Like a break from the clouds, the Santa Barbara Music Club is offering one of its spectacular yet intimate free concerts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 12 at First United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu St.
The pillars of the Music Club Adelle Rodkey (oboe) and Eric Valinsky (piano) will perform “Four Personalities (2007) by Alyssa Morris”, “Valses nobles et sentimentales” by Maurice Ravel (1911), “Sonata for English Horn and Piano” by Paul Hindemith (1941) and the “Sonatine for oboe and piano” by Pierre de Bréville (1924).
Alyssa Morris (born 1984) is an American composer, oboist and educator. His music, though unmistakably contemporary, is essentially lyrical in intent.
If I hesitate to call the “Four Personalities” charming – the word that came to mind when I listened to them – it’s because I don’t want to sound condescending. Rooms are lovely, sure, but they’re so much more. These are serious and well-made chamber compositions that are worth multiple listenings.
The “Valses nobles et sentimentales” are perhaps Ravel’s best known and most performed pieces for solo piano. The composer obviously had a love-hate relationship with Vienna, especially with that city‘s most famous product, the waltz (“I don’t expect you to kiss me while you’re still married to the Church,” Romy Schneider told Tom Tryon in “The Cardinal,” “but in Vienna, even for a married man, it’s a sin not to dance a waltz”).
The “Waltzes” are by turns nostalgic and fiercely satirical, but always fascinating.
Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) seems to have been determined to offer every musician, in every major food group – string, wind, brass, percussion (including piano and harp) – a chance to step forward in a sonata for his or his particular instrument.
To properly assess Hindemith’s contribution to modern music – he was enormously prolific – one really has to listen to all of his approximately 30 sonatas solo or solo with piano. Since none of us is likely to undertake such a project in a short period of time, we can make this English horn sonata the first stop on a long journey. It is a very beautiful room.
Pierre Eugène Onfroy de Bréville (1861-1949) was a French composer, pedagogue and critic, who was a close contemporary of Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, a period dominated in French music by Debussy and his impressionism, but which also includes many good composers closer to the Austrian and German masters of his time.
Bréville is one, Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931) another, and Albéric Magnard (1865-1914) a third. (Magnard’s career was cut short when he tried to defend his property against German invaders and was burned alive in his house for his efforts.) The “Sonatine” is a beautiful work, precise and melodic and not at all impressionist.
For more information about this program or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and artists, visit www.SBMusicClub.org.
Of course, although we wish it were otherwise, Covid is still very much with us, and the club makes the following announcements regarding ‘the safety of our audience and performers’.
“In accordance with public health guidelines, all customers, including children, must show proof of being fully immunized or provide a professionally administered negative COVID-19 test result taken within one day for antigen tests and 2 days for PCR tests – home administered tests are not accepted.
“All customers 18 years of age and older must show identification that matches their vaccination or test record.
“ID accepted: driver’s license, national ID, school photo ID or passport. Other photo ID may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“Proof of vaccination: CDC vaccination card, photo or copy of card, or California digital verification from www.MyVaccineRecord.cdph.Ca.gov. Out-of-state guests must present similarly verified records.
“Masks are mandatory and must cover both the nose and mouth. Bandanas, neck warmers, masks with exhalation valves and shield-shaped face coverings are not permitted.
“Social distancing is a must.”
– Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk Contributing Writer. He can be reached at [email protected] The opinions expressed are his own.