At 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7, the Santa Barbara Music Club will present a free recital by pianist Paolo Tatafiore performing works by Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninov.

The concert, co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Public Library, will be held in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St. As noted above, admission is free and the public is invited.

Tatafiore’s program will consist of “Après une lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi sonata” (1839, 1949) by Franz Liszt, and and a number of Préludes by Sergey Vasilyevich Rachmaninov (1873–1943), including the following:

The immortal “Opus 3, No. 2 in c#-minor” (1892), plus “Opus 23, No. 1 in f#-minor” (1903), “Opus 23, No. 2 in Bb-Major” (1903), “Opus 23, No. 4 in D-Major” (1903), “Opus 23, No. 5 in g-minor” (1903), “Opus 23, No. 6 in Eb-Major” (1903), and “Opus 23, No. 7 in c-minor” (1903).

There is no doubt that we are going to hear some very fancy piano-playing. Like most of the works in the three piano suites Liszt grouped under the rubric, “Years of Pilgrimage,” the so-called “Dante Sonata” contains many passages of formidable technical difficulty — passages which, at the time they were written, only Liszt could play with any confidence.

It is only in the last few decades, I note, that significant blocks of the “Années de pèlerinage” have begun to make regular appearances on our concert programs; and even now, we are more likely to hear isolated pieces from the suites — “Au bord d’une source” or “Vallée d’Obermann” — than a continuous reading of an entire suite.

Fortunately for us, the “Dante Soata” cannot be subdivided.

As for the Préludes, no introductory statement is necessary. Rachmaninov’s audiences have always been miles ahead of his annotators.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at The opinions expressed are his own.