After the Deluge

What to do after the horrendous mudslides in Montecito mean nobody can get to your scheduled venue and many of your patrons have been evacuated? Join forces with the Lobero Theatre and hold the concert there as a benefit for the victims of the tragedy. Camerata Pacifica did just that and the music already chosen for their January concert was eerily and fortuitously appropriate. Beethoven wrote his Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major, Op.81a, “Les adieux,” in response to the evacuation from Vienna of his patron Archduke Rudolph following Napoléon’s attack on the city. Gilles Vonsattel’s sensitive and moving performance of this difficult and emotionally charged piece beautifully set the tone for the evening. Next up, Martin Owen put his all into Massiaen’s exceedingly difficult “Appel Interstellaire” for solo horn, a call across the universe to heal broken hearts and wounds. Trio for Violin, Horn & Piano by Gyorgi Ligeti, passionately performed by Kristen Lee with Vonsattel and Martin, brought to mind the turbulence and crashing boulders of a raging creek gone mad (something I’ve experienced first hand) and ended with a sorrowful lament based on funeral chants in Eastern European cultures. The evening ended with Mr. Vonsattel solo at the piano again for Bela Bartok’s “Out of Doors” suite of five short pieces full of complex rhythms, tonalities and disorienting twists and turns. Evoking pipes was quite fitting (even if it wasn’t a Scottish funeral), and the last movement, “The Chase” was a good metaphor for running to escape danger.