The program demonstrates the breadth and depth of the club’s collective taste. The afternoon begins with the Pacifica Chamber Ensemble (Suzanne Duffy on flute, Claude-Lise Lafranque on violin and Ervin Klinkon on cello) in the London Trio (Trio No. 3 in G Major for Flute, Violin and Cello Hob. IV:2) by Franz Joseph Haydn. Then, pianist Sio Tepper will play two pieces by Sergei Rachmaninov: Lilacs (transcribed by the composer from his 1902 song of the same name, Opus 21, No. 5) and his Prelude in B Minor, Opus 32 No. 10.
After the Rachmaninov, mezzo-soprano Leslie Cook and pianist John Sonquist will perform the following songs and arias: Silent Noon by Ralph Vaughan Williams; Hence, Iris, Hence Away (from Semele) by George Frideric Handel; Polina’s Aria (from The Queen of Spades) by Peter Tchaikovsky; Que fais-tu (from Romeo & Juliet) by Charles Gounod; and We’ll Gather Lilacs by movie star Ivor Novello.
The glorious sounds conclude with a rendering of Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G Minor (Christmas Concerto) by the Cathedral Oaks Players (Laury Woods, Alan Busteed, Gloria Autry and Elaine Schott on violins; Dave Gorbet on viola; Andrew Saunders and Jeannot Maha’a on baroque cellos; and Neal Garber on contrabass violone).
Perusing the program, the following — more or less random and inconsequential — thoughts occur to me. Haydn was lionized in England, he was wined and dined and seduced by duchesses; he had, in return, a tremendous affection for the English people. But he hated the English weather and the English food — doesn’t everybody? — and couldn’t wait to get back to Vienna.
Rachmaninov must have been very fond of the Lilacs transcription, since he recorded it himself — twice. And it will be a treat to hear a Novello song; he was played by Jeremy Northam in Robert Altman’s amazing Gosford Park, the only sympathetic upstairs character — but then, he was there by merit, not birth.
For more information about the Santa Barbara Music Club, click here or call 805.683.0811.
— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at email@example.com.