Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 2:18 am | Fair 47º


Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Music Club Serving Up Bach, Goethe and Saint-Saëns

The next free concert of the Santa Barbara Music Club — absolutely free, of course — takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2 in its traditional venue, the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.

Violinist Han Soo Kim will play Saint-Saëns' "petite phrase" sonata at the next Santa Barbara Music Club concert.

The program est omnia divisa in partes tres. First, the incomparable pianist Betty Oberacker will play Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Solo Keyboard in the Italian Style, "Italian Concerto," BWV 971.

Then, soprano Takako Wakita will team up with Oberacker to explore an overlooked genre that I have also investigated: literary works that have inspired multiple musical settings. My favorite example is Maurice Maeterlinck's Pelleas et Melisande and the very different music it provoked from Schoenberg, Debussy, Faure and Sibelius. Wakita and Oberacker have uncovered a much more spectacular example: the poem Heidenröslein/Little Rose on the Heath written in 1799 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which has received no less than 154 musical settings. The duo have selected six of these, by Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Franz Lehar, Romanos Owakilowitsch Melikjan, Robert Schumann and Heinrich Werner.

The third part of the concert's triad will be Camille Saint-Saëns' Violin-Piano Sonata No. 1 in D-Minor, Opus 75 (1885), performed by violinist Han Soo Kim and pianist Neil Di Maggio.

I daresay everybody attending this concert will have heard the Bach, whether or not you recognize the title. The first few bars will bring it all back.

Romanos Melikyan (1883-1935) was an Armenian composer; beyond that, I know nothing of him. Heinrich Werner (1800-1833) was another of those gifted 19th century composers who died young (of the hyper-romantic ailment,  tuberculosis).

Werner's setting of the Goethe was more popular than the hundred or so versions that preceded it, and only the Schubert has gained more fame.

For information on this and other Santa Barbara Music Music Club offers, club programs and performing artists, visit

— 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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