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Gerald Carpenter: Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Program Balances Color, Form

The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, conducted by music director Andy Radford, will offer its 2013 Spring Concert at 4 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, 21 E. Constance St.

Joel Yan
Joel Yan

It is a tradition with the Youth Symphony that the Spring Concert features as soloists young musicians who have auditioned for both a position in the Youth Symphony and a position in front of it. This Spring’s winner is violinist Joel Yan.

Scherzo from Antonín Dvo?ák’s Symphony No. 7 in d-minor, Opus 70, Aaron Copland’s Billy at the Rodeo (a composite work combining sections of Billy the Kid and Rodeo), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture, Opus 36, and Franz Josef Haydn’s Concerto No. 4 in G-Major for Violin and Orchestra (Hob. VIIa:4), with Yan as soloist.

What Copland did for home-grown American melodies, Rimsky-Korsakov had already done for the music of Russia, both the European and Asian regions of the country. And he was without peer as an orchestrator.

It is good that Yan has chosen to play a concerto of Haydn; it is a reminder that the violin concerto was quite a different animal before Beethoven and Paganini transformed it. The soloist is mainly the most prominent musician, playing (sometimes) different notes than the rest of the orchestra and introducing the main themes of the work; he or she is not the romantic egoist of the 19th-century concerto. There is, I believe, no end to what a musician can learn from playing Haydn. One of the Guarneri Quartet — I think it was David Soyer — once told me that he was looking forward to meeting Haydn in Heaven: he had quite a few questions for him.

Tickets to the Youth Symphony are $14 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Children 6 and under are free. Click here to purchase tickets online, or call the Santa Barbara Symphony at 805.898.9386.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are his own.

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