UCSB Arts & Lectures is bringing the sensational young German violinist Julia Fischer to town for her Santa Barbara debut at 8 p.m. Thursday in Campbell Hall at UCSB. Milana Chernyavska will provide pianistic support.
For their only California appearance on this tour, Fischer and Chernyavska will perform Wolfgang Mozart’s Sonata in Bb-Major for Piano and Violin, K. 454, Franz Schubert’s Rondeau brillant for Violin and Piano in B-Minor, Opus 70, Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G-Minor (1917) and Camille Saint-Saëns’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in D-Minor, Opus 75.
The program is elegantly balanced between Vienna and Paris, between 1800 — when classical was becoming romantic — and 1900 — when romantic was becoming modern. None of these composers was, as a performer, mainly a violinist. Mozart could play a violin very well, but he could pick up anything with strings or a keyboard and be worth listening to.
All four of these composers wrote brilliantly for the violin, but when one of their violin pieces was to be performed, they played the piano part. They were all notable pianists.
The second — French — half of the program is intensely Proustian. The novelist was a music lover and reviewed concerts. He thought Saint-Saëns was a “genius” of a pianist. He admired Debussy as a composer over all contemporary musicians, yet handled his fictional counterpart (the composer Vinteuil), rather roughly in the first volume of In Search of Lost Time. The bulk of that volume is the story of Charles Swann and his marriage to Odette.
As their meeting becomes an affair, then an obsession, a courtship and finally a marriage, the couple maintain an extensive social calendar.
Everywhere they go, there are musicians, and the musicians play a phrase from a sonata by Vinteuil, a “little phrase,” because everyone knows that Swann likes it, and he does. The little phrase has become the music of the passionate time he is going through. The little phrase came from the E-Minor Sonata of Saint-Saëns.
Tickets to Fischer’s concert are $40 for the general public and $10 for all students — UCSB or otherwise — with a valid ID. For tickets or more information, click here or call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805.893.3535.