Tuesday, October 25 , 2016, 9:55 am | Fair 59º


Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Offers a Youthful Guide to the Orchestra on Sunday

The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, under the baton of music director Andy Radford, will play its Winter Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West, 1070 Fairway Road in Santa Barbara.

The Youth Symphony program, which features a solo by the gifted young cellist, Vincent Chen, includes Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave), Opus 26; Luigi Boccherini’s Cello Concerto No. 9 in Bb-Major, G. 482 (with Chen); Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 in D-Major/d-minor, Opus 107, “The Reformation”; and the Overture to Jacques Offenbach’s opera, Orpheus in the Underworld (1858).

Nothing is more appropriate than that a young orchestra should play Mendelssohn. He died young (38), of course but there is more to it than that — I am sure, in fact, that to most of this orchestra, 38 seems impossibly ancient. Mozart only saw 35, and yet, when he was 5, he was composing works that in no way could be considered “immature,” or even “youthful.” He always seemed to be channeling some strain of the universal tunes that is beyond time or age. Mendelssohn, on the other hand, while even his earliest works have uncanny polish, retained a spirit of ebullient youth throughout his life.

Like Benjamin D’Israeli’s father, Mendelssohn’s father quarreled with his rabbi and had his children baptized as Lutherans. While it made no difference in how he thought about himself — when he arranged for the first performance since Bach’s death of the Saint Matthew Passion, Felix said, “It is an actor and a young Jew who are restoring to Europe it’s greatest Christian music” — the baptism opened up career paths and social opportunities that would have been totally closed to non-Christians.

When the city fathers of Augsburg wanted a symphony to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, a signal event of the Protestant Reformation, they commissioned Mendelssohn to write it — which they certainly would not have done had he not been a Lutheran himself.

Although illness intervened, and the composer didn’t have the work done in time for the celebration, it is a perfect realization of the idea of a “Protestant” symphony. He uses several hymns for his thematic material, including “A Mighty Fortress,” composed by Martin Luther. The “No. 5” designation and the high opus number were both assigned after Mendelssohn’s death. In fact, it was his second symphony, written when he was 20. The composer didn’t regard the work very highly; he dismissed it as “juvenilia” — which it is not, but that would not disqualify it from being played by this orchestra, which will no doubt give an enthusiastic account of this rousing score.

Tickets to this concert are $14 general and $10 for seniors and students. They can be purchased at the door.

Click here for more information on the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. Connect with the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony on Facebook.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >