A Glorious Gloria RevisitedSaturday, March 26, 2011
|Marc Destrubé chanelling Vivaldi, Illustration Graham Walker & Alex W-H |
Unique to that first live (for me) concert featuring the new (to me) Pacific Baroque Orchestra was that it was in association with the Elektra Women’s Choir. This meant that all the voices were women. I do believe that in most versions of that Gloria the choirs are always mixed. The Gloria was directed by the then musical director and virtuoso violinist Marc Destrubé.
What was particularly pleasant and exciting is that the Elektra Women’s Choir of the time had two red-haired sisters, Caitlin (an alto) and Phoebe (soprano) MacRae. They sang like goddess/muses. I have seen a few more live Glorias but that first one has always been dear to my heart.
Imagine then, that today I went to Ryerson’s to a performance of that very Gloria with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and (yes!) the Elektra Women’s Choir (alas no MacRae sisters!).
This time I took Rosemary, Hilary and her two daughters, Rebecca and Lauren. We sat up front and we were but a few feet from the harpsichordist/musical director Alex Weimann. But Marc Destrubé was up there, a mere 6ft away with his violin. Sand Dalton was not, but on oboe we had the usually most serious (my Rebecca whispered in my ear, “He smiled!”) Washington McClain. Rebecca then whispered, “That cannot be a trumpet (deftly played by Gerald Webster) it has to be a bugle.” I explained to her that it was indeed a baroque trumpet and that such instruments did not have normal valves.
The concert featured composers, certainly not what you might ever listen to on the CBC as they are hung up on Beethoven and the others of the 19th century, as Giovanni Legranzi, Jean Baptiste Lully, Johann Rosenmüller, Sigismondo d’India and another work by Antonio Vivaldi, il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione, op.8/2 ("La Primavera') from the Four Seasons.
Destrubé played that (particularly the ultra fast Allegro) with expertise and what seemed like effortless ease. The other best part of Primavera is the second movement Largo that features two barking dogs (Glennys Webster and Stephen Creswell, aka The Happy Bear), on violas. The sound, so directional when the group is small and one is near, was mesmerizing.
While I missed the MacRaes, soprano Margarét Ásgeirsdóttir amply made up for that loss.
I wonder where I will be in 15 years and if going to another Gloria with my granddaughters as grown girls is in my cards?