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Gerald Carpenter: Music Academy Goes for Baroque (and Beyond)

Nicholas McGegan will lead the Chamber Orchestra in a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday

The Music Academy of the West Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, will present a concert of mostly baroque works at 8 p.m. Saturday in First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave. in Santa Barbara.

The program will consist of four works: Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Soloist, Strings and Basso Continuo, RV 253/433, known as “La tempesta di mare”; selections from Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera Dardanus; Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto in C-Minor for Violin, Oboe, and Continuo, BWV1060; and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in Bb-Major, Opus 60.

Though as yet unannounced, the soloists will be doubtless drawn from the rich pool of Academy Fellows.

The Vivaldi concerto was originally written for violin, strings and basso continuo, and then the composer transcribed the work for flute and published it in a set of six flute concertos in 1728 — making them, with one exception, the first flute concertos ever published (English composer Robert Woodcock published three in 1727).

Dardanus is an opera in five acts, with a French libretto by Charles-Antoine Leclerc de La Bruère. Its initial run (1739) was 26 performances, which is a lot, and this was due to the enthusiasm of Rameau’s followers in his rivalry with Jean-Baptiste Lully.

The subject, inevitably, is drawn from mythology: King Dardanus was involved with the founding of Troy. I knew I had a recording of some Rameau opera and thought it might be Dardanus, so I went digging in my collection. It wasn’t Dardanus but Neis, and the surprise was that the recording, from 1982, was conducted by McGegan. Now that’s loyalty!

Beethoven didn’t write any bad symphonies. The fourth owes its relative obscurity to coming right after the Eroica and being nothing at all like it. I have maintained previously that the charming and graceful Fourth is, in fact, the first “neo-classical” symphony, and I stand by it. Although he seemed to leave 18th century forms behind with the Third, as the Fourth sublimely attests, there was always more to be made of them.

Tickets to the concert are $45 and can be purchased at the door. To order, click here or call 805.969.8787.

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

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