Sunday, June 17 , 2018, 5:49 pm | Overcast 64º


Gerald Carpenter: Clarinent, Flute, Piano and Song Highlight Santa Barbara Music Club Concert

The Santa Barbara Music Club will be hosting a free concert at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St. in downtown Santa Barbara.

The program opens with a clarinet-piano arrangement of Carl Maria von Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra, Opus 26 (1811), played by clarinetist Chad Cullins and pianist Christopher Davis.

Then soprano Carol Ann Manzi and pianist Betty Oberacker will perform Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs, Opus 29 (1953) (“At Saint Patrick’s Purgatory,” “Church Bell at Night,” “St. Ita’s Vision,” “The Heavenly Banquet,” “The Crucifixion,” “Sea-Snatch,” “Promiscuity,” “The Monk and his Cat,” “The Praises of God” and “The Desire for Hermitage”).

The concert concludes with a somewhat whimsical assemblage of works for flute and piano, played by Tracy Harris on the flute and Svetlana Harris on the piano: Franz Schubert’s Duo Impromptu (arranged by Todd Harris); Joachim Andersen’s Scherzino, Opus 55, No. 6; Prelude for Two, adapted by Todd Harris from a work by Frédéric Chopin; and François Borne’s Fantaisie brillante sur “Carmen.”

Andersen (1847-1909), a Dane, was one of the foremost flute virtuosos of his time, and a well-respected composer — all but exclusively for his own instrument.

Borne (1840-1920), a Frenchman, was the principal flute of the Bordeaux Opera House and taught flute at the Toulouse Conservatory. As a composer, he excelled at weaving fantasies around themes from popular operas; his “Carmen” fantasy was his most popular work, but his take-off on Giacomo Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine was also a staple of the repertory.

After World War II, the serialists and spikey modernists had a stranglehold on American academies, and there was an unfortunate rift that widened between musicians, who listened with their technical knowledge, and music lovers, who listened with their hearts.

Once that generation passed away, the austere technicians started to drop off the programs, Barber’s music again rose to the top. His operas don’t hold a candle to those of his good friend, Gian-Carlo Menotti, but his songs are glorious and lyrical and quintessentially lovable.

Who but Barber could fashioned such exquisite gems from the sparse texts of what Bob Dylan would call “utopian hermit monks” from the 9th through the 12th centuries?

Click here for more information about the 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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