Archangelo Corelli & The Wedding At CanaMonday, May 19, 2014
Saturday evenings are sacrosanct in our home. We invite Hilary and her daughter Lauren, 11 for dinner and a home movie after. Usually Lauren shows up early in the afternoon and she helps Rosemary in the garden and cleans, too. Our other granddaughter, Rebecca, 16, now works on Saturday afternoons so she has been absent from our get-together now for almost a year.
Last Saturday, May 17 we decided to make a change. We had a quick light dinner (cucumber, pâté and egg salad sandwiches and three of us (Rosemary stayed at home) went immediately (we wanted to sit on the front row, centre) to Beautiful Baroque, a Concert Grace production (at Grace Memorial United Church on 803 East 16th Ave) in which our two friends Paul Luchkow ( baroque violin) and Michael Jarvis (Italian harpsichord) were performing a program of Archangelo Corelli, Henry Purcell, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, Jean-Marie Leclair and Johann Sebastian Bach.
We managed to sit centre, front row. Lauren said she was going to sketch. This she did but often she stopped to watch and listen. Her mother was reading a book on arthritis as she is taking a health course.
I have always told my family that good music is a nice excuse to read, sketch or even sleep. The latter can be a particular luxury.
Now this was a wonderful concert that was a reverse of the New Testament’s the Wedding at Cana, since the best wine was served first.
On a desert island first in my list of musical recordings would be Corelli’s Violin Sonatas Opus 5 particularly the recording by Trio Sonnerie with Monica Huggett on violin, Mitzi Meyerson on harpsichord and Sarah Cunningham, cello and the addition of Nigel North on archlute, theorbo and baroque guitar. My absolute fave of those sonatas is Sonata No. 3 in C Major. The first movement Adagio is a killer. After hearing the Luchkow/Jarvis version I must reconsider my desert island plan.
Now Grace Memorial United Church is a very small church with beautiful stained glass windows ensconced in an over-100-year-old-building with no salient architectural surprises. A big baroque orchestra would not work. Luchkow and Jarvis took advantage of this and played in a volume proper to an intimate living room of friends. It felt like that as on one side they had home baked sweets and lovely teacups in which they served a Kenyan blend of black tea brought to Vancouver by JusTea. I happen to appreciate Kenyan over Tanzanian tea.
Luchkow accompanied by Jarvis playing on a tiny Italian harpsichord (usually these instruments are not adorned and such was the case of the Colin Booth, Wells, England 1983 instrument after Domenicus Pisauresis, 1553) chose to play the sonata in what to this amateur in music would call pianissimo. It was incredibly intimate and I could not but notice that Lauren was transfixed. The rest of the concert was a delight but to me that Corelli was not to be topped!
During the intermission, the still flexible Luchkow squatted in front of Lauren to enquire on her sketches. He guessed correctly that Lauren’s violin sketch included a chin rest, something that no baroque violinist would be caught dead with.
As we left, Lauren, who has been studying the violin (her choice) for three years said she was going to practice as soon as she got home.
Kudos to Grace Memorial United which will continue with this intimate series with a concert with soprano Bahareh Poureslami and Pianist Nina Horvath.
Lauren previously sketched a baroque concert including Michael Jarvis here. At that time she was helped by my friend and designer Graham Walker who this time could not attend.
|Michael Jarvis - Lauren Stewart & Graham Walker