The Santa Maria Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro John Farrer, offers its fourth concert of its subscription season on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at Grace Baptist Church at 7:30 pm.

The final program of its 10th Anniversary Season will feature works by Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Holst, Barber, Bartok and Britten.  Handel’s Overture to his second opera, Admeto, which was written for the so-called “rival queens,” Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni, had its premiere in 1727.  The operas Handel wrote for these reigning divas are as musically brilliant as any of his other works. But as a result of his attempts to structure dramas that would give absolutely equal value to two leading ladies, the rival-queen operas are dramatically problematic and strain credulity at times, Admeto not excepted.  Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major will feature eleven outstanding orchestral musicians (ten strings and one harpsichordist).  The cadenza in the second movement, played by Concertmistress Sharon Cooper, was composed by Cellist Harry Gilbert, a frequent performer in the Santa Maria Philharmonic Orchestra.

We celebrate the arrival of Spring from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, showcasing the skill and craft of Sharon Cooper, soloist.  The three movements of Spring use “pictorialism in music” to invoke the awareness of the birds chirping, brooks flowing, rain falling, leafs blowing, a dog’s bark, rustic bagpipes, and shepherds dancing.  Listen and enjoy.  St. Paul’s Suite was written to honor St. Paul’s Girls School in the United Kingdom, of which Gustav Holst was the Director of Music.

Adagio for Strings, by Samuel Barber, follows.  It is written for a string orchestra.  When it was first introduced, its reception was generally positive, with Alexander J. Morin writing that Adagio for Strings is “full of pathos and cathartic passion” and that it “rarely leaves a dry eye.” The piece can be heard in many TV shows and movies. [Wikipedia]    Romanian Folk Dances, whose original title (in Hungarian): Román népi táncok – is a suite of six short piano pieces composed by Béla Bartók in 1915. He later orchestrated it for small ensemble in 1917.  It is based on seven Romanian fiddle tunes from Transylvania.  Closing out the program will be Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony.  It was written as a piece for string orchestra and received its first performance in (1934) in Norwich, with Britten conducting an amateur orchestra.  The piece is based on eight themes which Britten wrote during his childhood (two per movement) and for which he had a particular fondness. He completed his final draft of this piece at age twenty.

Patrons to the concert are invited to a Pre-Concert Lecture being presented by Dr. Marcus Engelmann of the Music Department of Allan Hancock College.  Dr. Engelmann will give a deeper understanding of the background and history, as well as some insight into the heart, mind and souls of the composers.  The Pre-Concert Lecture begins at 6:50 pm in The Great Room at Grace Baptist Church.

The concert begins promptly at 7:30 pm at Grace Baptist Church, 605 E. McCoy in Santa Maria.  Tickets are $30 (General Admission), $25 (Seniors – 62+ years), and $12 (Students – at the door ONLY).  General and Senior Admission Tickets may be purchased in person at Company’s Coming (Albertson’s Shopping Center in Orcutt), Owen’s Music (Main Street across from the Town Center Mall), and at the Santa Maria Philharmonic Office (120 Jones Street, Ste. 120).  You may also purchase tickets via phone with the Santa Maria Philharmonic Office (925-0412) or online, www.santamariaphilharmonic.org.

Senior Patrons: Do you need a ride to the concerts?  The Santa Maria Philharmonic Society received a grant the Towbes Foundation allowing us to collaborate with SMOOTH, Inc. in providing rides to and from our concerts for seniors in the Santa Maria and Orcutt areas.  This is of great benefit to seniors who can no longer drive at night yet still want to attend our wonderful concerts.  And the transportation is FREE.  SMOOTH vans will pick you up at your home and bring you to our venue for the concert.  After the concert you will be transported back to your home.  If you are interested in participating in this program, please call the Philharmonic Office (925-0412) and ask for George.  This service is FREE to seniors.  Tell your friends about this opportunity.