Wednesday, October 17 , 2018, 8:19 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Gerald Carpenter: Camerata Pacifica Tunes Heartstrings for Barber, Tchaikovsky and Elgar

If you found Camerata Pacifica’s April concerts a tad, um, esoteric (albeit generally gorgeous in performance), then I am happy to reassure you that you will have no reservations whatsoever about the group’s May events — locally, at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West.

Camerata’s May program will consist of Samuel Barber’s String Quartet in B Minor, Op. 11 (1935-36), Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s String Sextet in D Minor, Op. 70, “Souvenir de Florence” (1890) and Edward Elgar’s Quintet in A Minor for Piano and String Quartet, Op. 84 (1918). (Those attending the 1:30 p.m. performance will hear the Barber and Tchaikovsky, but not the Elgar.)

The participating Cameratans include Armen Ksajikian, cello; Giora Schmidt, violin; Robert Brophy, viola; Agnes Gottschewski, violin; Warren Jones, piano; Ani Aznavoorian, cello; and Richard Yongjae O’Neill, viola.

At Toscanini’s urging, Barber transcribed the slow movement of his only string quartet into a stand-alone piece for string orchestra. the maestro conducted the premiere and, as the composer of the Adagio for Strings, Op. 11a (1937), Barber achieved immortality at the age of 27.

Nevertheless, I prefer the movement in its original context, played by just four instruments: just as beautiful, but austerely so.

It is no accident that one heard the Barber Adagio floating out of thousands of undergraduate dormitory rooms in the 1950s and ’60s, along with Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor for violin, strings and organ and Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major (the ’70s would add Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary). Somber and stately, the Barber is pure baroque in spirit.

What with the immense popularity of his ballets, symphonies, overtures, concertos and other orchestral works, Tchaikovsky’s chamber music is frequently overlooked.

It doesn’t comprise a major part of his oeuvre, but there is a respectable amount, including four string quartets, a great piano trio and this string sextet, which the composer himself gave the title, “Souvenir of Florence,” because one of the main themes came to him while he was in that city, composing The Queen of Spades.

Still, it is neither program music nor travelogue, but a straightforward, abstract composition, in traditional four movements that adhere faithfully, if ingeniously, to the four-movement, sonata-allegro form. Being Tchaikovsky, of course, it is quite ravishing.

Elgar seems to have composed quite a bit of chamber music, much of it destroyed or left unfinished. What survives are a great many charming bibelots for stringed or wind instrument and piano, and three major works, all composed 1918-19: the Violin-Piano Sonata in E Minor, Op. 82 (1918), the String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 83 (1918) and this Quintet in A Minor, Op. 84 (1919.

The Quintet is in three movements, the outer two pretty but mysterious and distracted; the inner adagio pure, passionate Elgar.

Admission to the 7:30 p.m. concert is $56; to the 1 p.m. concert, $28. For tickets and other information, show up at the box office, call Camerata Pacifica at 805.884.8410 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.

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.