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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 7:22 am | Fair 51º


Gerald Carpenter: Pianist Explores Chopin for Music Club

The next free concert by the Santa Barbara Music Club, at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 10, in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library, features an all-Chopin recital by the Italian-born virtuoso, Paolo Tatafiore.

A native of Naples, Italy, Tatafiore comes from a family of composers, pianists, conductors and painters.

He began his musical training at the age of seven, studying piano, organ and composition at the Conservatories of Naples, Avellino, and Salerno. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles.
Tatafiore's program will include the "Two Polonaises, Opus 26 (1833–36)," the "Scherzo in c#-minor, Opus 39 (1839–1840)," the "Two Nocturnes, Opus 62 (1846)," and the "Ballade in f-minor, Opus 52 (1842–1843)."

The persistence of Frédéric Chopin's works on our concert programs 169 years after his death is one of the least mysterious phenomena in all of classical music.

"The passions," wrote the Duc de la Rochefoucauld, some four centuries ago, "are the only orators who always persuade."

Though Chopin was of weak constitution, and plagued with frail health throughout his too-brief life (39 years), his music fairly throbs with passion.

More completely than any other composer of his era, which was the high-water mark of European Romanticism, Chopin's music expresses the ultimate refinement of the passionate Romantic spirit.

It is neither the spirit of Byronic egotism, like that of Liszt and Berlioz, nor of human aspiration, like Beethoven ("mankind made plausible," in the words of Edna St. Vincent Millay), nor of the despairing morbidity of Poe's moon-drenched tombs.

He is at once the quintessential romantic and absolutely unique.

"If you think he is simple, you couldn't be more wrong," a friend and mentor told me, decades ago. "Chopin's harmonies are among the most complex I have ever encountered.

"They shouldn't work at all, but they do. They should sound barbaric, but they are exquisite."

— 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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