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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 12:19 am | Fair 46º


Gerald Carpenter: Remmereit to Pinch-Hit for Academy Orchestra

He replaces Jeffrey Kahane as conductor for Saturday's concert in The Granada

We will next get to hear the Music Academy of the West’s wonderful Festival Orchestra at 8 p.m. Saturday in The Granada.

Versatile maestro Jeffrey Kahane, scheduled to conduct, called in sick, and his place has been taken by Arild Remmereit, who has made quite a name for himself as a pinch hitter. He makes a good fit for the academy, since the makeup of the Festival Orchestra itself is very much a last-minute sort of affair, and Kahane had never conducted this version of it either.

Kahane’s program remains in place. It consists of three works: Sergei Rachmaninov’s tone poem, The Isle of the Dead; the Meditation and Dance of Revenge from Samuel Barber’s ballet Medea; and Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, Petrushka.

Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin painted his first version of The Isle of the Dead in 1880, the fifth and last in 1886. (By far the creepiest, in my opinion, was the first.) He apparently knew he had a hit on his hands right away — he had painted the first on a commission for a patron, but kept it himself. It became one of those works of art that seizes the European imagination to a degree greatly in excess of its lasting value. Usually, the works are literary, not pictorial, but by the 1880s, the print-making process had reached a high level of accuracy and sophistication, and by the first decades of the 20th century, prints of The Isle of the Dead were ubiquitous.

Novelist Vladimir Nabokov wrote that, in Berlin in the 1920s, every middle-class home had a print of the painting on the wall. It is a fact that such diverse characters as Sigmund Freud, Vladimir Lenin and French Premier Georges Clemenceau all had prints of Die Toteninsel on the walls of their offices. When the original of the third version came on the market in 1933, it was immediately snapped up by Adolf Hitler, who hung it at the Berghof in Obersalzberg, later moving it to the new Reich Chancellery in Berlin. It was the fifth version — the painting itself, not a print — that Rachmaninov saw, in 1906, in Leipzig, and the result was one of his greatest orchestral scores.

For tickets and more information about the Music Academy, click here or call 805.969.8787.

Tickets to the concert are also 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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