Four Seasons In Three ChurchesThursday, December 14, 2006
This Friday at 7:30 the Three Musketeers will be sitting at the front row pew of St James'Anglican Church, 303 Cordova in East Vancouver. This special concert by the Pacific Baroque Orchestra will feature Vivaldi's Four Seasons and the music of other remarkable but lesser known composers like Francesco Durante and Pietro Antonio Locatelli.
On Tuesday, Father Mark and his dog Bear let us in through the sacristy door of St James'Anglican Church in Vancouver. Violinists Lucinda Moon and Paul Luchkow, violist Glenys Webster, my granddaughter Rebecca and I entered the darkened church. Father Mark turned on the lights and we recognized our old friend, built between 1935 and 1937. We were there to take the picture you see here (Glenys Webster, left, Paul Luchkow, right, Lucinda Moon, centre). The idea is to tell a few more people of the wonders to be heard at this most interesting Vancouver church.
Rebecca already knows about St James as we attend all the unannounced (relatively) Pacific Baroque Orchestra concerts held here. She likes to visit the belfry (during concert intermissions) with the woman who has the key, Patricia Canning. Both Rebecca and I scrape the filling off the Oreo cookies served with coffee and tea at the concert intermissions. We have discussed how interesting it is to know that a most English church is dedicated to a most Spanish saint, Santiago. But then a few of us know that the English architect Adrian Giller Scott was most Catholic. Rebecca and I have gone through every Station of the Cross. St James' Anglican is as close to being Catholic without being so! Musicians who play here have given the church an affectionate nickname, "St James Smoky". Patricia Canning (she lives nearby and volunteers her services at St James) told me the smoky smell comes from the high quality true Omani frankincense that is burned during services.
One of the singular pleasures I enjoy in Vancouver is to listen, from the front row, to my favourite baroque music played live at such intimate concert halls as the UBC Recital Hall, the UBC Chapel and the Pacific Baroque Orchestra's yearly series held on Saturdays at St Augustine's Catholic Church and on Sundays at West Vancouver United Church. It is even more intimate since I know all of the musicians as I have been attending the PBO concerts since 1992. After the performances we like to linger and ask the musicians questions about the music and their instruments. Soon they are your friends. During the last four years I have been taking Rebecca and also going with architect Abraham Rogatnick and designer Graham Walker. We four are the Three Musketeers.
Rebecca asked Lucinda Moon , the visiting soloist from the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra about her shoes. Moon described them, "They are made from a cow that didn't shave." I asked Moon how she was going to play that most beautiful Largo from Winter of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. "It will be a surprise," she said. I have attended Lucinda Moon's previous collaborations with the PBO. If you haven't be prepared to be doubly surprised.
For those who will be going to hear Corey Cerovsek (I will be there with Rebecca and her mother Hilary) play the Four Seasons with the Vancouver Symphony at the Chan Centre on the 22 or the 23 of December this is an excellent opportunity to compare notes and note the differences in sound and approach between Moon's baroque violin (and the other baroque strings of the PBO) and Cerovsek's "modern" “Milanollo” Stradivarius of 1728.
While I would not stop you from going to the PBO's concerts at the other two churches, St Augustine Catholic Church in Kerrisdale is particularly beautiful, you now know that on the Friday before any of the official concerts you can enjoy beginning at 7:30 pm (There is a pre-concert talk at 7) the PBO and Oreos at St James's Anglican. This does not mean that you should not pay at the door. Minors don't, but you hardworking adults can always contribute to the worthy cause of St James'Anglican. The musicians, including Paul Luchkow (see below), will smile.
Marc Destrube and Bach's Brandenburg Concertos