Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 5:29 am | Fair 44º

 
 
 
 

Gerald Carpenter: Chamber Orchestra Takes Us to 18th Century Vienna

The West Coast Chamber Orchestra, conducted by artistic director Michael Shasberger, will play a concert of works by Mozart, Michael Haydn, C.P.E. Bach and Georg Wagenseil at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at First Congregational Church, 2101 State St., Santa Barbara.

The orchestra, plus guest artists cellist Rebecca Shasberger and the Avanti String Quartet (Tamsen Beseka and Robert Miskey, violins; LaVette Allen, viola; Stephen Green, cello), will perform the following works:

Wolfgang Mozart's “String Quartet No. 3 in G-Major, K-156/134b" (1772); Michael Haydn's “Divertimento in D major, MH 319" (1782); Georg Wagenseil's “Cello Concerto in A-Major, WV 348" (with Rebecca Shasberger, cello); Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach's “Symphony in C-Major, H.659" (1773); and Mozart's “Serenade No. 6 in D-Major for Double String Orchestra, K. 239 Serenata Notturna" (1776).

Not much needs to be said about this program; nothing esoteric or startling about this music. Haydn (1737-1806) was Franz Josef's kid brother, best known as the composer of the "Toy Symphony."

Georg Christoph Wagenseil (1715-77) was born in Vienna and died there. He spent most of his life, from 1739 to his death, composing operas and music for the Hapsburg court; among his pupils was the ill-fated princess, Marie Antoinette.

C.P.E. Bach is far and away my favorite of Bach's children. All of these composers are likely to have known each other personally, and certainly knew of each other's music.

Virgil Thomson once wrote something to the effect that living music is never as pretty as dead music. I think I know what he was getting at, and to a certain extent, I am prepared to agree with him. It hinges on what he means by "dead" music.

I suppose, in the first place, that he means music by dead composers, music that is familiar and often heard, music that is safely embedded in the soundtracks of our lives and is not going to jump up and bite us.

As a composer, of course, Thomson has a vested interest in framing new works in the most positive light, and I agree with Robert Craft that the living composer should be at the center of musical culture "even though most new music is bad, as it always has been."

On the other hand, all ensembles are faced with an inexorable bottom line — they are troubadours, singing for their supper — and their choice of repertory is bound to take their audience into account.

Getting back to the matter of "dead" music, however, I am afraid Thomson would consider all the works on this program as "dead," and there I have to disagree — though he was both a great composer and a great writer.

All music is dead until someone tries to perform it, and all music that is worth anything is capable of being brought to life if the performer believes in it. It is not a matter of technique — of course, there is a level of skill below which musicians may not fall, but that is considerably lower than flawless virtuosity.

I refer to the matter of soul, more indispensable with music than in any other art. A competent musician who has soul, will always triumph over a dazzling technician who has none.

The players of the West Coast Chamber Orchestra, with superb musicianship and an abundance of soul, cannot fail to revive scores that have lain inert for centuries.

Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 seniors 55 and older, and $10 students for those 19 and under. They can be purchased at the Arlington box office, 805-963-4408, and at the door. Visit www.cieloperformingarts.org.

— 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.