Saturday, April 30, 2016
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
- Bach: Partita No. 2
Bartok: From the Diary of a Fly
Marian Drandell Gilbert, piano
- “Songs From Around the World”
Takako Wakita, soprano
Betty Oberacker, piano
- György Ligeti: Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet
SONOS MONTECITO WIND QUINTET
Andrea Di Maggio, flute
Trey Farrell, oboe
Joanne Kim, clarinet
Andy Radford, bassoon
Steven Gross, horn
Notes on the Program
by Betty Oberacker
One of the highlights of Santa Barbara Music Club’s concerts is the opportunity for audiences to hear great music from a variety of historical periods, with a diversity of musical forms, performed by excellent artists.
The program opens with pianist Marian Drandell Gilbert interpreting two highly contrasting works from the Baroque and Contemporary periods, respectively: the resplendent Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826, of Johann Sebastian Bach and the impish From the Diary of a Fly, from “Mikrokosmos Vol. VI” by Béla Bartók. The Bach work is from a set of six suites published from 1726 to 1730, the first of Bach’s compositions to be published under his direction. Opening with an imposing three-part “Sinfonia,” itself including stately prelude, lyric cantabile, and three-voice fugal sections, the remaining movements (which are actually traditional Baroque dances) are a smoothly flowing “Allemande,” a lusty “Courante,” a tender “Sarabande,” a capricious “Rondeaux,” and an exuberant, cheerful “Capriccio.”
The Bartók work exemplifies both the composer’s remarkable ability to manipulate tiny musical patterns – miniature cells, if you wish – to extraordinary compositional complexity, and to manage this process to equally impressive dynamic effect. Here the composer utilizes such techniques as symmetry, inversion, transposition, and augmentation of exceptionally closely-linked intervals to create a mimicry of the insect’s humming, capping it all with a surprisingly brief and clever ending.
Next, soprano Takako Wakita and pianist Betty Oberacker present an eclectic group of “Songs From Around the World,” comprising the charming Come to the Fair, by Easthope Martin (England), the wistful Good Night, by Antonín Dvorák (Czech Republic), the tender Solvejg’s Song, from the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg (Norway), the ebullient I’m in Love With Vienna, from “Tales From the Vienna Woods” by Johann Strauss II (Austria), and the traditional folksong Sakura (Cherry Blossoms, Theme and Variations on the Sakura Melody), arranged by Michio Miyagi (Japan). In the last song, Ms. Wakita has invited the Koto Players, performers on traditional Japanese instruments, to assist in her presentation.
The program will conclude with the spirited Six Bagatelles by György Ligeti, performed by the Sonos Montecito Woodwind Quintet. Composed “In memoriam Belà Bartók,” the pieces were originally part of a collection of 12 Bagatelles for Piano composed between 1951 and 1953, and in the latter year the composer transcribed six of them for wind quintet with the exceptionally short movements headed “Allegro con spirito,” “Rubato. Lamentoso,” “Allegro grazioso,” “Presto ruvido,” “Adagio. Mesto,” and “Molto vivace. Capriccioso.” The work reflects Ligeti’s economical approach to composition, as a minimum number of notes are used to maximum effect. Dynamics change frequently, the instruments often play muted, adding different colors to each piece, and the final bagatelle is a wild, frenetic race, with the penultimate measures marked “as though insane” – but the music ultimately ends with a soft, muted horn solo.