Santa Barbara Music Club 50th Season of Free Concerts

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Santa Barbara Music Club 50th Season of Free Concerts
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Saturday, November 23, 2019 - 15:00

The SANTA BARBARA MUSIC CLUB, the largest year-round concert series in Santa Barbara County, celebrates its 50th year of presenting its stellar concert series! Featured in its Saturday afternoon concerts are outstanding performances by instrumental and vocal soloists and chamber music ensembles.

On Saturday, November 23, at 3:00 p.m. the Santa Barbara Music Club will present another program in its popular series of beautiful classical-music concerts. The all-German program includes the Fantasy in C Major, D. 934, by Franz Schubert; Robert Schumann’s Three Romances, Op. 94; Ludwig van Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 4 in C, Op. 102; and the first movement of the Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op 49 by Felix Mendelssohn. Violinist Han Kim, cellist Sang Yhee, pianist Constantine Finehouse, and clarinetist Joanne Kim perform today’s program. Admission is free.

Franz Schubert (1797–1828) composed the Fantasy in C Major, D. 934, for piano and violin in December of 1827, shortly before the end of his young life. This work presents an almost retrospective view of Schubert’s compositional life by referring to several earlier works. On the one hand, the formal and harmonic plan of D. 934 closely resembles that of his famous ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy for solo piano, as well as that of the Fantasy in F Minor, D. 940. Moreover, Schubert also quotes one of his songs, “Sei mir gegrüßt” (“Greetings”), D. 741. In addition to so much self-reference, Schubert’s C-major Fantasy also runs the gamut of open virtuosity, which Han Kim and Constantine Finehouse perform in today’s program.

The Drei Romanzen (Three Romances), Op. 94, of Robert Schumann (1810–1856) exist as the only pieces in his chamber-music repertoire scored for a woodwind instrument. Originally written for piano and oboe in 1849, one of the final years of his compositional productivity, these three short pieces have been arranged for several other instruments: violin, viola, cello, and flute to name a few. Yet whichever arrangement receives a performance, the oftentimes-capricious quality of Schumann’s lyricism is unmistakable, at once tender then brooding a moment later. Today’s performance includes the arrangement for piano and clarinet, played by Constantine Finehouse and Joanne Kim, respectively.

Within the oeuvre of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), the Sonata for Piano and Cello No. 4 in C, Op. 102, belongs to a handful of works that ushered in the composer’s so-called “Late Style.” Although the partitioning of Beethoven’s life into three periods has become passé in music historiography, pieces like Op. 102 show the composer’s move towards an inwardness that would characterize much of the Romantic era. Written in 1815—a year before he had become completely deaf—the sonata breaks classical convention by featuring only two movements, each of which also play with and depart from formal tradition. Sang Yhee and Constantine Finehouse perform these two starkly contrasting movements of mood, tempo, figuration, and character.

The last work of today’s program represents a culmination of the Germanic chamber-music tradition in Felix Mendelssohn’s (1809–1847) Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49. Published in 1840, the work reveals the intricate study Mendelssohn made of the trios of Mozart, Schubert, and especially Beethoven. Op. 49 enjoyed immediate success after its publication, as evinced by Robert Schumann’s praise: “This is the master trio of our age, as were the B flat and D major trios of Beethoven and the E flat trio of Schubert in their times. It is an exceedingly fine composition which will gladden our grandchildren and great-grandchildren for many years to come.” Han Kim, Sang Yhee, and Constantine Firehouse conclude this afternoon’s performance with the first movement of Op. 49.

SB Music Club concerts are free to the public, and display a wonderful diversity of historical musical periods and compositional styles, including beloved masterworks and exciting new and seldom-heard repertoire. Of our series, the Santa Barbara Independent exclaimed: "A beautiful day, a beautiful room, beautiful music ... who could ask for more?" and Gerald Carpenter in Noozhawk.com declared, "Every Santa Barbara Music Club concert that I have ever attended has been a sensory joy as well as a consciousness expansion."

A valued cultural resource in the community since 1969, the Music Club's mission is threefold:

(1) Presentation of an annual series of concerts, free to the public.

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

(3) Presentation of community outreach activities, including bringing great music to residents of area retirement homes.

For information on this or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists, and to become a SBMC member, visit SBMusicClub.org.

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