The Fox Cabaret & Wine (not beer) Is AnconiteWednesday, February 25, 2015
|Fox Cabaret - Feb 25 2015|
I have a confession to make. When I arrived in Vancouver in 1975 determined to make my career in photography I resolved there were four things I was never going to do:
Within years I had done two and tried a third. I was assigned by Vancouver Magazine to photograph the wedding of poet Susan Musgrave to bank robber Stephen Reid at a maximum security prison at Kent. I also photographed D.O.A. Joey Shithead’s wedding since I was unable to refuse. I photographed both my granddaughters from a very early age. I never did a Bar Mitzvah.
I attempted to shoot pornography but failed. My definition for pornography is that it is something done in bad taste. All my pursuits in shooting it were thwarted by a built-in good taste mechanism.
|The countertenor & the tenor|
Tonight’s concert The English Orpheus a co-production between Early Music Vancouver and Music on Main at the Fox Cabaret (a former rather infamous porn theatre) was all in good taste in spades. Spades might here be better represented by hearts as the colour scheme of the re-born Fox Cabaret is a lurid red and the program with the two warm hearted performers, Charles Daniels, tenor, and Alexander Weimann on harpsichord and piano was straight from the heart.
The concert was packed and this is probably due to the savvy of two men. One is EMV Artistic Director Matthew White who has brought the modern use of up-to-date techniques in promotion and social media to an organization that was honed by his predecessor José Verstappen. As a former countertenor (in hiatus?), White has the connections (world-wide) with the best baroque performers around. To have brought the English tenor Charles Daniels for this intimate concert borders on the unbelievable.
|The German & the Englishman|
The other man is the dogged (but pleasant with an ever present smile) David Pay who has an eclectic interest in music that can never be pinned down to this or that. He started sometime around September 2006 (note my portrait of him) with the idea of featuring concerts and other arts at the Vancouver Heritage Hall on 3102 Main Street. Pay’s Music on Main branched out into smaller venues like the now closed (alas!) Jazz Cellar where he once featured Alexander Weimann playing jazz on a harpsichord.
|David Pay at Heritage Hall, Sept 2006|
Tonight’s program featured Charles Daniels singing works of Purcell, and for me many surprisingly wonderful unknowns like William and Henry Lawes, Christopher Jenkins, John Blow and the strangely named Senior Baptist. He was accompanied by Pacific Baroque Orchestra Musical Director, Alexander Weimann on the harpsichord. It was a perfect combination of like minds. You might wonder how that could be as Weimann is German (in that precise way we all pigeonhole Germans) and the other, Daniels a most English man.
If you consider that Queen Victoria amply made sure that her royalty descendants would all be English or German (and Russian), then this outwardly odd paring makes sense.
Charles Daniels is a tenor that this amateur blogger recognizes as having a special talent in diction (you can almost understand his German when he sings in it) but best of all if you are not drawn to reading the lyrics on the program and your are close enough to see him (as I was tonight) you will notice how his face acts the part, the words, the emotions.
The first half of the program featured songs on the themes of sleep, dreams, death, love and a bit of women, wine and song.
The second half (can we thank David Pay for this?) featured Weimann on the piano (I can almost assert my suspicion that he is unable to play the accordion) and works by more modern (except for one piece by Purcell) composers I never heard of, Ivor Gurney and Frank Bridge. There were a couple of compositions by Daniels himself. But the best part were poems (Winter Words) by Thomas Hardy set to music by Benjamin Britten.
The music was superb and the poems so evocatively sung by Daniels made me resolve to go to my Vancouver Public Library to get more Hardy.
If you note the b+w strip of pictures I would suggest that the presence of the Fotoautomaton at the Fox should be an ancillary reason for attending concerts there. With the simple tap of your Visa ($2.24) you sit, have your picture taken (4 exposures) and five minutes later you have an exceptional, of doubtful but analog quality, souvenir unlike anything in this digital age.