Santa Barbara Music Club

Voice, Flute, and Ludwig

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Saturday, November 21, 2015
3:00 pm

Faulkner Gallery

Program Summary

  • Carl Reinecke: Sonata in E major, Op. 167 (“Undine”)
    Jane Hahn, flute
    Christopher Davis, piano
  • Copland: As it Fell Upon a Day
    Deborah Bertling, soprano
    Jane Hahn, flute
    Per Elmfors, clarinet
  • Beethoven: An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98
    Tyler Reese, baritone
    Mandee Sikich, piano
  • Beethoven: Sonata in D major, Op. 12, No. 1
    Nicole McKenzie, violin
    Betty Oberacker, 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 music for clarinet, flute, piano, and voice from the Classical, Impressionistic, Romantic, and Contemporary periods.

The program opens with the “Allegro” from Carl Reinecke’s Sonata in E major, Op. 167 (“Undine”), performed by Jane Hahn, flute, and Christopher Davis, piano. Reinecke was respected as one of the most influential and versatile musicians in the second half of the nineteenth century, and in his compositional output he sought to preserve the Classical tradition: in this sonata, for which he is best known, he utilizes the traditional harmonic and formal structures of his predecessors to delightfully fresh and charming effect. The work is based on the German romantic novel Undine, written by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque in 1811, which relates the tale of the water spirit Undine, daughter of the King of the Sea.

Next, Soprano Deborah Bertling, flutist Jane Hahn, and clarinetist Per Elmfors will present the evocative As It Fell Upon a Day, by the American composer Aaron Copland. Composed in 1923 when he was studying with the revered composition teacher Nadia Boulanger, Copland wrote: “I had been playing around with some ideas for the flute and clarinet assignment when I came upon a poem by the seventeenth-century English poet Richard Barnefield. ‘As It Fell Upon a Day’ had the simplicity and tenderness that moved me to attempt to evoke that poignant expression musically. … The imitative counterpoint between the two instruments in the introduction would satisfy my teacher’s request. The harmonies that seem to evoke an early English flavor were suggested by the nature of the text.”

The beautifully contemplative Rückert-Lieder of Gustav Mahler follow, performed by DeAndre Simmons, bass, and Christopher Davis, piano. Mahler identified profoundly with the emotional directness in the poetry of Friedrich Rückert, and declared, “After Des Knaben Wunderhorn [also by the same poet] I could not compose anything but Rückert — this is lyric poetry from the source, all else is lyric poetry of a derivative kind.” Comprised of five exquisitely subtle yet spellbinding songs, the composition’s titles immediately convey the deeply personal character of the music: “Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft” (“I Breathed a Gentle Fragrance”); “Liebst du um Schönheit” (“If You Love For Beauty”); “Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder!” (“Look Not Into My Songs!); “Um Mitternacht” (“At Midnight”): and “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” (“I Have Become Lost to the World”). Interestingly, the second song was a gift to Mahler’s wife, Alma, and the final one inspired to Mahler to say, “It is truly me.”

Note: Due to illness, the Mahler Rückert-Lieder have been replaced by Beethoven’s “An die ferne Geliebte,” Op. 98 (“To the Distant Beloved”), performed by Tyler Reese, baritone, and Mandee Sikich, piano.

Concluding the program, violinist Nicole McKenzie and pianist Betty Oberacker will interpret one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most spirited compositions, his Sonata in D major, Op. 12, No. 1. The first of the composer’s ten Piano and Violin Sonatas (as they were entitled), it was composed in 1797, when Beethoven was 27, and is dedicated to Antonio Salieri, with whom Beethoven was studying vocal composition. Noteworthy is the fact that the sonata both commands and requires an absolute equality of collaborative technical and musical partnership between the two instruments — the very first instance of this dual equivalency in instrumental sonatas since those of Bach — and though a very early work it fully displays Beethoven’s boldly innovative and powerfully passionate creative genius.