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Gerald Carpenter: Music Club Offers Works by British, German Composers

Madeleine Dring (1923-77) was an English composer and actress whose music harmonizes the influence of Ralph Vaughan Williams and François Poulenc.

The next free concert of the Santa Barbara Music Club takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 4 in the familiar venue of the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.

The concert begins with Madeline Dring's Trio for Flute, Oboe, and Piano (1968), played by Andrea Di Maggio on flute; Trey Farrell on oboe and Neil Di Maggio on piano.

Then clarinetist David Singer will join with the Channel Islands String Quartet (Irving Weinstein and Ted Lucas on violins, Diana Ray-Goodman on viola and Ervin Klinkon on cello) to perform Johannes Brahms' Quintet in B-Minor for Clarinet and Strings, Opus 115, 1891.

I don't know enough of Dring's music to be glib or facile about it. What I have heard seems rather too good to be so obscure. I can only attribute this to her gender — an imbalance that is only in the last few decades starting to be redressed. Most female composers, like most male composers, are not particularly good; Dring, a disciple of Ralph Vaughan Williams, is exceptionally good. The Trio is irresistible, but if you go to it looking for reflections on the ubiquitous violence and chaos of the year in which it was written (1968), you will come away baffled. It is a celebration of the private — even domestic — life.

The Brahms is all mystery and introspection, sublimely beautiful and a little scary. Brahms seems to be literally sorting things out. A dream of order.

Click here for information on this and other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists.

— 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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