Strung Out

by Gerald Carpenter

CONCERTS ABOUND: We have quite a traffic jam this week on the concert schedule, with five musical organizations giving a total of seven concerts.

Camerata Pacifica will offer its April concerts tomorrow (Apr. 7) at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Victoria Hall Theater. On the program are three modern works: Alfred Schnittke’s “Stille Nacht” for Violin and Piano, William Bolcom’s Quartet for Piano and Strings, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Sonata for Cello & Piano in D Minor, Opus 40. Those who cherish the early seasons of the Camerata will be delighted to learn that this concert marks the return of the stellar pianist Joanne Pearce Martin as a guest artist, along with that Camerata stalwart, violist Donald McInnes, violinist Benny Kim, and cellist Eric Kim.

The Shostakovich is one of this composer’s greatest, most popular, and quintessential works. I have never heard the “Stille Nacht,” but I have a Faust Cantata by Schnittke that is very weird but wonderful.

For tickets and other information, call 884-8410.

CAMA will present its final Masterseries concert — the group’s final concert of the 2005-2006 season — this Friday (Apr. 7) at the Lobero. The spectacular pianist Olga Kern will play two pieces by Felix Mendelssohn — the Variations Serieuses, Opus 54 and the scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (transcribed by Rachmaninov) — plus Frédéric Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Opus 35 (“Funeral March”), Sergei Rachmaninov’s Morceaux de fantasie, Opus 3, and Franz Liszt’s Réminiscences de Don Juan. One may always applaud like hell and hope for an encore. For tickets and information about CAMA call 966-4324; for tickets to this concert, call 963-0761.

Gisèle Ben-Dor conducts the Santa Barbara Symphony this weekend in the second of her final three concert pairs with the orchestra. While it is hard to imagine a program this side of Meatloaf’s Greatest Hits that would not play to some strength of Ben-Dor’s, this one — she has called it “All Strings Attached” — casts a very wide and eclectic net that manages to remind us of how diverse her accomplishments are, and how shining. Beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday (Apr. 8) and 3 p.m. Sunday (Apr. 9), what we may still consider Gisèle’s orchestra will perform Ottorino Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, Astor Piazzolla’s Bandoneon Concerto (with Raul Jaurena, bandoneon soloist), Gustav Holst’s St. Paul Suite, and Peter Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for String Orchestra, Opus 48. Respighi wrote three suites of these gorgeous orchestrations of old dances (fans of Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite will love them, as will practically everyone else); I don’t know which suite the Symphony will play.

The concerts will take place at the Arlington. For tickets and other information, call 898-9626; for just tickets, call 963-4408.

Clearly it is a good week for pianists, as UCSB Arts & Lectures will present the sensational new young pianist Yundi Li, in recital at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, at UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Li will play Wolfgang Mozart’s Sonata No. 10 in C Major, K. 330; Robert Schumann’s Carnaval, Opus 9; Frédéric Chopin’s Andante spianato and Grande polonaise brillante, Opus 22; concluding with Franz Liszt’s Rhapsodie espagnole, S. 254. For tickets, call 893-3535, or go online to

This very full week concludes with a Santa Barbara Music Club “Morning Concert,” at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the Faulkner Gallery of the downtown Public Library (40 E. Anapamu St.). The program and performers are as follows: Étude in A-flat Major, Opus 25, No. 1, and Étude in C Minor, Op. 25, No. 12, by Frédéric Chopin (Linda Romillo, piano); Sonata No. 1 in F Major, Opus 8, by Edvard Grieg (David Turner, violin; Richard Berkman, piano); three of Cleopatra’s arias from Julius Caesar by G. F. Handel (Takako Wakita, soprano, Andrew Saunders, cello, and John Sonquist, piano); and Concertino by Ernest Bloch (Suzanne Duffy, flute, Tom Turner, viola, and John Sonquist, piano). The concert is free, of course, but for more information about the Music Club, call 683-0811, or visit the Web site,

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