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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 9:06 am | Fair 50º


Gerald Carpenter: Music Club to Play Barber, Beethoven and (P.D.Q.) Bach

Peter Schickele is liable to turn into P.D.Q. Bach at the drop of a periwig. (Peter Schaaf photo)
Peter Schickele is liable to turn into P.D.Q. Bach at the drop of a periwig. (Peter Schaaf photo)

The Santa Barbara Music Club will offer its next free concert at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.

The afternoon’s program will be anchored by the pianistic brilliance of Betty Oberacker. First, she will team up with pianist Steven Schneider to play the original four-hands/one-piano version of Samuel Barber’s ballet, Souvenirs, Opus 28, and Peter Schickele’s Overture to the Civilian Barber (1953).

Then Oberacker will join violinist Nicole McKenzie to perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata No. 5 in F-Major for Violin and Piano, Opus 24, “Spring”.

Barber wrote a letter to his publishers (G. Schirmer) describing how Souvenirs came about: “In 1952 I was writing some duets for one piano to play with a friend, and Lincoln Kirstein (general director of the New York City Ballet) suggested that I orchestrate them for a ballet.

The suite consists of a waltz, schottische, pas de deux, two-step, hesitation tango and gallop. One might imagine a divertissement in a setting reminiscent of the Palm Court of the Hotel Plaza in New York, the year about 1914, epoch of the first tangos; ‘Souvenirs’ — remembered with affection, not in irony or the with tongue in cheek, but in amused tenderness.”

Not having heard the Schickele, I can’t very well prepare you for it. The piece was written with the composer wearing his “P.D.Q. Bach” mask, so, forget about straightforward. Clearly, the title is a play on the title of Gioachino Rossini’s Barber of Seville, and may be a spoof of same. The Overture is a mere three minutes in duration.

Not much need be said of the Beethoven. Except for the sui generis “Kreutzer” Sonata


, the “Spring” Sonata is the best-known and most popular of the composer’s 10 violin-piano sonatas. It was written in 1801 and was an immediate and lasting hit.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are his own.

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