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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Ensembles to Celebrate Winter’s End With End-of-Quarter Concerts

Meanwhile, out at UC Santa Barbara, we find ourselves in the midst of an end-of-quarter clearance sale with respect to concerts. Everything must go.

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Below, I discuss three concerts which fall, more or less, within my purview, but there are also worthy events involving the UCSB Middle East Ensemble, directed by Scott Marcus (7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall); the UCSB Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jon Nathan (7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall); and the UCSB Gospel Choir, directed by Victor Bell (7:30 p.m. Friday, March 11, also in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall).

For tickets and information about any of these concerts, go online to www.music.ucsb.edu.

The University Wind Ensemble’s winter concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.

The title and framing device of the concert is “Bach to Bach (and a few points in between)” — that is, the first work on the program was composed by J. S. Bach (1685-1750) and the last work by his apocryphal relative, P. D. Q. Bach (1807-1742), who seems to have lived his life, if at all, backwards like Merlin in the Arthurian legend.

The work by the historical Bach is his Fantasia in G-Major for Organ, as transcribed for winds by Richard Franko Goldman and Robert Leist.

The concluding work, by the anti-historical Bach, is his “Grand Serenade for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion (S.1000),” which, you will be glad to learn, has been “tastefully adapted to the modern concert band by Professor Peter Schickele.” 

Other works — none of them by a composer named Bach — will include Ron Nelson's Rocky Point Holiday (conducted by Graduate Assistant, Steven Cohen); the world premiere of Morning Sunrise by student composer, Nick Mazuk (who, as a trombonist, performed the Prélude, Elégie et Final by Jean-Michel Damase in the March 2 Ensemble for Contemporary Music concert); and Charles Macherras’s Pineapple Poll, Suite from the Ballet, an arrangement of music drawn from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, which Macherras turned into a spoof of same.

There will also be works by Samuel Hazo, Jack Stamp, Michael Markowski and Paul Hindemith — presumably in keeping with the overall light-hearted vein of the general program.

Tickets for the UCSB University Wind Ensemble are $10 for general admission, $5 for non-UCSB students with ID and free for UCSB students with ID.

                                                                 •        •        •

UCSB's splendid globe-trotting Chamber Choir, directed by Michel Marc Gervais, and UCSB Women’s Chorus, directed by Pascal Salomon, will present their joint winter concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, in Trinity Episcopal Church (1500 State Street).

The Women’s Chorus will sing Gabriel Fauré’s Messe Basse, Johannes Brahms’s motet, O bone Jesu and three Latin hymns by German composer Josef Rheinberger, after which the Chamber Choir will grace us with about an hour of Claudio Monteverdi's sacred music, including the Messa a quattro voci da cappella (1641).

Nowadays, the presence of Monteverdi's name on a concert program elevates the event far above the field — bathed in glory, as it were.

It was not always thus. When I was 19, I worked as a stage hand on remarkable productions of Moneteverdi's Coronation of Poppea and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, yet, being 19, I was preoccupied with a certain blonde contralto, was a confirmed Mahlerian and had little time for the 17th century.

Since then, I have earned a doctorate in 17th-century French history. I didn't truly discover Purcell until I was in my 30s and came to Monteverdi when I was almost 50.

I came to feel that if spiritual nobility can be expressed in music, it is to be found in the work of Monteverdi. Age has its passions, too.

Tickets for the UCSB Chamber Choir and Women’s Chorus are $15 for general admission, $10 for non-UCSB students with ID and $5 for UCSB students with ID.

                                                                 •        •        •

At 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 7, in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, the UCSB University Chamber Orchestra will play an evening of chamber music and orchestra pieces.

The concert opens with the winners of the UCSB Chamber Music Competition (known as “the Chamber Players”) performing works by Reicha, Beethoven and Brahms.

Then the Chamber Orchestra will offer selected orchestral interludes from the opera of Verdi and Rossini and Franz Josef Hayden’s Symphony No. 104 in D-Major (1795). 

We also will hear two preludes from Verdi's La Traviata and the “Storm Scene” from Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

Haydn was 63 when he wrote the “London Symphony,” his last. If there is a greater symphony, I have not heard it. The optimism of the last movement is both exhilarating and shattering. Who now has this confidence?

Tickets to the University Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Players are $10 for general admission, $5 for non-UCSB students with ID and free for UCSB students with ID.

                                                                 •        •        •

Tickets to any of these concerts may be purchased at the door, at the Associated Students Ticket Office window (UCEN Room 1535, across from Corwin Pavilion), or by calling the AS Ticket Office at 805.893.2064 or visiting www.music.ucsb.edu.

— 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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