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Gerald Carpenter: Music Club to Get in Tune with ‘Music and Nature’

Works by Young and Büsser will top the program for Saturday's free matinée

The Santa Barbara Music Club will introduce the theme “Music and Nature” to its free matinée concert at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery, with the entire program exploring the strong affinity between composers and the natural world.

French composer Henri Büsser
French composer Henri Büsser

The concert will begin with Song of the Lark (1989: Song to the Waking Sun, Flight, Into Darkness) by Charles Rochester Young and Les Cygnes by Henri Büsser, performed by the exciting new duo of Suzanne Duffy on flute and Jennifer Sayre on harp.

The concert will continue with four Lyric Pieces (Butterfly, Opus 43, No. 1; Brooklet, Opus 62, No. 4; Little Bird, Opus 43, No. 4; and Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, Opus 65, No. 6) by Edvard Hagerup Grieg and played by Robert Else on piano; and will conclude with soprano Deborah Bertling, accompanied by pianist Renée Hamaty, singing Morgen, Opus 27, No. 4 and Die Nacht, Opus 10, No. 3 — both by Richard Strauss (1864-1949), plus I Love All Graceful Things by Eric Thiman.

Young (born in 1965) was educated at Baylor University and the University of Michigan. He is a professor of theory, composition and electronic music at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His compositions, particularly those involving wind instruments, have been performed on five continents and in all 50 states.

It could be said of Büsser (1872-1973), as it was said of Thomas Hobbes, that he outlived all of his enemies — except that Büsser seems to have made it to age 101 without acquiring any.

He studied with César Franck; was musical secretary to Charles Gounod; was appointed organist at Saint-Cloud; won the 1893 Prix de Rome for music; conducted, at the composer’s request, the fourth and all subsequent performances of Claude Debussy’s Pelléas at Mélisande; and was a protégé of Jules Massenet. His most notable compositions were for the stage — operas, ballets and incidental music — but he also wrote a good deal of excellent chamber music.

I note with approval that the piano and chamber compositions of Grieg (1843-1907) are edging their way back onto the programs of discriminating soloists and ensembles everywhere. The small Norwegian wrote lots of terrific music besides Peer Gynt and the Piano Concerto in A-Major.

Thiman (1900-75) was an English composer and organist. Self-taught, he taught others as professor of harmony at the Royal Academy of Music and as dean of the faculty of music at the University of London. He composed mainly for the organ and for church choir — especially, in the latter case, a short passion cantata, The Last Supper, which sets texts from St. Matthew and St. John, plus hymns by St. Thomas Aquinas, Charles Wesley and Johannes Franck.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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