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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 9:21 am | Fair 53º


Margo Kline: Music Club Serves a Feast of Sound

Monthly concert features punk cello, a Dos Pueblos High School pianist and Mozart, Doppler and Wendling

The Santa Barbara Music Club, at its monthly concert in the Santa Barbara Central Library’s Faulkner Gallery on Saturday, offered a varied feast of sound, with remarkable performers.

Celebrating its 40th year, the Music Club is one of the treasures of this community. It provides often brilliant concerts in the gallery at the downtown library, and the charge for admission is exactly zero. These monthly offerings are absolutely free, and valuable beyond measure.

Saturday’s concert offered a program of chamber works, concluding with a performance by cellist Misha Bodnar and pianist Ellen Feldman that was, in the vernacular, a barn burner. The two gave a breathtaking reading of the “Sonata in E minor, Op. 38,” by Johannes Brahms.

A scion of a family of fine string artists, Bodnar is a brilliant classical cellist and teacher. He is also a practitioner and advocate of punk cello, with his group Bela Lugosi. This performance was purely classical and brilliantly played. Bodnar’s appearance was a bit punkish, perhaps, but it didn’t interfere with his artistry. Feldman is still a senior in high school (Dos Pueblos), a Music Club scholarship recipient and an accomplished chamber musician. The duo did full justice to the Brahms.

Before this slightly offbeat pair, the Lithuanian-born pianist Egle Januleviciute gave an exquisite performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Sonata in C major, K. 330.” Januleviciute is another one of Santa Barbara’s artistic wonders. Any time she appears her many admirers turn out.

The concert began with a spirited “Duettino Americain,” Op. 37 by Franz Doppler, played by flutists Andrea Di Maggio and Suzanne Duffy and pianist Neil Di Maggio. Born in what is now Ukraine in 1821, the composer was one of those Eastern Europeans drawn to the “exotic” sounds of the New World. This work, lively and rhythmically challenging, was explored with gusto by the three musicians.

It was followed the “Quartet in G major, Op. 10, No. 4” of Johann Baptist Wendling, a German-born flautist and composer who sometimes toured with Mozart. The players were Isabel Gallagher, flute; Bernard Gondos, violin; Derek Katz, viola; and Carol Roe, cello. Katz’s viola was especially pleasing in the second, andante movement.

Too much praise is as pointless as too little, but it really is difficult to overstate the pleasure of a concert like this one. The Santa Barbara Music Club reliably comes up with diverse programs, music that ranges from not even familiar to the treasured classics, and performers from the wealth of fine professionals with which our community is blessed.

The next regular Music Club concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Faulkner. Works by Haydn, Rachmaninov and Corelli are planned, along with a selection of arias and art songs to be sung by soprano Leslie Cook, accompanied by John Sonquist at the piano.

— Margo Kline covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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