Thursday, November 23 , 2017, 4:09 pm | Fair 66º


Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Music Club Offers an Afternoon of Song and Dvorak

María Grever
Whether or not you have heard of María Grever, you have certainly heard her songs.

At 3 p.m. Saturday in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., members of the Santa Barbara Music Club will perform another of the club's legendary free concerts.

The hour-long program falls neatly into halves. The first half is vocal, and will feature soprano Takako Wakita and pianist Betty Oberacker, with the collaboration, as needed, of Bob Nyosui Sedivy playing a Japanese bamboo flute called a "shakuhachi."

This trio will perform "El tra la la y el punteado" by Enrique Granados (1867-1916), the "Lamento gitano" by Maria Grever (1885–1951), "De donde venis, amore?" by Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999) and "A Piper Plays 'Oiwake'" by Kozaburo Hirai (1910-2002).

The second half is Antonín Dvořák's String Quartet No. 10 in Eb-Major Opus 51 (1879) — sometimes called the "Slavonic" — performed by the Channel Islands String Quartet (Irving Weinstein and Ted Lucas on violins, Diana Ray-Goodman on viola and Ervin Klinkon on cello).

It has long been obvious to me that Granados composed some of the greatest art songs from 1900, give or take 15 years. "El tra la la y el punteado" is a trifle, lasting barely a minute, and yet once heard it is never forgotten. It is both completely Spanish and universal.

Grever — or, to give her birth name in full, María Joaquina de la Portilla Torres — as Wikipedia rather bluntly puts it, "was the first Mexican female musician to become a successful composer."

Her name may not be familiar outside of Mexico, but her songs certainly are, since some of her most memorable tunes appeared first on the soundtracks of Hollywood motion pictures, and Dinah Washington's 1959 recording of "What a Difference a Day Makes" ("Cuando vuelva a tu lado") put Grever among the immortals of popular song.

— 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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