Pixel Tracker

Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 1:58 pm | Fair 65º


Symphony’s ‘New World’ Dawns at Granada

The program was a fitting choice to lift the spirits of a community still reeling from the Tea Fire.

When the Santa Barbara Symphony programmed Antonin Dvorak‘s “New World Symphony” for its pre-Thanksgiving concert, no one could have foreseen the devastating wildfires in the community.

So it was a fortunate convergence that brought the orchestra and its devotees to The Granada Theatre last weekend. Dvorak’s powerful and uplifting Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” could not have been a more fitting choice to lift the spirits.

By all accounts, Dvorak was a happy man. When he landed in New York in 1892, he immediately embraced the new world’s musical influences.

Nir Kabaretti led the symphony in a vigorous reading of the work, summoning solo passages from a number of the orchestra members. Concertmaster Caroline Campbell played like a whirlwind. Principal cello Geoffrey Rutkowski was in splendid form. Francine Jacobs on flute, Lara Wickes on oboe and Andy Radford on bassoon all had moments illustrating why they are orchestra principals.

Maestro Kabaretti has broadened and deepened his command of this orchestra. The conductor and symphony have never sounded better than they did on Sunday.

The first half of the program was given over to compositions by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Miklos Rozsa, two serious European masters who became best known as composers of music for Hollywood movies.

Rozsa’s Viola Concerto, Op. 37, was played brilliantly by Gilad Karni, who is scheduled to record the work with the Budapest Concert Orchestra in the near future.

Karni’s resume covers an immense amount of ground — Israel, Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Switzerland and others. His playing here was a reflection of his concertizing experience, buyoant and assured. He and Kabaretti showed a rapport that produced a splendid performance. The audience rang with bravos at the conclusion, as soloist and conductor embraced spontaneously.

That Rozsa produced such serious works for the concert stage is especially noteworthy, given his great success in Hollywood. He created sound tracks for Alfred Hitchcock‘s Spellbound, the dramatic The Lost Weekend and epics the like of Ben Hur.

Before the viola concerto was played, Kabaretti had the sound system play an excerpt of a long-ago interview with Rozsa. Asked the difference between composing for the concert stage and the cinema, Rozsa said, “People go to concerts for the music. They go to the cinema for Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor.” Rozsa could be heard chuckling, and the Granada audience laughed heartily. It should be noted that Rozsa’s film scores earned him three Academy Awards over the years.

The concert began with Korngold’s Theme and Variations, Opus 42, written in 1953. Korngold was one of the many Europeans who landed in Los Angeles after Hitler began his conquest of Europe. A Viennese Jew, Korngold immediately began writing for movies after he arrived in California, but continued his classical composing. He, also, was an Academy Award winner.

His Theme and Variations was written as a piece for American orchestral students, and demonstrated the lyricism and gift for melody that made Korngold so in demand for movie scores. Among his more lavish works were those for The Sea Hawk, Elizabeth and Essex and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Margo Kline covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor.

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 using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, 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
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

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.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • 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.