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Gerald Carpenter: Three Europeans, One Californian in UCSB ‘Spotlight’

Till MacIvor Meyn
Till MacIvor Meyn's Urban Ragas for Flute Quartet will be a featured work in the UCSB "Spotlight" concert on Wednesday.

The second installment of UCSB's excellent new concert series, "Spotlight" — hosted by Jeremy Haladyna — will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Lotte Lehmann Hall (Music Building).

Admission is still free, so that makes it an offer you'd be crazy to refuse.

The purpose of the series is to spotlight student and faculty performers in a low-key, undemanding environment (also, on a per-case basis, to spotlight student and faculty composers, though this time out, this does not apply).

The second "Spotlight" program will consist of Claude Debussy's Première Rhapsodie for Clarinet and Piano (1909-10) played by clarinetist Jesse Katsumata and pianist Natasha Kislenko; Sergei Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 in G-Minor, Opus 63 (movements I and III) performed by violinist Tom Yaron and pianist Natasha Kislenko; Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 15 in D-Major, Opus 28 "Pastoral" (movements III and IV) played by pianist Christine Lee; and Till MacIvor Meyn's Urban Ragas for Flute Quartet (1913), with flautists Adriane Hill, Azeem Ward, Rachel Ricard and Ben Leinfeld (I always write "flautist" so that my flute-playing friends will know they can't push me around).

This is, by and large, a gentle, lyrical program. It would have been even more so if Tom Yaron had chosen to play the second movement of the Prokofiev in place of the third or first. But I guess there has to be some music that made the fledgling virtuosos stretch their wings.

Despite having a name that could belong to a character from the Star Wars trilogy, Meyn is 100 percent Californian in his birth, his upbringing and his education. His very listenable Urban Ragas sounds minimalist, insofar as the principles of its composition are concerned, but it is not as static as minimalist music (Reich, Reilly, etc.) often is.

It tends to make me want to hear other Meyn compositions, rather than make me keep checking my watch.

— 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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