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Gerald Carpenter: Music Academy Hosting Concerto Competition, Gil Shaham

Double-your-pleasure fun begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, concluding with a recital at 8 p.m.

This weekend will bring another double-your-pleasure Saturday at the Music Academy of the West.

Franz Schubert was more at home in a friend’s salon than in the concert hall.
Franz Schubert was more at home in a friend’s salon than in the concert hall.

Starting at 9:30 a.m. and lasting through two sessions at Hahn Hall, we will have the final rounds of the Concerto Night competitions, as the solo piano and instrumental fellows vie to see who will front the Festival Orchestra as soloists on the wildly popular Concerto Night concert, planned for Saturday, July 21.

Then, at 8 p.m. that evening, also in Hahn Hall, Mosher Guest Artist violinist Gil Shaham will perform a recital; faculty artist pianist Jonathan Feldman will have his back.

New to the academy this summer, Shaham is no stranger to Santa Barbara, where he has wowed audiences as, if memory serves, a guest soloist with the Santa Barbara Symphony and with one or more of the visiting orchestras in CAMA’s International series, as well as having his star turn in a CAMA Masterseries.

Shaham’s and Feldman’s program consists of three works: the Sonatina No. 2 in A-Minor for Violin and Piano, D. 385, Opus 137 by Franz Schubert, the Partita No. 2 in D-Minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1004 by Johann Sebastian Bach and the Sonata in A-Major for Violin and Piano by César Franck.

Schubert never wrote a violin concerto — for that matter, though himself a brilliant pianist, he never wrote a piano concerto, nor, indeed, a full-length concerto for any instrument. I used to own a disc from the Musical Heritage Society containing three or four short, inconsequential concerted works for violin and orchestra, composed in his early teens. They were pleasant but unmemorable.

Nor can we listen to either of the violin-piano sonatas or the three violin-piano sonatinas as reduced or attempted concertos. Of the larger orchestra forms, only the symphony seems to have engaged his full creative attention — with famously mixed results. He lacked the assertive, combative gifts of a Ludwig van Beethoven or Niccolò Paganini; nowadays we would say he lacked the ego. His true genius was for lyricism and intimacy, and this Sonatina is a perfect expression of it — poignant, exquisite, lovely.

The first session of the Concerto Night competition finals will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon; the second session will begin at 1:45 p.m. Admission to each session is separate. Morning tickets are $13, afternoon tickets are $14. For those attending both sessions, the academy warmly recommends a picnic lunch on the beautiful Miraflores grounds.

Reserved seats to the Shaham/Feldman recital are $40 (including Miraflores facility fee), and they are available from the Music Academy ticket office at 805.969.8787.

— 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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