What: Trio Fumasoli: Bach, Brahms and Beyond.
When/where: Friday, 7 p.m., Olympic View Golf Club (643 Latoria Rd., Colwood).
Tickets: $22. Online at eventbrite.ca.
What: Music at Wentworth Villa: Sara Davis Buechner, piano, with Yayoi Hirano, mime dancer.
When/where: Thursday, May 10, 7:30 p.m., Wentworth Villa (1156 Fort St.).
Tickets: $40, students $25. Online at wentworthvilla.com.
On Friday, British cellist Michael Kevin Jones, who lives in Madrid, will appear in a recital sponsored by the West Shore Arts Council, joined by clarinetist Patricia Kostek and pianist Bruce Vogt, both of whom are longtime faculty members at the University of Victoria. Jones is in the midst of a tour that will take him to cities on four continents. Since last week, he has performed in several places in this area — alone, with Vogt and with the full trio — and this leg of his tour will wrap up on Sunday when he and Vogt perform in Chemainus. For the occasion, the three are calling themselves Trio Fumasoli, and are planning further performances together, including perhaps in Spain.
On Friday, Jones will perform selections from Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello, all of which he recorded in 2002, on a 1667 Stradivarius, for a CD released by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York.
The program will also include selections from a cello sonata and a clarinet sonata by Brahms, as well as Beethoven’s Op. 11 trio and Max Bruch’s Eight Pieces, Op. 83, both written especially for this unusual combination of instruments. Jones, indeed, seems to have a penchant for unusual ensembles, to judge from the chamber repertoire in his discography and from the fact that he is one-half of what claims to be “the only established cello-guitar duo in the world.”
The American pianist Sara Davis Buechner has long been a favourite with Victoria audiences, as both recitalist and concerto soloist. For 13 years she was based at the University of British Columbia and she appeared here often during that period. In 2016, she moved to Philadelphia, to teach at Temple University, though she has fortunately kept Victoria on her touring schedule. She appeared here most recently last May, when she gave a thrilling performance of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Victoria Symphony.
One of Buechner's local distinctions is a recital she gave at Wentworth Villa in May 2016, marking that restored heritage home’s debut as a venue for music. Next Thursday, May 10, she will return to Wentworth Villa to close its second full season of concerts.
(The Villa’s performance space seats only about 85, and all of this season’s concerts have sold out — hence, this early heads-up.)
Buechner’s technical mastery, interpretive insight and passion make her a powerful personality in any repertoire, but she also has a refreshing curiosity that draws her, again and again, to off-the-beaten-track, but very interesting repertoire. As I write this, for instance, I am listening to her CDs of music by Rudolf Friml, piano concertos drawn from classic movie soundtracks and Busoni’s arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
On May 10, she will trace connections between Japanese and French music. Her program will be framed by major works by composers from Japan, where she has an especially devoted following. One of these works, Ten Études for Piano (2011), is a set of highly individual character pieces Buechner commissioned from a former pupil, pianist and composer Yukiko Nishimura.
The second half of the program will be given over to a sonata from 1949 by Yoshinao Nakada (1923-2000), who survived service as a kamikaze pilot during the Second World War and whose military experiences, Buechner says, “are reflected in the conflicted emotions that seem to inform Nakada’s music.”
In between will be a substantial work of French repertoire: Histoires, by Jacques Ibert (1890-1962), a set of 10 impressionistic “stories” and one of several works that helped to establish Ibert’s reputation in the early 1920s. But there will be a Japanese twist here, too: Buechner’s performance will be accompanied by Yayoi Hirano, a Vancouver-based mime dancer with whom she has worked often. Hirano will realize her own choreography, making use of a different Noh-style mask for each of Ibert’s pieces.
After Buechner and Hirano performed these same works at Carnegie Hall last June, the New York Times reported that, in the Ibert, Hirano’s “gracefully stylized pantomimes” had “deepened the music’s mystery and whimsy,” and that the whole program “showcased the breadth of Ms. Buechner’s artistry.”