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Gerald Carpenter: Chamber Players Offer Mozart, Wolfgang and Hindemith

Four works will make up the first of the ensemble's two concerts this season

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra “Chamber Players” — the only thing not graceful about them is the name — will perform the first of their two concerts this season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Fleischmann Auditorium of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

The program consists of four works. In the first half, we will hear Wolfgang Mozart’s Douze Variations sur “Ah! Vous dirai-je Maman” / 12 Variations on “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” transcribed by Laurent Hacquard for oboe (Stuart Horn), clarinet (Larry Hughes) and bassoon (Judith Farmer); then the contemporary Austrian Gernot Wolfgang’s Thin Air for string trio (with Amy Hershberger on violin, Valerie Malvinni on viola and Paula Fehrenbach on cello).

Two works by Paul Hindemith will follow the intermission: the charmingly titled Musikalisches Blumengärtlein und Leyptziger Allerley (Musical Flower Garden with Leyptziger Assortment) for clarinet and double bass (with Michael Grego on clarinet and David Young on double bass), and the Kleine Kammermusik, Opus 24 No. 2 with Angela Wiegand on flute, Horn on oboe, Hughes on clarinet, Farmer on bassoon and Jenny Kim on horn.

This is a bold program, but not nearly as off-putting as it appears in print. I don’t know Hindemith’s Musical Flower Garden, but the Kammermusik (Chamber Music) is a lighthearted piece, closer in spirit to Samuel Barber and Carl Nielsen than Arnold Schönberg or Bela Bartok.

If I were trying to get someone who hated Hindemith to give him another chance, this is one of the pieces — along with the Mathis de Maler Symphony and Der Schwanendreher for Viola and Small Orchestra — that I would recommend. Besides, any teacher whose students include Norman Dello Joio, Ulysses Kay, Mel Powell and our own treasure, Emma Lou Diemer — composers who don’t resemble one another at all — has to be a pedagogue of exceptional broad-mindedness.

As for Wolfgang, the fact that his music has been praised by Dave Brubeck ought to reassure you (while praise from Pharoah Sanders or Sonny Rollins might give one pause). Wolfgang was born in Bad Gastein, Austria, in 1957, and currently resides in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the program “Scoring for Motion Pictures and TV” at USC, and holds degrees from Berklee College of Music in Boston and the University of Music in Graz, Austria.

Thin Air was composed in 2002 and revised in 2005. It is in three movements: “Mountain Goat,” “Twilight” “Paws.” Scored for violin, viola and violoncello, it lasts 12 minutes.

Now you know everything I know about it.

Tickets to the concert are available through the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra office at 805.966.2441 or at the door.

— 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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