With A Little Help From My FriendsSunday, December 04, 2011
For me and I would imagine for anybody else, Christmas is a tradition one spends with one’s family and friends. Since 1996 our tradition has been to spend it with my friends of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra. Through thick and thin, through good times and, now in these times of economic adversity, they manage to prepare us, in the true meaning of the Catholic word, Advent, for a festive and glorious Christmas.
They do this with artful bowing of baroque string instruments and with the virtuoso striking of the keys of a harpsichord by its maestro, Alexander Weimann. I have to admit here that the harpsichord until recently was, for me, a humdrum instrument that I tolerated with a detached acceptance as the only way I could listen to my beloved baroque strings. But that all changed when Weimann, in his intimate pre-concert talks convinced me that the harpsichord was one of the instruments that may have ushered in, well in advance (by at least 225 years), the era of improvised jazz.
If you think that the folks at the Pacific Baroque Orchestra who this Saturday, and Sunday in a concert called Fatto per la Notte di Natale – The Real Italian Baroque Christmas will be playing the likes of such composers as Corelli, Sammartini, Manfredini, Antonacci, Ferrandini among others you might understand my excitement. Except for Corelli (one of my favourite Italian masters of the Baroque era) and for a smattering here and there of Manfredini in my past, the other guys are absolutely new to me. Jesus is coming sans Messiah!
It means that when I sit with my family, but a few couple of meters from the orchestra, this will be music I will be hearing for the first time. I see no better way to usher in my advent into Christmas and the subsequent planning for the brand new year that follows.
If the music were not enough, there is the is the fact that I will be facing my friends of the orchestra. I have followed them through the years. I have seen them change haircuts and names (bass player Nan Mackie recently asserted to me that she was now Natalie). I have noticed (before others) the signs of pregnancy and shared with them the excitement of firstborns. In a recent phone call PBO violist and wife of Paul Luckow told me (she was very excited), " Wait till you see Paul's new glasses!"
But best of all it means that I will be able to gaze on violinist Paul Luckkow’s smile as he plays his violin with a skill the belies that easy smile. It means that I will think of his sons Max and Oscar and his violist wife Glenys and all the pleasures that they, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and I will share in coming years.
And of course there is that harpsichord, that exciting harpsichord, too!
The Pacific Baroque Orchestra
Fatto per la Notte di Natale – The Real Italian Baroque Christmas
Date: December 10, 11, 2011
Time: Saturday Dec. 10, West Van United Church ~ 7:30pm (Please note venue change)
Sunday Dec. 11, St. Mark’s Church ~ 7:30pm (Please note venue & time change)
The Harpsichord and Theatre
The Harpsichord maker
Don Giovanni, The Preacher, The Musical Director & The Real Estate Agent