Saturday, March 19, 2016
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
- Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (arr. Webster)
Andrea Di Maggio, flute
Joanne Kim, clarinet
Neil Di Maggio, piano
- Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes
Satie: Gnossiennes No. 3
Rameau: Le Rappell des Oiseaux
Ravel: Oiseaux tristes
Ibert: Le petite âne blanc
Donna Massello-Chiacos, piano
- Beethoven: Sonata No. 8 for Violin and Piano in G major,
Op. 30 No. 3
Han Soo Kim, violin
Neil Di Maggio, 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.
The program opens with a fine adaptation of a popular orchestral work: Michael Webster’s attractive arrangement of Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), interpreted by flutist Andrea Di Maggio, clarinetist Joanne Kim, and pianist Neil Di Maggio. Inspired by the poem of the same name by Stéphane Mallarmé, Debussy commented thusly: “The music of this prelude is a very free illustration of Mallarmé’s beautiful poem. By no means does it claim to be a synthesis of it. Rather there is a succession of scenes through which pass the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. Then, tired of pursuing the timorous flight of nymphs and naiads, he succumbs to intoxicating sleep, in which he can finally realize his dreams of possession in universal Nature.”
Next, pianist Donna Massello-Chiacos will interpret five intriguing compositions by French composers: Danceuses de Delphes (Dancers of Delphi) by Claude Debussy: a fanciful musical depiction of the graceful Pythian sculpture; Gnossienne # 3 by Erik Satie: replete with rhythmic, chordal, and formal experimentations; Le Rappel des oiseaux (Roll-call of the Birds) by Jean Philllipe Rameau: cuteness personified, utilizing birdsong imitations to create the effect of birds calling and responding to each other; Oiseaux tristes (Sad Birds) by Maurice Ravel: representing a lone bird whistling a sad tune, after which others join in; and Le petit âne blanc (The Little White Donkey) by Jacques Ibert: a charming and humorous staccato study. These works, though highly contrasting in compositional style and emotional effect, all exemplify the exquisite subtlety and elegant precision so characteristic of French artistic achievement.
The program will conclude with the Sonata No. 8 in G major, Op. 30, No. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven, performed by violinist Han Soo Kim and pianist Neil Di Maggio. Composed in 1802, Beethoven was 32 years old and coming to terms with the terrible realization that he was growing deaf. This period in his life saw the creation of some of his most enduring and heroic compositions, including the Third (“Eroica”) and Fifth Symphonies and the “Waldstein” and “Appassionata’ Piano Sonatas. However, in completely contrasting manner, the sonata’s cheerful disposition eloquently disguises the inner struggles faced by its creator.
The first movement, Allegro assai, employs Beethoven’s signature touches: energetic, passionate flourishes overtly expressed, and unusual key relationships put to dramatic purpose. The Tempo di minuetto, ma molto moderato e grazioso unfolds from a rich, warm opening melody to an intimately elegant romantic affirmation. The Allegro vivace builds upon a rustic, folk-like rhythmic pattern that dances throughout the movement, highlighted by the composer’s trademark off-beat sforzandi (strikingly sharp accents) – severely criticized at the time, but now much enjoyed for their attractively piquant flavor.