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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 6:18 am | Fair 49º

 
 
 
 

Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Symphony to Heat Up Granada with ‘Latin Passion’

Guest conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto adds a little kick to this weekend's spicy program

The Santa Barbara Symphony will go Latin with its next concerts, at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in The Granada, 1214 State St.

Guest conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto
Guest conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto

The orchestra will be led by dynamic guest conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, and will feature the virtuosity of rising Canadian violinist Alexandre da Costa.

The spicy program, “Latin Passion,” will include three dances from the ballet The Three-Cornered Hat by Manuel de Falla, Michael Daugherty’s violin concerto Fire & Blood (2003), the orchestral suite from Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen (reorchestrated by Rodion Shchedrin) and José Moncayo’s perennially popular short piece, Huapango (1941).

The de Falla and Bizet pieces are, I’m sure, known and loved by everyone. Moncayo — more completely, José Pablo Moncayo García (1912-1958) — is not nearly as well-known as he should be, considering the attractiveness of his music and the fact that, in the Spanish/Portuguese-speaking world below the Rio Grande, he is on equal footing with Silvestre Revueltas and Carlos Chavez in the top tier of Mexican composers.

The only thing of his that most of us have had a chance to hear is Huapango, although that piece is so delightful it ought to lead us to look into its composer more deeply.

The only composer on the program who is still with us — very much so — is the American of Irish ancestry, Daugherty (born in 1954). Daugherty is of the new breed of composers — those who can almost make a living at it. (This is more of a novelty than you might suppose.) He has also been an inspirational — and influential — teacher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The connection of Fire & Blood to the rest of “Latin Passion” is the same as the connection of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Dead to morbid German art in the late 19th century: Daugherty was moved to write the concerto by looking at the murals known as “Detroit Industry” at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The paintings are by the great Mexican modernist Diego Rivera, done 1932-1934 on a commission from Edsel Ford.

“Rivera’s extraordinary ‘Detroit Industry’ murals,” Daugherty said, “have inspired me to create my own musical fresco for violin and orchestra. It was Rivera himself who predicted the possibility of turning his murals into music, after returning from a tour of the Ford factories: ‘In my ears, I heard the wonderful symphony which came from his factories where metals were shaped into tools for men’s service. It was a new music, waiting for the composer ... to give it communicable form.’”

Tickets to this weekend’s concerts are available through The Granada box office at 1214 State St. or 805.899.2222. Click here to order online. Students with valid student ID can purchase $10 tickets in advance at the box office.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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