A Sea Change

by Gerald Carpenter

CHILDREN’S PLAY: As the theme of his fourth annual Santa Barbara
Chamber Music Festival (June 16-18 at the First Congregational
Church), founder and music director Daniel Kepl has rather shrewdly
chosen the title Immigrant Nation, and is featuring composers who
are the “children and children’s children of immigrants to this
country from all over the world.” They include Aaron Copland,
George Gershwin, Robert Muczynski, Pierre Jalbert, Norman Dello
Joio, Gabriella Frank, Joan Tower, Richard Pearson Thomas, Richard
Lavenda, Samuel Barber, Arthur Foote, Ingolf Dahl, and Santa
Barbara composer Leslie Hogan.

The stellar musicians who will play these works are mostly
familiar to Santa Barbara audiences, either from the three previous
festivals, or from their work with other local ensembles. They are
David Peck, principal clarinetist of the Houston Symphony; his wife
and artistic colleague, Edith Orloff, founding pianist of the
Pacific Trio; and Los Angeles-based flautist Ann Erwin, principal
flautist of San Diego’s Classics Philharmonic. These three
participants have been an integral part of the festival since its
founding. Playing in the festival for the first time this year are
violinist Kathleen Lenski, who as a member of the Angeles String
Quartet won a Grammy Award in 2001 for best chamber music recording
(the complete Haydn string quartets), and a gentleman who needs no
introduction to South Coast audiences, cellist John Walz, principal
cellist of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra and star of many a
Camerata Pacifica concert.

For purely logistical reasons, the festival will go forward
without the Rainier String Quartet this year — I shall miss their
fine music-making and gossiping with them about many mutual friends
in Rain City.

The festival consists of three concerts in three days, all
starting at 8:30 p.m. We are invited to come early for
refreshments.

On Friday, June 16, the festival will open with Kathleen Lenski
and Edith Orloff performing Aaron Copland’s arrangement for violin
and piano, “Waltz and Celebration,” from his ballet Billy the Kid,
and “Hoe Down,” from Rodeo. Then Ann Irwin and Orloff will play
Robert Muczynski’s Sonata for flute and piano, followed by Irwin,
David Peck, and Orloff doing Gabriella Frank’s Canto de Harawi for
flute, clarinet, and piano. The evening concludes with Richard
Pearson Thomas’s Meditation for violin and piano (Lenski/Peck) and
Ingolf Dahl’s Sonata da Camera for clarinet and piano
(Peck/Orloff).

On Saturday, the second concert begins with Pierre Jalbert’s
virtuosic Toccata for solo piano (Orloff), followed by Norman Dello
Joio’s Trio for flute, cello, and piano (Irwin, Walz, Orloff). Then
the husband-and-wife team, David Peck and Edith Orloff, are slated
to play Richard Lavenda’s Shadowplay for clarinet and piano, after
which Erwin and Peck treat us to Robert Muczynski’s Duos for flute
and clarinet. The finale will be Jascha Heifetz’s gorgeous
arrangement for violin and piano of a suite of music from George
Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess (Lenski, Orloff).

The festival’s concluding concert on Sunday opens with Joan
Tower’s homage to Igor Stravinsky: Petroushskates for violin,
cello, flute, clarinet, and piano. Samuel Barber’s incomparably
beautiful Sonata for violoncello and piano will be performed by
John Walz and Orloff. Whenever this Barber sonata is played,
whatever else is on the program, it is a guaranteed treasure to
take away with you. Walz will then play Matisse for solo
violoncello, by a truly fine Santa Barbara composer, Leslie Hogan.
Bringing this concert, and the festival, to a close, flautist Ann
Erwin and pianist Orloff will play Three Pieces for flute and piano
by a personal favorite of mine, Arthur Foote, before Ingolf Dahl’s
Concerto a Tre for clarinet, violin, and piano (Peck, Lenski,
Orloff) leads us kindly out into the Santa Barbara night.

Tickets are available at the door or by calling Dan Kepl at
964-5460. Visit sbchambermusicfest.com for more information and
ticket sales.

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