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Gerald Carpenter: Music Club Honors ‘Widow’ and Winners

The first of two free concerts this month will be Wednesday morning at the library

The Santa Barbara Music Club will present two free concerts this month, at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 12, and at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 29. Both concerts will be in the Faulkner Gallery of the downtown branch of the Santa Barbara Public Library.

Wednesday’s “Morning Concert” will feature arias from the opera Tiffany: Widow of Seville by Santa Barbara composer William Ramsay, performed by soprano Nichole Dechaine and pianist Egle Januleviciute; violinist Philip Ficsor and pianist Paula Hartley playing the Rondo in C-Major for Violin and Orchestra [Piano], K. 373 by Wolfgang Mozart; En Bateau/In a Boat — a transcription for violin and piano of No. 1, from the Petite Suite for Piano, 4-Hands (1886-89) by Claude Debussy; and Fritz Kreisler’s Chanson Louis XIII and Pavane, “composed in the French Baroque style”; romantic songs by Robert Schumann sung by soprano Marilyn Gilbert, with pianist Val Underwood; and the UCSB Maurice Faulkner Brass Ensemble performing brass music from the baroque and contemporary periods.

Kreisler’s Chanson Louis XIII might be a reworking of a song by — as opposed to about — the French monarch. Louis, who was born in 1601, became king when his father was murdered in 1610, and died in 1643, was a gifted composer, in the formal and melancholy style of the French 17th century. Heaven knows he had time for it; his mother and her favorites governed France until Cardinal Richelieu took over. Louis loved music almost as much as he loved slaughtering birds.

Nor was he the only royal tunesmith — England’s Henry VIII, between murdering his wives, found the time to compose a number of saccharine dances, and Prussia’s Fredrick the Great was an accomplished flautist as well as composer. As you might suppose, all three kings’ compositions got rave reviews while they were alive, but you are likely to hear only the works of Louis XIII nowadays.

The May 29 “Matinée Concert” will be given over entirely to performances by the winners of the 2010 Santa Barbara Music Club Scholarship auditions. Part II will take place in the same venue at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 5.

— 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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