The 350th birthday of one of the great baroque composers seems good reason for Pacific Baroque Festival 2018 to celebrate the music of François Couperin whose profound influence transformed French music towards the end of Louis XIV’s reign.
“If instrumental music can ever be political then one might see a humanistic purpose in Couperin’s attempts to reconcile in some of his compositions the hotly-contested French and Italian styles of his day, or perhaps envisage a united Europe through his collection of trio sonatas Les Nations,” says Marc Destrubé, the festival’s artistic director. “Or, his music is quite simply beautiful and touching, combining grace with grandeur, discrétion, beauté et délicatesse” in the context of extended sonatas and suites. His ability to evoke a mood through choice of key and adventurous harmonies made his character pieces miniature tone poems.”
The Pacific Baroque Festival – Le Grand Siècle – Music in the Glow of the Sun King – runs Feb. 15 to 18 in Victoria.
It starts with ‘Order and Disorder’ on Feb. 15 at 11 a.m. featuring Chantal Rémillard and Marc Destrubé (baroque violin); Natalie Mackie (viola da gamba); Michael Jarvis (harpsichord) in the Alix Goolden Performance Hall.
The Perfection of Music is Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. featuring Alex Weimann (organ) and Victoria Children’s Choir at Christ Church Cathedral.
‘In the Gilded Cage is Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. featuring Hélène Brunet and Catherine Webster (sopranos); Chantal Rémillard and Marc Destrubé (baroque violin); Natalie Mackie (viola da gamba); Michael Jarvis (harpsichord) in the Alix Goolden Performance Hall.
‘From Chaos to Sublime Beauty is Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. featuring Hélène Brunet and Catherine Webster (sopranos); Benjamin Butterfield (tenor); Nathan McDonald (bass) Victoria Children’s Choir; St Christopher Singers (Men) Pacific Baroque Festival Ensemble in the Alix Goolden Performance Hall.
The Festival concludes with its usual special Choral Evensong Service which this year features music composed for the female voice by François Couperin as well as an earlier court composer, Henri Du Mont. The service also includes a premiere performance of a ‘Nunc Dimittis’ by Jean-Joseph Mouret, transcribed for the Festival from the original score. Completing the music will be Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s beautifully crafted sacred work, his ‘Stabat mater’.Choral Evensong ‘The Beauty of Genius’ is Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m. featuring St. Christopher Singers and Pacific Baroque Festival Ensemble at Christ Church Cathedral.
Tickets for festival shows range from $20 to $30 and are available online at pacbaroque.com, by phone at 250-386-5311 or in person at the Victoria Conservatory of Music (900 Johnson St.), Christ Church Cathedral Office (930 Burdett Ave.), Ivy’s Book Shop (2188 Oak Bay Ave.), Long & McQuade (756 Hillside Ave), Munro’s Books (1108 Government St) and Tanner’s Books (2436 Beacon Ave.)
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