Tuesday, August 21 , 2018, 12:05 am | A Few Clouds 67º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Music Club Schedules Two Great Pianists

Betty Oberacker and Zeynep Ucbasaran tune up for works of Chopin, Liszt and Beethoven

The Santa Barbara Music Club’s free concert — at 3 p.m. Saturday Santa Barbara Central Library’s Faulkner Gallery — will showcase the talents of two extraordinary pianists, Zeynep Ucbasaran and Betty Oberacker, the latter in collaboration with the gifted fiddler, Philip Ficsor.

Ucbasaran will perform three works by Frederic Chopin — the “Polonaise No. 1 in c-sharp minor, Opus 26;” the “Polonaise No. 2 in e-flat minor, Op. 26;” and the “Scherzo No. 3 in c-sharp minor, Opus 39” — and one by Franz Liszt, his “Grande paraphrase de la marche de Donizetti.”

Oberacker and Ficsor will play the “Piano-Violin Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Opus 96,” by Ludwig van Beethoven.

I was somewhat surprised, upon consulting Ucbasaran’s discography, to learn she has so far recorded no Chopin, but has devoted two whole CDs to his friend and contemporary, Liszt. Zeynep, with her exquisite delicacy and poetic soul, would have seemed to have a natural affinity for the Pole. She has recorded five discs worth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and one of Franz Schubert. So we have grounds for hope that she will soon be giving us a permanent record of her insights on the works of the most “poetic” of all keyboard composers. The three Chopin works on the Music Club program make it a special treat.

The “Opus 96” is the last of Beethoven’s 10 Piano-Violin sonatas. Some nine years separate it from its famous and spectacular predecessor, the “Sonata in A Major, Opus 47,” the “Kreutzer,” from which it is as different, in the words of Sidney Finkelstein, “as it is possible for one masterpiece to be from another by the same hand.” Beethoven has left behind the questing world of the “Kreutzer,” the “Appassionata,” the “Eroica,” and has moved on to the resignation and lofty tranquility of the late quartets. The pianist for the premiere performance in 1812 was the same Archduke Rudolf, crown prince of Austria, for whom Beethoven had written the “Archduke Trio.” I’m sure Rudy was a decent enough pianist — not that any critic would want to risk imprisonment by trashing the piano-playing of an archduke — but I’m sure any objective judge would say Betty played it better.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor.

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