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Gerald Carpenter: From B to Z, Camerata Pacifica Plays the Gamut

Violinist Catherine Leonard, cellist Ani Aznavoorian and pianist Hugh Tinney team up for two concerts on Friday

The March concerts of Camerata Pacifica — at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West — will feature the talents of two musicians of known brilliance, violinist Catherine Leonard and cellist Ani Aznavoorian, and one, pianist Hugh Tinney, whose brilliance may be assumed by context and association.

Alexander Zemlinsky made beautiful music
Alexander Zemlinsky made beautiful music.

In various combinations, they will perform Alexander Zemlinsky’s Three Pieces for Cello & Piano (1891); Ludwig Beethoven’s Sonata No. 10 in G-Major for Violin and Piano, Opus 96 and Johannes Brahms’ Trio No. 1 in B-Major for Piano, Violin and Cello, Opus 8. Those attending the 1 p.m. “lunchtime” concert will not hear the Beethoven piece — except, perhaps, in memory.

Now, Beethoven is Beethoven, and Brahms never wrote more extravagantly beautiful melodies than are to be found in this Trio, so the mystery man here is Zemlinsky (1871-1942).

First off, let me assure you that, although Arnold Schönberg married Zemlinsky’s sister and the two composers remained fast friends for their entire lives, Zemlinsky never wrote atonal music and never attempted a 12-tone composition.

Always an individual, his early compositions nevertheless show the influence of his early patron, Brahms (who got him his first publication — immensely important for any writer of anything), later taking something from Richard Wagner, something from Gustav Mahler — even something from early Schönberg, the hyper-romantic Schönberg of the Gurrelieder — while always keeping his own sound, his own soul.

He was nobody’s disciple. He is overdue for rediscovery.

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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