moscow). Then, too, he was the mentor of Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Finally, though he was Russian through and through, he was not a musical nationalist, his works are written in the dominant international — mostly German — style of the time.

Nevertheless, there is almost none of his prodigious output of piano concerti, symphonies, solo piano works and chamber music that doesn’t make me ask, upon hearing it, “Why haven’t I heard this before?”

For tickets and other concert information, click here or call Camerata Pacifica at 805.884.8410.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are his own.

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» on 01.16.13 @ 09:28 PM

I have been known to both languish and language in the shadows (though never at the same time) and it is good to know I may share those pleasures with Rubinstein’s compositions.

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