It was most appropriate that the concert that I attended today with my house guest Sandrine Cassini, new ballet mistress at Ballet BC, was at an Anglican church.
It gave me the opportunity to quote to myself the words of Christ as written by St. Luke in the King James Bible.
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
At age 81 with most of my family and many friends dead, and especially with the death of my Rosemary 3 years ago, I am surrounded by thoughts, memories, photographs and music like today’s which I dedicate to those departed from my life.
The stellar violinist Marc Destrubé, (multi-talented in that he plays from baroque music to music of this century with baroque violins and modern one), offered us, an extremely lucky audience, with Bach on his solo violin that made me forget my uncomfortable church pew. I was deliberately keeping my feet unmoved as Destrubé told me not sit in front of his gaze as my feet distracted him!
Bach, with only the adornments of Destrubé’s playing, and no “distracting” orchestra made me realize that I was in a place that anywhere else in the world (and not our provincial Vancouver) would have been attended by hundreds. At my age, the statistical possibility of being present again for this kind of program is zero.
There is something to be said about a performer that plays with a virtuosity that reminds me that years ago, the magazine Saturday Night, asked me to photograph the then very young violin prodigy Corey Cerovsek with the idea that his talent came via the devil.
Destrubé is far too charming and warm to be associated with that fallen angel. And not only that, he is a born teacher, so his explanations for the music he is about to play, always make me learn something new.
Listening to Bach today made me remember that my mother often told me that on a desert island she would listen to Bach’s 6 Brandenburg Concertos. When Destrubé mentioned those Brandenburgs in his talk I recalled that he commissioned years ago, a local (scary looking but not scary) composer, Bradshaw Pack to create a piece that would go along with Destrubé's Pacific Baroque Orchestra playing those 6 Brandenburgs. After the concert Pack told me, “Only a couple of people left during the playing of my composition!”
Sweet playing Destrubé is the man whose Microcosmos Quartet exposed me twice to all 6 of Bartok’s string quartets, and recently, to this beautifully difficult house concert.
I have attended many concerts with my Rosemary where Destrubé has played. One lovely memory happened some years ago when Rosemary, our granddaughter Rebecca and I, went to Washington, DC. We made a special trip to one of the Smithsonian museums for one specific reason. We wanted to see the beautifully decorated quartet of Stradivarius instruments that the Axelrod Quartet plays in concerts in DC (but not anywhere else as it is too expensive to insure those instruments). And we should all know that Destrubé is the leader of this quartet.
The instrument that Destrubé played in today’s concert is an Italian 1685 violin that was retrofitted some years ago from being an instrument that was modernized to be able to handle metal strings to one that could be fitted with gut strings. And of course, courtesy of Destrube’s teaching, I know that he did not have a chin rest today. The chinrest, was invented by composer Louis Spohr around 1820.