Classical Music: Concert season ending on a high

Beethoven and Haydn: Passion and Tenderness

On Friday, in its final concert of the season, the Sidney Classical Orchestra will sponsor a return visit by pianist Jamie Syer, who will be the soloist in Beethoven’s delightful Piano Concerto No. 2 (April 12, 7:30 p.m., St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, $25/$13, under 20 free; sidneyclassicalorchestra.ca).

Syer lived here from 2004 to 2012, and held several positions at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. (It was with the Sidney Classical Orchestra that he had his first local concerto gig.) In 2012, he resettled on a farm in the tiny town of Bergen, in his native Alberta, and is now semi-retired, though he still does some teaching and performing. He last appeared with the Sidney orchestra in 2014.

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The other works on Friday’s program are Haydn’s Symphony No. 91 and a short piece, Black Eyed Susan, by the orchestra's founder and conductor, Stephen Brown.

The Victoria Chamber Orchestra, too, will bring its season to a close on Friday, with an interesting miscellany of string-orchestra works (7:30 p.m., First Metropolitan United Church, $20/$15, music students free; victoriachamberorchestra.org).

The program comprises a concerto by Albinoni; Summer from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons; Aquarelles (1850), a set of “little tone pictures” (originally for piano) by Danish composer Niels W. Gade; and an octet from 1900 by Russian composer Reinhold Glière.

The violin soloist in the Vivaldi will be Elijah Kim, who, in February, won the VCO’s annual Louis Sherman Concerto Competition. Though just 12, Kim is an old hand at The Four Seasons. Last month, he performed Summer at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, where he studies, and with the Sidney Classical Orchestra.

Linden Singers and EnChor: Community

On March 30, in Vancouver, the Linden Singers of Victoria, directed by Brian Wismath, collaborated in concert with the Vancouver-based EnChor, in a program whose theme, appropriately, was “Community.” On Saturday, the two choirs will repeat the program here (7:30 p.m., St. Aidan’s United Church, $20, under 25 free; lindensingers.com).

EnChor, a mixed-voice choir for experienced singers 55 and older, was founded in 2007 by Diane Loomer, who died in 2012.

It is now directed by Morna Edmundson, who is also artistic director of the acclaimed Elektra Women’s Choir, which she and Loomer founded in 1987.

The two choirs will perform separately and as a massed ensemble of almost 100 voices, in a wide-ranging program that includes music by composers from Victoria and Vancouver.

Masterworks: Colafelice plays Beethoven

On Monday, two Italian-born musicians will make their Victoria Symphony debuts in a Masterworks program: conductor Giordano Bellincampi and the award-winning young pianist Leonardo Colafelice (April 15, 8 p.m., Royal Theatre, $33-$86; victoriasymphony.ca).

Bellincampi actually grew up and has spent much of his career working in Denmark, though he currently holds conducting positions in New Zealand and Norway.

He also teaches at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, where one of his pupils was Christian Kluxen, the Victoria Symphony’s music director, who hails from Copenhagen.

On Monday, Bellincampi and Colafelice will join forces in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1. Bellincampi will also conduct Mendelssohn’s masterly Scottish Symphony (No. 3) and the dramatically charged overture to Luigi Cherubini’s opera Médée (1797), a work much admired by Beethoven (who considered Cherubini his greatest contemporary) and by Brahms, who considered Médée the epitome of dramatic music.

Haydn’s The Seven Last Words

Finally, next Tuesday, as part of Holy Week activities at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, the Emily Carr String Quartet will give a repeat performance of Haydn’s The Seven Last Words, which it performed at St. Andrew’s two years ago as part of a concert series celebrating the cathedral’s 125th anniversary (April 16, 7:30 p.m., by donation; emilycarrstringquartet.com).

Haydn composed The Seven Last Words as an orchestral work in about 1785, for special Holy Week church services in Cadiz, Spain. It is an extraordinary piece — an hour-long sequence of seven substantial, meditative slow movements, one corresponding to each of the last utterances of the crucified Christ, bracketed by a grave introduction and a furious finale depicting the earthquake that followed Christ’s death.

Haydn considered The Seven Last Words one of his greatest works. It proved so popular that he released it in a string-quartet version and in a keyboard arrangement, and recast it years later as a choral-orchestral oratorio.

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