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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 1:27 pm | Fair 62º


Gerald Carpenter: Youth Symphony Plays Back-to-Back Concerts

Although they might not appreciate being likened to the Santa Barbara Symphony's farm team, the Youth Symphony fairly invites baseball metaphors with its spring concerts, which have been split into a double header, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, May 13, in the Lobero Theater.
At 3 p.m. the Youth Symphony Chamber Orchestra plays Franz Schubert's "Symphony No. 8 in b-minor, D-759, 'Unfinished' (1822);" Aaron Copland's "Variations on a Shaker Melody" from his ballet Appalachian Spring (1944); and Johan Svendsen's "Norwegian Rhapsody No. 1, Opus 17 (1877)."

Then, at 5 p.m. the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, in its glorious entirety, will play the "Triumphal March" from Giuseppe Verdi's opera, Aida (1871); Camille Saint-Saëns' "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso for Violin & Orchestra, Opus 28 (1863)" (with violin soloist, Franky Ohlinger); "The Moldau," from Bedrich Smetana's epic cycle, Má Vlast (1872–74); and Arturo Marquez's "Danzón No. 2, for Orchestra (1993)."

Most of these pieces are familiar to us all. The two that are not, by Svendsen and Marquez, are accessible in the extreme, and are the sort of thing one wants to hear again, as soon as possible.

Johan Severin Svendsen (1840-1911) was a Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist, who was educated in Lepzig and spent most of his life and career in Copenhagen, Denmark.

He was a contemporary of Mahler and Strauss (Richard) and sounds like it. His claim to attention in the musical social world was that he was an intimate friend of Richard Wagner (for better or worse).

The Mexican composer Arturo Marquez was born in 1950 and is, happily, still among us, still writing music, which strongly echoes the folk and popular tunes of his native land.

Marquez has, so far, composed eight studies of the formal and compelling Mexican dance, Danzón; three are for orchestra, the rest for various chamber combinations.

I first became acquainted with the Danzón by way of Maria Novaro's intoxicating, enchanting 1991 movie of the same name — one of my favorites from all my years as a reviewer.

If you want to see the Danzón in action, as well as be swept up in a delightful romantic adventure, I can't think of a better way to go about it than to get the film from Netflix or the Public Library. You may want to get your own copy.

Admission to these concerts is free, and the public is invited.

— 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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