Friday, February 23 , 2018, 2:08 pm | Fair 59º


Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra Cues Mozart at the Lobero

Heiichiro Ohyama, Jose Franch Ballester unite to lead Tuesday performance

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of its redoubtable music director, Heiichiro Ohyama, will offer a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Lobero Theatre. Guest artist for the evening will be the Valencia-born clarinetist, Jose Franch Ballester.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, here 24, was about as old as he ever got to be when he wrote his 'Clarinet Concerto.'
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, here 24, was about as old as he ever got to be when he wrote his “Clarinet Concerto.”

The program will be devoted in its entirety to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). I am not sure what the occasion is — it is not a centennial of either his birth or death, and his birthday isn’t until Jan. 26 — but I suppose one doesn’t really need an occasion to play the “Symphony No. 31 in D-Major, K. 297/300a” “Paris”; the “Concerto in A-Major for Clarinet and Orchestra, K. 622”; and the “Symphony No. 38 in D-Major, K. 504” “Prague,” all in the same concert — unless for the sheer joy of doing so.

The “Symphony No. 31 in D-Major” was composed in 1778, in Paris, where the 22-year-old Mozart was seeking, and not finding, a job. The work had its first performance in June of that same year, at a private concert in the home of Count Karl Heinrich Joseph von Sickingen, and its public premiere six days later. It was well reviewed, one writer noting that the sweet little harpsichord virtuoso had turned into a pretty fair composer.

The “Clarinet Concerto” was composed, in the last few weeks before Mozart’s death, at the behest of his friend, clarinetist Anton Stadler — who had brought off the all-but-impossible feat of borrowing money from the chronically indigent composer — for whom he had written the equally celestial “Clarinet Quintet.” It is no coincidence, I think, that this exquisite concerto and the sublime “Piano Concerto No. 23, K. 488” are in the same key of A-Major — indeed, they both begin with the same notes.

As for the “Prague” Symphony, the fact that it has only three movements does not prevent it from being one of Mozart’s grandest essays in the form. The slow, even ominous introduction soon launches into an allegro of irresistible momentum and rather giddy happiness — a mood, if not a pace, that is maintained right through to the last bar of the work.

Tickets to this concert are priced at $44 and $39 and are available at the Lobero Theatre Box Office, 33 E. Canon Perdido, by calling 805.963.0761, 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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