Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 3:35 pm | Fair 66º


Gerald Carpenter: Camerata Explores Relationship Between Clarinet, Cello, Piano

Camerata Pacifica plays this month's program in Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West. Participating Cameratans will be Jose Franch-Ballester, clarinet; Warren Jones, piano; and Ani Aznavoorian, cello.

The program will consist of five works:

Ludwig Beethoven's "Sonata No. 2 in g-minor for cello and piano, Opus 5, No. 2, (1796);" Steve Reich's "New York Counterpoint for amplified clarinet and tape (1985);" Carl Vine's "Inner world: for amplified cello and tape (1994)."

Also, Wolfgang Mozart's "Adagio in b-minor for piano, K. 540 (1788);" and Johannes Brahms's "Trio in a-minor for piano, clarinet, and cello, Opus 114 (1891)."

For the cellist, I would imagine, the solo suites of Bach and the sonatas of Beethoven are the twin Himalayan ranges of the literature.

The Bach entered my life on the soundtrack of Ingmar Bergman's "Through a Glass, Darkly;" the Beethoven (performed by cellist Josef Schuster and pianist Friedrich Wuehrer) from a Vox Box set I checked out of the Seattle Public Library. It is impossible to imagine life without either set.

If I listen to the Beethoven more often than the Bach, it is probably because I am not always ready to devote the kind of intense attention that is required by the latter's Olympian introversion.

Beethoven, as profound, never forgets or ignores the listener. When he wrote "Opus 5, No. 2," he was still, in his orchestral compositions, an 18th century composer, still in the Haydn-Mozart nest, as it were.

The sonata is much more advanced in its ideas, exploring the territory later claimed by Schubert; at the same time, it is retrospective and Bach-like in its meditative passages

"New York Counterpoint" is one of Steve Reich's best-known — one wants to say most popular — works. It is easy to hear why. It induces a pleasant, non-threatening stasis, an immobilizing trance, in the listener.

It is a little like being in a darkened hospital room, listening to the beeps, clicks, and gurgles of the life-support system. But nice, you know.

Carl Vine's "Inner World," which employs some of the same means as the Reich (amplification, magnetic tape), is a very different experience.

The melodic content is fragmented and unsettled, the meter obscure. Yet something real is taking place, requiring attention. It's not at all academic in its contemporaneousness, but is clearly drawn from life, if scarcely a commonplace one.

The Mozart will be performed by Warren Jones. What more needs saying?

The heart of Brahms is in his chamber music, early and late, and the discovery of this truth was one of the greatest events in my musical life.

This "Trio," one of the last things he wrote, is utterly cosmic, but that is not resort to clichés about him sensing his own mortality. The work is deep and lovely, but not morbid.

Admission to this concert is $56. For tickets and other information, show up at the box office, call the Camerata Pacifica at 884-8410, or email [email protected]

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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