Jacaranda joins the citywide Benjamin Britten 100/LA
celebration with a three-concert survey of his music beginning today,
April 7 with “February House: Brooklyn’s Original Party Place” at the First
Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica
This 7:30 pm concert takes its theme from the storied
Brooklyn residence where Britten and his partner, tenor Peter Pears, lived in
the early 1940s with legendary writers and other cultural luminaries.
The concert will feature solo and two-piano music by duo
pianists Anna Grinberg and Liam Viney, Keve Wilson on oboe, and Eric Jacobs on
In 1939, Britten and Pears left England by ship to avoid
the war and start a new life in New York, where they became lovers.
For a busy and intoxicating year, they lived at February
House with W.H. Auden, Gypsy Rose Lee, Jane and Paul Bowles, magazine maven
George Davis, the children of Thomas Mann and Carson McCullers.
Aaron Copland partied at the house, as did critic and
composer Virgil Thomson, Balinese gamelan expert Colin McPhee, 24-year-old
composer Leonard Bernstein, singer-actress Lotte Lenya, and ballet’s George
Balanchine, among many others.
The concert evokes this creative and social nexus with
music by Thomson, Copland, Paul Bowles and McPhee, as well as by Britten.
The Australian-based Viney/Grinberg piano duo has
appeared on the distinguished Piano Spheres concert series.
“I cannot imagine a finer performance, as this one had
everything, illuminating every bar of the music,” wrote Ivan Katz, director of
Yale University’s Horowitz Series. “The audience went wild.”
Jacaranda will give the U.S. debut of the belatedly
published McPhee arrangement for two pianos of Britten’s “Variations on a Theme
of Frank Bridge” for string orchestra. Also by Britten, the fiercely energetic
“Overture: Paul Bunyan,” not used in the ill-fated Broadway-bound operetta.
Jacaranda’s Britten celebration continues April 27 with
a concert staging of “Curlew River,” a chamber opera (1963) intended for
performance in a church.
Jacaranda’s Britten celebration and current season come
to a close with “Young Apollo: God of Music, Poetry and Healing” on June 1.
The First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica is located
at 1220 Second Street, Santa Monica.
General concert tickets are $40 ($20 students). For
information or to purchase tickets go to jacarandamusic.org or call
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