The Young Beethoven: Music for Winds Ab Koster will perform the Sonata in F Major, op. 17 (1800), paying the valveless horn of the 18th and early 19th century. This entire concert will be played on the type of instruments common in Beethoven's early career. Koster is joined by Paul Dombrecht and his oboe, Eric Hoeprich and his clarinet, Dennis Godburn and his bassoon, John Gibbons on the fortepiano and Norman Fischer and his cello. The program also includes Quintet in Eb Major, op 16 (1797) and Trio in Bb Major, op 11 (1797). 8 p.m. Stude Concert Hall, Rice University (entrance no. 8 off University). Da Camera ticket services, 524-5050. $14-$29.
This is the Sound of My Heart Beth Secor, Houston artist, activist, and friend to children and old folks, presents a new solo exhibition of thrilling, wholesome paintings. In this town, when we see an exhibition of work by kids or senior citizens, odds are good that Secor had a hand in the show. And she used to host poetry slams, instead of presenting her own stuff. This show is of her work only. She likes personal narratives and the minutia of day-to-day life. Opening reception 6-8 p.m. Through April 9. Inman Gallery, 1114 Barkdull, 529-9676.
Carnevale di Venezia and concert The Houston Symphony's annual winter ball will go on as scheduled, despite this clement weather, and will be preceded by a concert. Emanuel Ax is the pianist and Christoph Eschenbach, of course, conducts for a program of Dvorak, Richard Strauss, Mozart and Offenbach. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and is followed, immediately, by the Symphony League's winter ball, Carnevale de Venezia. Those who purchase tickets to the ball may attend a pre-concert reception, the concert and the ball, the last with live entertainment and dance music from the Peter Duchin Orchestra. Concert, Jones Hall; dinner-dance, Hyatt Regency. For tickets and reservations to the concert alone, call 227-2787. $20-$70. For tickets and reservations to the whole shebang, including Carnevale, call 238-1435. $350, $500 and $1,000.
C.S. Lewis On Stage Tom Key's one-man show celebrates medieval and renaissance literature professor and sugary goofball C.S. Lewis. Key dons Oxford duds and reads from Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity and Letters to an American Lady. Key is, perhaps, no Anthony Hopkins, who portrayed Lewis in Shadowlands, but he's done 120 C.S. Lewis shows and none of them with Debra Winger mooning around. Wine and cheese at 7:30, performance at 8 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, 227-2807. $10.
The Locke Consort More antique music, this from a mostly-from-Amsterdam group that includes a Texas girl, baroque violinist Mimi Mitchell. The Consort's program tonight is entitled "Passion and Division," and includes music by Henry Purcell, Robert de Visee, Arcangelo Corelli and Giovanni Legrenzi. 8 p.m. Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard. Tickets are available only at the door. For more information, call Anne Pearson at 995-0830, or Paul Mott, 524-9387. $10.
The Boys Next Door Karen Douglas will soon be leaving the Actors Workshop and, for her last show as artistic director, she's indulging herself by presenting a personal favorite, The Boys Next Door. Tom Griffin's play was a huge success off-Broadway, and while the four central characters may not be entirely accurately drawn, this story of retarded men is sincere. It's also sweetly funny. Opening tonight with a champagne reception. Through April 9. 8:30 p.m. The Actors Workshop, 1009 Chartres, 236-1844. Opening night tickets $17.
A World That Is Not Our Own When he was young, Sir Frank Kermode was one of the few students from the Isle of Mann sent to university. His career has gone quite well since then, and now, after a career at Cambridge and Columbia University, he's got a post-retirement gig at UH. This distinguished visiting professor is honored on his 75th birthday, not with cake and paper hats, but with a conference in his name. Kermode's friends and peers will speak at "A World That Is Not Our Own: Concords and Discords in Contemporary Criticism." In the criticism business, Kermode is one rung below God, and seems to have bridged the yawning gulf between academics and more journalistic efforts. His '60s book The Sense of an Ending is the subject of Margaret Doody's talk. The theme is apocalypse as a pervasive mode in culture. Do we seek closure? Or do we just want to see everyone snuffed? (Stephen King's The Stand has an apocalypse theme. So does Golden Days by Carolyn See.) As Kermode did in his book, Doody will talk about why we want to talk about things that would wipe us all out. Then, everyone will have lunch and attend more talks. On Sunday, David Mikics will present Kermode On the Outside Looking In, a discussion of Kermode's The Genesis of Secrecy. That book points out that the Gospel of St. Mark is told in parables, and that Jesus himself says he's talking in parables so some people won't get it. Right now, Kermode is teaching 17th-century poetry and, according to conference organizer Mikics, "It's hard to predict what sort of polemics will occur" at this Kermode fest. He also says the food is going to be pretty good. University of Houston, Hilton, Waldorf Astoria Room (210), 4800 Calhoun, 741-2447. There is no registration fee for this two-day confab on criticism. Parking will cost you $3.