Arts and Music


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Conductor Steven Schick and choreographer Allyson Green discuss their new interpretation of Les Noces, Stravinksy's portrait of a pagan Russian folk wedding featuring four pianos, chamber chorus, and members of Tijuana's Lux Boreal dance troupe.

SummerFest 2017 presents an evening celebrating the versatility of quintets: 1) Beethoven's "String Quintet in C-Major, Opus 29;" 2) Xiangang Ye, "Gardenia for String Quartet and Pipa;" and 3) Dvořák's "Qunitet in G Major for Two Violins, Viola, Cello, and Doublebass, Opus 77." Recorded on 8/9/2017.

In music, the serenade originated in the 18th century and is typically defined as calm, light music, often written in someone's honor or for special social occasions. For example, Benjamin Britten's Gemini Variations were written for a pair of young Hungarian prodigies of his acquaintance. Edward Elgar's Piano Quintet was likely inspired by the approaching end of his creative career, as both a sort of confrontation and a summing up. No one knows the occasion that inspired Antonin Dvorak to compose his Serenade in D Minor, but the result is a sunny, high-spirited piece that has remained a perennial audience favorite. Recorded on 8/20/2017.

The past few years have been difficult ones for France, as that nation has been buffeted by strong crosswinds from every direction. Paris-based circus artist, composer, and percussionist Roland Auzet fights back in a new theatrical percussion concerto written for, and co-commissioned by, UCSD graduate student Fiona Digney. The balm of Malhler's Fourth Symphony, featuring one of the most beautiful slow movements ever written, helps to calm the currents and ease troubled minds. Recorded on 02/11/2018.

Composer Francis Poulenc maintained that one need not be solemn to praise God, and that belief is echoed is his "Gloria." Indeed, listeners not otherwise informed may not guess it's the setting of a sacred text (in this case, the second part of the Roman Catholic Mass liturgy). Poulenc's score is by turns melodic, rhythmic, serene, piquant, high-spirited, slightly dissonant, subdued, or strident, but is never less than charming. Recorded on 12/10/2017.

An American in Paris has always been one of Gershwin's most popular scores, and deservedly so. It offers great tunes, a breezy charm that evokes both the City of Light and the Jazz Age, and Gershwin's obvious affection for the French capital. Gershwin argued that this piece is structured in sonata form and is not just a series of episodes & impressions strung together with great skill; perhaps so, but no matter. Above all else, this is fun music. Recorded on 11/5/2017.

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus closes its 64th season with a reflection on the composer/soldiers of World War I, from Maurice Ravel to Ralph Vaughan-Williams to George Butterworth, whose life was tragically cut short in the war. Music from the same time by Charles Ives, and a favorite of Benjamin Britten, Barber's Adagio for Strings, rounds out a program that is both steeped in memory and full of messages for our own time. Recorded on 6/9/2019.

The Taubman Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB hosts a live musical performance by The Three Cantors: Cantor Mark Childs (Congregation B'nai B'rith, Santa Barbara) Cantor Marcus Feldman and Organist Aryell Cohen (Sinai Temple, Los Angeles) and Cantor Shmuel Barzilai (Chief Cantor of the Vienna Jewish Community). Recorded on 02/24/2019.
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