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Camerata and Music Club Offer Chamber Music Concerts

Mozart, Mendelssohn, Telemann and Grieg are the stars of these shows.

The Santa Barbara performances of Camerata Pacifica’s February program of chamber music will take place at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday in Hahn Hall on the Music Academy of the West campus. The participating Camerata members — Catherine Leonard and Nurit Pacht, violins, Richard O’Neill and Toby Appel, violas, and Ani Aznavoorian, cello — will perform Wolfgang Mozart’s String Quintet in C Major, K. 515 and Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quintet in B-flat Major, Opus 87.

Catherine Leonard
Catherine Leonard
Those attending the Camerata’s 1 p.m. “Lunchtime Concert” will hear only the Mozart — which is a very good reason to attend the evening concert instead, if you can. We will be hearing a good deal of Mendelssohn this month — the composer was born Feb. 3, 1809 — and probably for the rest of the year, too, but not this wonderful String Quintet, I daresay, and certainly not by these wonderful musicians. Mendelssohn was 36 when he wrote the work; he had been playing in public since he was 9, and had been systematically composing since he was 12. His mastery of means was complete, and so effortless as to seem invisible. Alan Rich of New York Magazine calls the Quintet “serene,” but I think of it more as “dashing” (1st Mvt.), “rustic” (2nd), “resigned” (3rd), and possibly “mock heroic” (4th), but not “serene,” which makes him sound more of a neo-classicist — and less of a romantic — than he really was.

Click here for tickets to these concerts or call the Camerata at 805.884.8410.

The Santa Barbara Music Club will hold its own Mendelssohn birthday party Feb. 21. For its next “Morning Concert,” at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Santa Barbara Central Library’s Faulkner Gallery, it’s offering a program composed of the Paris Quartet No. 5 in e minor, Book I, by Georg Philipp Telemann, performed by Mary Ho Hartle, flute, Sally Greenebaum, cello, Andrew Saunders, viola da gamba, and John Sonquist, keyboard; the Sonata for Piano in B-flat Major, K. 333, by Mozart, played by Allen Bishop; and six songs by Edvard GriegEin Schwan, Mit eine Wasserlillie, Sie ist so weiss, Solvejg’s Lied, Zwei braune Augen and Der Frühling — sung by soprano Joyce McWilliams, with backing by pianist Robert Krupnick.

Writing in the 1928 edition of the Grove Dictionary, Walter Ford observed that “(t)hough the songs of Grieg are too markedly individual in style and in touch to remain as permanent influence in the history of song, the best of them fully deserve the affection and admiration which have been bestowed upon them.” Always careful not to claim too much for his hero, vis-à-vis the “major” lieder composers like Schubert or Wolf, Ford nevertheless makes quite a case for individual songs: “It is impossible not to recognize genius in the dramatic intensity of Ein Schwan, ...” “... Solvejg’s Lied and the slight but charming Zwei braune Augen display other sides of Grieg’s genius.” And so on.

Like most Music Club events, this one is free and open to the public. Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Music Club.

Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor.

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