Pixel Tracker

Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 3:01 pm | Fair 71º

 
 
 
 

Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Concerts Play with Animals and Pictures

Tuesday and Wednesday performances explore transformations and the classics

The UCSB Music Department is truly hitting the ground running in December, with concerts Tuesday and Wednesday for openers.

First the UCSB ECM (Ensemble for Contemporary Music) will hold its first concert of the year — school year, that is — at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. The event, called “Species: The Concert,” consists of a number of new compositions gathered around the theme of transformations — a nice word for mutations — from one species to another. How this will actually play out in musical terms is something we will only, to borrow an expression from the late, lamented Theodore Roethke, learn by going where we have to go. As the Music Department’s announcement somewhat whimsically and cryptically describes the program:

What would a penguin gain by being made human, as in Anatole France’s
What would a penguin gain by being made human, as in Anatole France’s Penguin Island?

“A horn turns Osprey and annoying Friar Bird, in music by Anthony Gilbert; the clarinet turns Man-Moth (Mothman?) in David Schober’s small hole at the top of the sky; and penguins are baptized by mistake and made human in (ECM) director Jeremy Haladyna’s ‘Penguin Island ballet.’”

The concert also includes a piece for viola and piano by the American, George Tsontakis; something by the Romanian-born French composer, Marcel Mihalovici; and Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Quartett for clarinet and string trio.”

I know nothing of Gilbert, Schober or Tsontakis. I consider Anatole France’s Penguin Island, the most delightfully brilliant deadpan satire published in the 20th century, and believe that Haladyna is just the man to turn it into a ballet. (A saintly abbot, 98 and nearly blind, lands on an island inhabited by penguins, mistakes them for humans, and baptizes them Christians. In order that His favorite holy man not be embarrassed, God turns the penguins into humans, and they move to France.) Mihalovici (1898-1985) was a close friend and collaborator of Samuel Beckett, if that tells you anything (it should). Penderecki, of course, is already an immortal and he is still breathing.

Tickets to the ECM concert are $15 general admission and $7 students, and will be available at the door.

At 8 p.m. Wednesday, meanwhile, also in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, the UCSB Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Richard Rintoul, will play the Suite No. 1 of Edvard Grieg’s amazing incidental music for the poetic drama Peer Gynt by his fellow Norwegian, Henrik Ibsen; Maurice Ravel’s orchestration of Modest Moussorgsky’s colorful “Pictures at an Exhibition;” and, a special treat, the ever-popular “Concerto No. 1 in g-minor for Violin and Orchestra” by Max Bruch, with renowned UCSB faculty artist Yuval Yaron as soloist.

Familiarity breeds contempt, as the saying goes, and it is true often enough to be embedded as folk wisdom. But try to hear Peer Gynt as if for the first time, and you will be rewarded with a rare treat for your senses. Forget all the cheap exploitations of it once it entered Public Domain. It is a treasure.

The ticket situation is the same as for ECM: $15 general admission and $7 students, available at the door.

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

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
Email
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.