Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 1:03 am | Fair 64º

 
 
 
 

Gerald Carpenter: Symphony Forecasts Two Sunny ‘Seasons’

The Santa Barbara Symphony, conducted by Maestro Nir Kabaretti, plays this month's concerts at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 18, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18, in the Granada Theater. Internationally celebrated violinist Philippe Quint will solo in a pair of concerted works.

For reasons which will be immediately made clear, the concerts will bear the motto, "The ‘Seasons’ of Vivaldi and Piazzolla."

The program contains three works:

» The first four concertos from Antonio Vivaldi's Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (1723), known as "The Four Seasons."

» Astor Piazolla's four-movement quasi violin concerto, The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (1964-1970), arranged for orchestra by Leonid Desyatnikov.

» Franz Josef Haydn's Symphony No. 101 in D-Major, "The Clock" (1793-1794).

Having provided this list, I have just about come to the end of my usefulness. Vivaldi and Haydn do not stand in need of promotion, and possess a luminous transparency that makes a mockery of any scholarly exigesis.

What is Vivaldi trying to say? What does Haydn mean? To ask questions of this sort is to confess oneself an ass.

Even the most colorful details — the Four Seasons concertos were first performed by an orchestra of unwed mothers; the Haydn symphony began as a ditty Haydn had written for an elaborate musical clock, which the composer had presented to his employer, Prince Esterházy — are irrelevant once the music begins.

As for the Piazolla, I continue to be baffled by his popularity. Music providers, as opposed to music lovers, seem positively mesmerized by him. I simply don't get it.

To be sure, he is quite easy to listen to, and sitting through one of his works is not agony, but I keep waiting to hear what all the fuss is about, and I haven't yet.

It probably has something to do with the tango, and that it's entirely possible to write great dance music without memorable melodies. Put people dancing to Piazolla's music and it all falls into place. You have to use your imagination.

Single tickets to this concert are $29-$134. Group sales discounts of as much as 20 percent are available. Patrons ages 20-29 can buy $20 tickets; students with valid ID can buy $10 tickets. Seating in both cases is confined to selected sections of the Granada Theatre.

Tickets can be purchased from the Granada box office, 1214 State St., by phone at 899-2222, or on line at www.granadasb.org.

— 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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