Santa Barbara Music Club

Major Sonatas

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Saturday, January 23, 2016
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Faulkner Gallery

Program Information

  • Beethoven: Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69
    Elizabeth Olson, cello
    Rosa LoGiudice, piano
  • Prokofiev: Sonata in D major, Op. 94
    Adriane Hill, flute
    Christopher Davis, piano

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. This concert features two major chamber music works from the Classical and Contemporary periods.

The program opens with cellist Elizabeth Olson and pianist Rosa LoGiudice performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69. This richly melodic work was composed in 1808 and is dedicated to Baron Ignaz von Gleichenstein. Though von Gleichenstein was a cellist and close friend of Beethoven, the two had a falling out over a woman: both were pursuing her, but she rejected Beethoven and married von Gleichenstein. The sonata was subsequently premiered in 1809 by cellist Nikolaus Kraft and pianist Dorothea von Ertmann (the latter had been a student of Beethoven and he had dedicated his Piano Sonata Op. 28 to her).

Though Beethoven appended the heading, “Inter Lacrimas et Luctum” (Amid Tears and Sorrow) to this work, there is no trace of sadness in the music — only the most expressive lyricism leading to propulsive excitement in the first movement, “Allegro ma non tanto,” the tantalizing syncopated rhythmic piquancy of the second, Scherzo: Allegro molto,” and the marvelous juxtaposition of heartfelt simplicity in the introduction leading to the surging energy of the third, “Adagio cantabile-Allegro vivace.

Flutist Adriane Hill and pianist Christopher Davis will conclude the program, interpreting the fascinating Sonata in D major, Op. 94, of Serge Prokofiev. The work, written in 1942, is in four highly contrasting movements: “Moderato,” a languorous, flowing melodic utterance clearly marked with the composer’s trademark pungency; “Allegretto scherzando,” a playfully fleeting wisp of interplay between the two instruments; “Andante,” a heartfelt and poignant song; and “Allegro con brio,” a most vivacious and rustic statement replete with tremendously exciting virtuosity.

The sonata’s flexible melodic lines and scintillating passagework, together with its attractive blending of neo-classical and romantic elements, have made it a favorite of flutists, pianists, and audiences since its inception. In fact, its popularity was noted by the great Russian violinist David Oistrakh, who convinced the composer to transform the work into an equally attractive Sonata for Violin and Piano.