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Santa Barbara Music Club Free Concerts

May 6, 2017 from 3:00pm - 4:30pm

On SATURDAY, May 6 at 3 p.m. the SANTA BARBARA MUSIC CLUB will present another program in its popular series of concerts of beautiful Classical music.  This concert will be held at the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu Street.  Admission is free.

One of the highlights of Santa Barbara Music Club's concerts is the opportunity for audiences to hear great music from a variety of historical periods, with a diversity of musical forms, performed by excellent artists.  In this concert, entitled BEAUTIFUL BACH!, pianist Betty Oberacker will perform three major keyboard compositions from the greatest master of the Baroque period, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).

Betty Oberacker is acclaimed as a piano soloist and chamber musician of international stature, and has toured throughout Europe, Israel, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the U.S., including performances at Carnegie Hall, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonic Hall, London's Wigmore Hall, and the Vienna Musikverein. Renowned for her interpretations of both traditional and contemporary repertoire, she has been Artist-in-Residence at 55 universities, conservatories and music festivals worldwide, and many distinguished composers have dedicated their works to her.

Her discography includes Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (Clavier Records), A Bach Commemorative Recital  (MIT Great Performances Archives), Chamber Music of Emma Lou Diemer (Orion), Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire (Century), John Biggs' Variations on a Theme of Shostakovich (VMM), and Emma Lou Diemer's Piano Concerto, with the latter two composed for Oberacker. Her appearance with the National Symphony Orchestra in the East Coast Premiere of the Diemer Concerto elicited a standing ovation from the Kennedy Center audience, and she recorded a CD of the work in Prague for MMC Recordings.

Putting together a program to highlight a single composer is always a challenge.  Of that process, Dr. Oberacker said the following:

"Bach's works are of course an embarrassment of riches, and planning a program of his keyboard music is a deliciously frustrating undertaking!  I eventually selected three compositions of different forms and tonalities, works which would display various aspects of the composer's glorious use of the keyboard, his intricate understanding of both its virtuosic and expressive capabilities.

The concert opens with the radiant Toccata in D major, BWV 912.  The work features four interconnected and highly contrasting sections, with the first three flowing inexorably into the final segment — surely some of the most joyous and exhilarating music ever composed.

The English Suite in A minor, BWV 807 follows, brilliantly displaying Bach's prowess in delineating the qualities of each of the traditional dance forms which comprise the Baroque Suite.  Prefaced by a spirited and buoyant Prelude, the six dances (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Bourée I and II, Gigue) evoke the dichotomy between the graceful and severe, the formal and relaxed, so inherent in the economic and social structures of the time as well as in Bach's compositional style. 

The program concludes with the mighty Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903.  The Fantasia is indeed a fantasy in the freest sense, improvisatory not only in its seemingly random and often rapid changes of character and keyboard patterns, but in the interpolation of several sections consisting only of block chords, which the artist must interpret according to his tastes and abilities:  this was obviously a harkening back to styles he inherited from the past, in which composers often only sketched their musical ideas, utilizing techniques such as figured bass (a shorthand notation indicating the intended harmony, rather than the actual notes to be played), and leaving the realizations to the performers.

Among the striking features of the Fugue is its subject, or theme — the building block of the entire piece — beginning with four notes which are an anagram of the letters of Bach's name:  A, B-flat, B, and C, with B = H and B-flat = B in the German spelling.  With this auspicious foundation, Bach constructs complex and daring architecture, replete with audacious-for-the-time harmonic dissonances and marvelously expressive emotional effects, all culminating in a composition renowned for its impressively forward-looking originality.  Truly a unique masterpiece from a truly unique master."


The mission of the Santa Barbara Music Club is to contribute to the musical life of our community through the following:


Presentation of an annual series of concerts, free to the public, featuring outstanding solo and chamber music performances by Performing Members and invited guests;

Presentation of community outreach activities, including bringing great music to residents of area retirement homes;

Aiding and encouraging musical education by the disbursement of scholarships to talented local music students.


For information on this or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists, visit


Event Details

  • Organizer/Sponsor: sbmusic
  • Starts: May 6, 2017 3:00pm - 4:30pm
  • Price: 0
  • Location: Faulkner Gallery Santa Barbara Public Library 40 E. Anapamu
  • Website: