The Santa Barbara Music Club offers the first of its wonderful free concerts for the new year at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, in the First United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu St.
The program opens with flutist Suzanne Duffy and pianist Kacey Link performing Erno von Dohnányi’s “Aria for Flute and Piano, Opus 48, No. 1” (1958), the world premiere of Katherine Saxon’s “Forgotten Memories” (2019), and Georges Enescu‘s “Cantabile et Presto, for Flute and Piano” (1904), followed by Music Club stalwart, composer-pianist Eric Valinsky, playing his “Piano Sonata No. 5, ‘Harsher Landscapes’” (1979, 1983).
Then, pianist Neil Di Maggio plays Johannes Brahms‘ “Rhapsody for Piano in Eb-Major, Opus 119, No 4” (1893). Like all unique and unforgettable experiences, the concert must end, and this one concludes with Andrea and Neil Di Maggio performance of Carl Reinecke’s “Ballade in d-minor for Flute and Piano, Opus 288” (1908).
Composer Katherine Saxon (b. 1981) says of “Forgotten Memories:” “Memory is fallible, imprecise and changeable. Each time we draw a memory to the fore of our mind, we re-remember it, changing details and forgetting others. Memories can be fabricated: childhood photographs and stories create memories of memories we have forgotten …
“My father’s ancestors fled the Russian Empire during the 19th century during implementation of anti-Semitic policies. Immigrants, refugees, or even, perhaps, fugitives, they changed their names like people change clothes, to hide, to blend in, to forget.
“Through creative forms of remembering and misremembering, this piece reflects on ideas of roots, family, loss, and how, even in the absence of memories, we imagine stories to tell us who we are.”
You can learn more about Katherine Saxon by exploring her user-friendly website: www.katherinesaxon.com/.
Eric Valinsky has this to ssay about “Harsher Landscapes:” “Harsher Landscapes is dedicated to Clay Taliaferro, who originally commissioned the work in 1979 for a dance he choreographed for the Davis Center Dancers. It was revised and expanded twice, finally in 1983 to produce a concert version.
This concert version was choreographed by Lizabeth Skalski for the New American Ballet Ensemble in New York. The piece is in one movement, made up of several small sections, some of which recur, and most of which cover the tonal areas of E major and minor as well as the relative keys of G major and minor.
Out of the small sections, three major sections may be discerned: an opening waltz-like section; a slow, meditative section; and a final section, virtuosic and fast, during which the waltz returns.
I often think of how at the Music Club we promote our “concerts of beautiful classical music.” I’d like to think this piece has its moments of beauty, but in all, it portrays a pretty harsh, nasty landscape, perhaps evocative of an intense, passionate relationship gone wrong — which I believe was the unspoken intent of the original choreographer.
As noted above, admission to this performance is free, and all are welcome.