The program opens with a piece that carries a weight beyond its musical character — Entartete Musik — Degenerate Music by Pavel Haas. A Czech composer, Haas was Jewish, and consequently suffered greatly during the German occupation. Imprisoned at Teresienstadt for three years before dying at Auschwitz, some scholars have suggested a struggle against Nazism in his late works, including this Opus 17 Suite for Oboe & Piano.
The program swiftly moves from darker topics, to the English whimsy of Malcolm Arnold’s Divertimento, Op. 37, for Flute, Oboe, and Clarinet and Francis Poulenc’s jazz influenced Clarinet Sonata. The Poulenc was dedicated to the memory of Arthur Honegger, and was written for the clarinetist Benny Goodman. Goodman, with Leonard Bernstein at the piano, premiered the work in New York only weeks after Poulenc’s death in Paris.
The horn player David Jolley brings the program to a romantic close with the music of another Czech composer. Jolley has arranged Dvořák’s Quintet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 81for wind quintet with piano and while Dvořák wrote very well for wind instruments it is fascinating to hear how his string writing translates. One reviewer said of a recording of this arrangement, “Once you’ve heard the opening theme of the Quintet played by…horn, there’s no going back. It captures the whole tenor of a Romantic century, in a handful of notes.” The original version with strings can be heard in Camerata Pacifica’s May program.
Tickets for the concerts, as well as additional information on Camerata Pacifica can be found at www.cameratapacifica.org or by calling 805-884-8410.