Friday, April 20 , 2018, 7:52 pm | Fair 59º


Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Symphony Covers 100 Years of Music

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane will grace The Granada stage as guest artist Sunday afternoon

This month’s concerts by the Santa Barbara Symphony will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday in The Granada.

Music director Nir Kabaretti will conduct. This month’s guest artist is the multitalented Jeffrey Kahane, here in his capacity as piano virtuoso — one might almost say piano hero.

The program includes Paul Hindemith’s Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Opus 50, Joseph Schwantner’s Chasing Light ... and Sergei Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 3 in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 30, with Kahane as soloist.

Hindemith’s Concert Music was written in 1930-31 for the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which under the baton of that great benefactor of music, Sergei Koussevitzky, premiered the work on April 3, 1931. It is a jaunty, ebullient work, often reminiscent of Carl Nielsen, but unmistakably by the same man who wrote Mathis der Maler.

In 1979, Schwantner’s symphonic piece, Aftertones of Infinity, received the Pulitzer Prize. Since then, Schwantner — who was born (1943) and raised in Chicago, and educated there or nearby (Northwestern) — has enjoyed the kind of prestige usually reserved for European composers. Chasing Light … premiered in 2008, to great critical and popular enthusiasm.

“Rachmaninov” is such a lovely name, rolling so grandly off the tongue, and his Third Piano Concerto is such a majestic and noble work — why anyone would use the harsh and vulgar diminutive “Rach 3” (pronounced “rack”) is beyond me. It makes it sound like a kind of submachine gun. I have been around musicians all my life and have been listening to the Third Piano Concerto since I was a child, and I never heard anyone refer to the work as the “Rach 3” until the 1996 film Shine.

In any case, every chance to hear the work played live is a privilege, and never more so than when the soloist is an artist of Kahane’s stature, the conductor a man of Maestro Kabaretti’s insight and sympathy. The concerto has a special relationship with America, since Rachmaninov wrote it, in 1909, to play for that year’s tour of the United States.

Tickets to the concerts are available from the Granada box office at 1214 State St. or 805.899.2222, or click here to order online.

— 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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