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Gerald Carpenter: Camerata Pacifica to Play to the ‘Verge’

Friday's double bill in Hahn Hall will feature the work of Sebastian Currier and others

The February concerts of Camerata Pacifica will take place at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 4, in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West.

Composer Sebastian Currier
Composer Sebastian Currier

Camerata members Catherine Leonard on violin, José Franch-Ballester on clarinet and Warren Jones on piano will perform a program of works by Muzio Clementi (Sonata in B-Minor for Piano Solo, Opus 40, No. 2), Robert Schumann (Three Fantasy Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Opus 73), Claude Debussy (First Rhapsody for Clarinet and Piano, Sonata in G-Minor for Violin and Piano) and Sebastian Currier (Verge for Clarinet, Violin and Piano).

The audience for the 1 p.m. concert will hear only the Schumann, the Debussy First Rhapsody and the Currier pieces.

The music lover who is curious and eager to hear music beyond the standard, received canon, and especially the compositions of living composers, has several ways of accomplishing this — of which renting an apartment in New York is no longer the essential first step. With the advent of the Internet, I have found that one of the most fruitful is reading through the concert programs of a trustworthy ensemble, and doing a Google search on any unfamiliar name.

Not only do I uncover a wealth of biographical information and a discography, but generally clickable samples of the composer’s music. So it was with Currier, who is not to be confused with his younger brother, Nathan Kind Currier. (Both Curriers have Web sites, which do not refer to each other in any obvious way — I put it down to a healthy sibling rivalry.)

After listening my way through a generous sampling of his very cool works, I found that Sebastian Currier had this to say of his 1999 composition, Verge: “Verge was written for and dedicated to the Verdehr Trio. The idea for the work is taken from the title of one of the pieces in Schumann’s KinderscenenAlmost Too Serious.

“Implicit in the title is an aesthetic boundary which, although it may be approached, should not be crossed. If the piece were too serious, it would cause it to be out of balance with the simple, childlike world of Kinderscenen as a whole. On the other hand, as long as it does not cross this threshold, it may come as close as possible. It is this idea of being on the verge of some extremity or another that becomes the basis of my piece. Each of the nine movements stands on the edge of excess, and I use the phrase borrowed from Schumann to describe them: almost too fast, almost too slow, almost too mechanical, almost too dark, almost too light, almost too fractured, almost too much, almost too little, almost too calm. The nine movements can be divided into cycles of three, each beginning with a pair of movements that oppose one another: fast — slow, dark — light, etc. Almost too much forms the dramatic center of the whole. Almost too fractured presents brief quotations from the other movements.”

For tickets and other concert information, click here or call Camerata Pacifica at 805.884.8410.

— 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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