Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 8:32 am | Fair 41º


Gerald Carpenter: Camerata Pacifica Starts Old, Ends New

Camerata Pacifica plays its November program in Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in Hahn Hall, on the Miraflores campus of the Music Academy of the West.

The delightfully diverse collection we will sample includes Johann Sebastian Bach's "2-Part Invention in F-Major, BWV 779" and "Trio Sonata in G-Major, BWV 1038"; Elliott Carter's "Sonata for Flute Oboe Cello & Harpsichord (1952)"; Henri Dutilleux's "Les Citations for Oboe Harpsichord Double Bass & Percussion (2010)."

Also, Bach's "Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue in d-minor, BWV 903" and "Fugue from BWV 1001" (arranged for Marimba); Caroline Shaw's "Boris Kerner for Cello & Flower Pots (2012)"; Naoko Hishinuma "On a Full Moon Night (2007)"; and Andy Akiho's "21 for Cello & Marimba (2008)."

Participating Camerata musicians include James Austin Smith, oboe; Paolo Bordignon, harpsichord; Ji Hye Jung, percussion; Timothy Eckert, double bass; Adrian Spence, flute; and Ani Aznavoorian, cello.

This program has the familiar and the unfamiliar juxtaposed in high relief. I assume that anyone bothering to read this has heard a good deal of Bach, and probably the specific examples of his music performed here. So, I will proceed directly to the Dutilleux.

Notwithstanding its recent dating and its time-shifting combination of instruments, "Les Citations" should not come as much of a shock to anyone who has paid attention to the development of French music since Debussy's death in 1918.

If the piece calls any specific one of his countrymen to mind, it would be Edgard Varèse (1883–1965) — albeit a kinder, gentler Varèse, after a good meal (I waited for the moan of a siren, but it never came). It is musical prose, recitative at most, but very pleasant and easy to listen to.

Yes, Shaw's work calls for the percussionist to play real flower pots.

But whether they are plain terracotta or glazed, all the same size or varied, free-standing or stacked and lying on their sides, on the floor with the percussionist sitting cross-legged behind them as in a Japanese tea ceremony or on a table with the percussionist tapping on them like a makeshift marimba — that all seems to be up to the musicians.

Likewise, the tempo at which the cellist plays the noble, sinuous melody appears to be a matter of individual preference (one of the two performances I have heard is nearly two minutes longer than the other), although the sequence of notes is written and fixed.

Finally, the number and structure of the percussionist's blows on the pots also seems to be left to his or her discretion. It is free-form, and quite mesmerizing.

Hishinuma's work is a mood-driven triptych, suggestive of moonlight and misty shapes.

"21" is all about syncopation, the cellist often doubling as a percussionist and always subordinating melody to rhythm, or so it sounds to me. It has a minimalist flavor, though with a great deal more variety than most of the minimalist works I have heard.

Admission to this concert is $56, but the event is currently sold out (though there might be tickets at one of the Camerata's three other venues). For tickets and other information, show up at the box office, call the Camerata Pacifica at 884.8410, or email [email protected]

— Gerald Carpenter is a Noozhawk Contributing Writer.

  • 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 >

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 through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

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.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >