Santa Barbara Music Club 50th Season of Free Concerts
On Saturday, January 25 at 3:00 p.m. the Santa Barbara Music Club will present another program in its popular series of beautiful classical-music concerts. Works on this afternoon’s program include Linda Holland’s Double Road Home with the composer on flute, Marie Hébert on violin, and Anne Weger on piano. Next, soprano Deborah Bertling and pianist Tim Accurso present a set of songs: Samuel Barber’s “Must the Winter Come So Soon?” from Vanessa; Sigurd Lie’s “Sne;” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “It Might As Well Be Spring,” from State Fair; Joseph Clokey’s “The Rose;” and Eric Thiman’s “I Love All Graceful Things.” Finally, bassoonist Paul Mori and harpist Laurie Rasmussen perform the Sonata VIII, RV 44, in A minor by Antonio Vivaldi; Poem for Bassoon and Harp by Robert Rønnes; and “Love Song” by Mathieu Lussier. This concert will be held at First United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu Street at Garden, Santa Barbara. Admission is free.
Linda Holland wrote Double Road Home for flutist Karin Nelson and violinist Maren Henle. Holland recalls that “several years ago Maren went through a devastating, near–death, illness. The doctors told her twin, Karin, that Maren probably wouldn’t make it. Rather than accept the prognosis, Karin refused to believe it was time for her sister to go. I had a conversation and walk with Karin when this was happening and it left a lasting impression on me; the connection between the sisters was stronger than all of the expert’s medical advice. Maren went on to recover fully. I wrote these three movements for Karin and Maren and tasked them with naming the piece. They gave it the title ‘Double Road Home.’ Double refers to the twins themselves and they both said the music sounds like a homecoming. Perhaps we are always working our way back to our center. This music is straight forward, written in my most accessible style, and is a celebration of the twins’ power of intuition, connection, and faith.” This afternoon’s concert features the work performed by violinist Marie Hébert, pianist Anne Weger, and the composer on the flute.
The next part of the program includes a smattering of vocal works depicting elements of nature and the seasons, performed by soprano Deborah Bertling and pianist Tim Accurso. The first, Samuel Barber’s (1910–1981) “Must the Winter Come So Soon?” comes from his 1959 opera Vanessa. The tune occurs at the beginning of the opera and sets the tone of seclusion and distance, overarching themes for much of the opera. The tune has become the most popular from the opera and enjoys a privileged status among Barber’s works for voice. By contrast, Norwegian composer Sigurd Lie (1871–1904) takes a different approach to the concept of winter in his work,“Sne” (snow). A romance with a text setting for voice, “Sne” visualizes the flurry of snowfall in a delicate but exciting accompaniment underpinning a beautiful melody. It has become the composer’s most famous work.
Bertling and Accurso then take us into warmer temperatures with “It Might As Well Be Spring,” by Richard Rodgers (1902–1979) and Oscar Hammerstein (1895–1960). The song premiered in the film State Fair (1945/remake in 1962) and has since led a charmed life: Rodgers and Hammerstein won the Academy Award for “Best Original Song” in 1945; the song is part of the only film score the duo wrote; finally, the song received no fewer than twenty covers from recording artists. The next work comes from American composer Joseph Clokey’s (1890–1960), “The Rose.” Clockey wrote both sacred and secular music and had a gift for distilling imagery into succinct, miniature forms, as evidenced by this wistful and touchingly melancholic composition. Bertling and Accurso close their set with a fitting companion piece to “The Rose,” English composer Eric Thiman’s (1900–1975) “I Love All Graceful Things.” This piece also conveys an element of longing, clothed in the imagery of flowing water, growing trees, and the clouds in the sky.
This afternoon’s program concludes with a trio of works performed by bassoonist Paul Mori and harpist Laurie Rasmussen. They open with the Sonata VIII, RV 44, in A minor by Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741), which originally was a sonata for cello and basso continuo. The work belongs to a set of six sonatas Vivaldi composed between 1720 and 1730 and ranges from long, lyrical, ornamented lines in the slow first and third movements to lively, rhythmically vibrant dances for the fast second and fourth movements. The second piece is Poem for Bassoon and Harp, by Norwegian composer and bassoonist Robert Rønnes (b. 1959). The composer dedicated his professional life to promoting the bassoon and expanding its repertoire, evidenced by this extremely lyrical and melodically driven piece, which he wrote in 1984. Much like Sigurd Lie, he – and perhaps many Norwegian composers – had the gift of translating the great land and seascapes of the country into sonic approximations. The final work of this afternoon’s program is “Love Song” by Mathieu Lussier. Much like Rønnes, Lussier maintains an active career as conductor and bassoon soloist, in which he promotes works for the instrument, as well as early-music repertoire. As Mori and Rasmussen demonstrate, Lussier’s penchant for older music manifests in an intensely romantic idiom.
Santa Barbara 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 the 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, visit SBMusicClub.org.