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Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Music Club to Offer Afternoon of Song at Central Library

The next concert offered free of charge by the Santa Barbara Music Club will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library's Central Branch, located at 40 East Anapamu Street.

The program is dominated by two splendid bouquets of song, hyphenated by an exquisite instrumental interlude.

The opening bouquet is a three-part presentation called "Songs We Live By," with soprano Carol Ann Manzi and classical guitarist and composer Thomas Heck.

The first part, Songs About You contains "The Song is You" and "All the Things You Are," by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein.

The second part is a set of Songs Turning Conventional Wisdom On Its Head, consisting of Heck's haunting song cycle, Reversals ("The Good Name of War," "What is Holy" and "A Day Like Any Other Day"), which are settings of poems by David Krieger.

(The title of the third song, which honors civil rights activist Rosa Parks is drawn from the words of Parks describing the day that she refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in the South: "It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in.") 

Then we will hear Songs of Courage and Resolve, including "Somewhere," from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein.

Following Manzi and Heck, the dazzling sisters Eliana and Elizabeth van Renterghem and their flutes will perform the first movement "Allegro maestoso" from Franz Doppler's Concerto in D-minor for Two Flutes.

Doppler (1821-1883) was a flute virtuoso, composer and professor who divided his compositional labor mainly between works for the flute and Hungarian operas.

Early on he formed a flute duo with his brother Karl (1825-1900), and the brothers toured together for many years. Sometimes they collaborated on compositions, but Franz was the main composer of the family. 

While this concerto is sometimes attributed to both siblings, it is the work of Franz alone. It fits comfortably into the early romantic soundscape of Mendelssohn and Weber.

(Presumably, the van Renterghems will collaborate with a pianist playing the orchestral parts, but the artist's name was not available,)   

The concert concludes with soprano Kim Holmquist and pianist Bridget Hough splitting up the usual "Mexican-American" conjunction, by first singing four songs by Mexican composers — "To Huey Tlahtzin Cuahtemoc" by Salvador Moreno (sung in Nahuatl), "Caminante del Mayab" by Guty Cárdenas, "Canción de cuna a Patricia" by José Sabre Marroquín and "Aleluya" by Manuel María Ponce — before finishing with four of Aaron Copland's Old American Songs: "Boatman's Dance," "Simple Gifts," "Long Time Ago" and "I Bought Me a Cat."

If I hadn't heard Stephen Foster's "Hard Times, Come Again No More," I would pronounce the Shaker tune, "Simple Gifts," the most beautiful song to come from 19th century America. It's still a toss-up.

— 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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