The wonderful “Music at Trinity” series is presenting a free concert called “A Valentine Delight: Music for Two Flutes and Piano,” with Paul Fried and Suzanne Duffy, flutes, and Bryan Pezzone, piano, at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara. Admission to the concert is free — although donations are always welcome, in case the lovely music puts you in a generous frame of mind.
The program for this “Valentine Delight” consists of Aaron Copland’s Duo for Flute & Piano (1971); Bohuslav Martinů’s First Sonata for Flute & Piano, H. 306 (1945); Pezzone’s Improvisation Inspiration; Ian Clarke’s “Maya” for Two Flutes & Piano (2000); and Franz Doppler’s “La Sonnambula” Paraphrase in Remembrance of Adelina Patti, Opus 42.
Not your typical musical Valentine, you will agree, but no less romantic — in fact, more so — for being rather exotic. I recently had occasion to characterize the Martinů sonata as “sensuous, elegant, sometimes playful, occasionally haunting, frequently beautiful, and always coherent,” and I could not hope to improve on that so I am simply saying it again. Martinů, not very well-known while he lived (1890-1959), has gained widespread posthumous recognition as one of the greatest of 20th-century Modernists. His music sounds like a unique blend of Parisian wit and Czech folk song.
Ian Clarke’s lushly beautiful “Maya” is probably the most exotic piece on the program — a trip to a rain forest that reminds this listener of W.H. Hudson’s Green Mansions. I may be all wet on this, of course, since I haven’t researched the piece, but it is certainly no mistake to cite Hudson in the context of exotic romance.
The Doppler “paraphrase” — a very popular format in the 19th century — celebrates the famous soprano Adelina Patti (1843-1919). Since Patti outlived Doppler by 35 years, the paraphrase is clearly not a eulogy but the homage of a fan after he had heard her sing the role of Amina in Vincenzo Bellini’s La sonnambula, a performance that took all Europe by storm.