Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Edward Elgar (1857-1934)

In the run up to the first concerts of 2023-24, Camerata Pacifica has posted several copies of its upcoming season. It is the quintessential Camerata potpourri, a blend of baroque, classical, romantic, modern … and contemporary.

The enduring stalwarts are well-represented: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Haydn, Rameau, Telemann — as well as what we might call the Modernist Establishment: Alberto Ginastera, Arnold Schoenberg, and André Jolivet.

At least three of the composers on the list are women — Clarice Assad (Brazil-USA: born 1976); Paola Prestini (Italy-USA: born 1975); and Anne Madeleine Guédon de Presles (France: 1720-1754). The first two are alive and working; the third almost three centuries in the grave.

Other living composers (“In a living musical culture, the new music must have primacy over the old, if only because the new obliges us continually to revise our relationships with the old,” Robert Craft wrote.) include: Paul Dean (Australia: born 1953); Vinko Globokar (France-Slovenia: born 1934); Christos Hatzis (Greece-Canada: born 1963); Arvo Pärt (Estonia: born 1935); Kryštof Maratka (Czech: born 1972); Christopher Cerrone (USA: born 1984); Martin Butler (UK: born 1960); and John Psathas (New Zealand: born 1966).

Among the less-well-known baroque composers on the playlist are Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (France: 1676-1749), Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726), and that old masker, Anonymous.

I have given the whole names of the living composers, to make it easier to search for them on the web — especially YouTube—which I strongly recommend as an ideal way to prepare for the concerts to come.

In a season so carefully balanced between the familiar and the exotic, it is fitting the Cameratans begin it with an elegant, understated program that celebrates the subtle continuity of Western chamber music from the 18th century to the early 20th.

We will be hearing Ludwig Beethoven’s “String Trio in D-Major, Opus 9, No. 2” (1797-98); Wolfgang Mozart’s “Piano Sonata No. 12 in F-Major, K. 332”(1783); and Edward Elgar‘s “Quintet in a-minor for Piano & Strings, Opus 84” (1918-19).

The pieces will be performed by Paul Huang and Jason Uyeyama, violins; Timothy Ridout, viola; Narek Hakhnazaryan, cello; and Irina Zahharenkova, piano.

If I failed to mention Elgar in my introductory paragraphs, it was mainly because I didn’t know where to put him. Like Mahler and Strauss, he considered himself a “Modern,” but this quintet would not fit very well into a program of Schoenberg and Stravinsky.

Elgar wrote very little chamber music; this quintet, a string quartet, a violin-piano sonata. Most of his works are long and employ large orchestras, often with vocal soloists and choruses.

Compared to, say, Richard Strauss, Elgar’s music is relatively uneventful, yet never boring. Once you accept his initial premise, he carries you gently on waves of sound that bring you, happy and at peace, to the distant shores.

His melodies are exquisitely nuanced. I love him, but can never say exactly why. His song cycle “Sea Pictures” (1899) is incredibly lovely and wistful. His “Cello Concerto” (1919) will endure as long as our civilization endures.

The program will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West. You can also hear it at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Huntington in San Marino; and 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in Zipper Hall at Colburn School in Los Angeles. (Some of these concerts may be sold out; it is always good to check, and to keep checking.)

Admission to all venues is $75. For tickets and other information, show up at the box office, call Camerata Pacifica, 805-884-8410, email tickets@cameratapacifica.org, or visit www.cameratapacifica.org.