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Arts & Entertainment Presented by Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts


Gerald Carpenter: Camerata Pacifica to Play Mostly Modern Program

By Gerald Carpenter, Noozhawk Contributing Writer |

Camerata Pacifica will perform its May concerts at 1 and 7:30 p.m. Friday in Hahn Hall on the campus of the Music Academy of the West.

Jake Heggie
Composer Jake Heggie brings us a repeat bouquet of "Winter Roses."

Olivier Messiaen's Appel Interstellaire from Des canyons aux étoiles...(1972); Jake Heggie's song cycle, Winter Roses (2004); Robert Schumann's Adagio & Allegro in Ab-Major for Horn and Piano, Opus 70 (1849); and Joseph Rheinberger's Nonet in Eb-Major, Opus139 (1884). Those attending the "lunchtime" concert will hear just the Heggie and Rheinberger pieces.

The participating Cameratans will include Erik Arvinder (violin), Jennifer Johnson (oboe), Kate Allen (mezzo-soprano), Martin Owen (horn), Tereza Stanislav (violin), John Steinmetz (bassoon), pianist Adam Neiman (piano), Jose Franch-Ballester (clarinet), Timothy Eckert (bass), flautist Adrian Spence (flute), Ani Aznavoorian (cello) and Richard Yongjae O’Neill (viola).

Appel Interstellaire/Interstellar Call is the sixth movement of Messiaen's Des canyons aux étoiles (From the canyons to the stars), a very large, 12-movement orchestral work commissioned by the American patroness Alice Tully to celebrate — bet you'd never think it to hear it — the bicentenary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Most of the work was composed after Messiaen received the commission, but the Appel Interstellaire/Interstellar Call was written before, and for an entirely different purpose — a collaborative memorial by French composers for one of their own. Messiaen is no doubt a great composer, but I confess that his music baffles me.

Heggie, a remarkable young composer, wrote the exquisite Winter Roses for the incomparable mezzo Frederica von Stade on a commission from Richard and Luci Janssen for Camerata Pacifica. The work sets texts by Charlene Baldridge, Emily Dickinson, Frederica von Stade and Raymond Carver. It was premiered on Oct. 9, 2004, at the Marjorie Luke Theatre by Von Stade and members of Camerata.

Owen will, presumably, perform the lovely Schumann work, but the composer was quite clear that a cello or violin would also do. It is damned hard to play on horn, much more manageable on a stringed instrument.

I think I recall that the Camerata performed the Rheinberger piece at least once before, but I must have been in an unreceptive mood that night. Hearing it now on several recordings, I'm just mad about it. Rheinberger (1839-1901) has a reputation as a backward-looking composer, but I wonder: Close your eyes and you are in the world of the Siegfried Idyll, which is sort of looking back, but not in the way his hero Johannes Brahms would approve. And the Nonet seems to anticipate the entire oeuvre of Franz Schmidt (1874-1939) in its lighthearted, somewhat impressionistic lyricism.

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

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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