Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 1:23 pm | A Few Clouds 72º

 
 
 
 

Gerald Carpenter: UCSB to Perform ‘A Musical Offering’

UCSB's Water Kohn and his wife will team up with guitarist Celino Romero for Thursday's free concert

The UCSB Department of Music, joining forces with UCSB’s Nobel Laureate chemist, Dr. Walter Kohn, and his wife, Mara Vishniac Kohn — as well as renowned classical guitarist Celino Romero — have gathered “A Musical Offering” in the form of a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.

The evening will begin with pianist Betty Oberacker performing the Ricercar à 6 from the Musical Offering, BWV 1079 by Johann Sebastian Bach, followed by the astonishingly beautiful and mysterious one-movement Piano Sonata, Opus 1 by Alban Berg (1885-1935).

Then comes the raison d’être of the event, the Santa Barbara premiere of the String Quartet No. 3 by Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944), played by Westmont College violinists Philip and Claire Ficsor, UCSB violist Richard Rintoul and the inimitable maestro Geoffrey Rutkowski, of UCSB and the Santa Barbara Symphony, on cello. Romero of the Romero Guitar Quartet will conclude the concert with selections from 400 years of classical guitar repertoire.

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote somewhere: “God help the European mind if the Jewish mind is subtracted from it” — the obvious implication being that the European mind would be thereby diminished, possibly to the point of becoming unviable. We all know what happened next: Adolf Hitler and his gang tried to put it to the test. They failed, but at what a cost — not just to Europe, but to the world.

War is, of course, no respecter of talent. World War I managed to snuff out at random at least three extraordinary composers — Rudi Stephan, George Butterworth and Alberic Magnard — not to mention the haunting poet Wilfred Owen, brilliant philosopher T. E. Hulme and remarkable painter-sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

But when we consider the disproportionate contribution of Jews to the arts, scholarship and intellectual activities in the 20th century, the Nazis’ “final solution” seems nothing less than attempted intellectual suicide.

I mention all of this because Ullmann, whose music is the very heart of this Offering, was of Jewish heritage, wrote his Quartet No. 3 while a prisoner at Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943 and was gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau on Oct. 18, 1944.

Dr. Kohn, explaining his donation of this concert to the community, says: “My parents, Salomon and Gittel Kohn, were in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp with Viktor Ullmann. I would like to think that they heard some of his beautiful music.”

— 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. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >