Classical Music: Music and beer combined for a fun cocktail

On Friday, at its Baumann Centre (925 Balmoral Rd.), Pacific Opera Victoria will host a pleasant-sounding event called A Grand Tour of Beer, a “beer-soaked musical journey through five regions, each with its own unique tradition of classical music and brewing” (7:30 p.m., $40; pov.bc.ca/grand-tour.html). Admission includes five 10-oz. glasses of beer and snacks, and is limited to those 19 or older.

The music, drawn mostly from the 18th century, will be performed by three period-instrument specialists: the local duo of violinist Paul Luchkow and harpsichordist Michael Jarvis, joined by gambist Sam Stadlen, a member of the acclaimed British consort Fretwork.

article continues below

The Luchkow-Jarvis Duo has strictly limited patience with the standard repertoire, preferring more adventurous fare. Their program for Friday, which includes sonatas, trios and a harpsichord solo, is characteristically diverse and intriguing, including works by Antonín Kammel (who was Czech), Georg Philipp Telemann (German), Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (Dutch) and James Lates (English).

North America is represented in the closing number: The Siege of Quebec, by Frantisek Kocvara, a Czech composer much of whose peripatetic career was spent in England. Left unfinished at Kocvara’s death in 1791 and completed by another composer, this is a delightfully vivid piece based on a historical event, full of descriptive details (fanfares, cannon blasts, marching soldiers, galloping horses, swordfights, laments for the fallen, victory celebrations).

There will also be a couple of period drinking songs, in which the audience will be asked to join, and, we are assured, “dancing on the tables will not be discouraged.”

A Grand Tour of Beer will be hosted by local beer expert Joe Wiebe, who blogs as the Thirsty Writer (thirstywriter.com). He is the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries, co-founded the annual Victoria Beer Week and is director of content for the B.C. Ale Trail project.

Wiebe has selected a beer to accompany each piece, all but one of them from local breweries (Hoyne, Moon Under Water, Driftwood, Category 12). They will be available for sale through a pop-up store operated by Vessel.

Saturday’s chamber-music concert at the University of Victoria, titled Wind and Song and featuring 14 performers, will be primarily a showcase for the School of Music’s brass and woodwind faculty, though they will be joined by colleagues and guests — strings, percussion, piano, voice (8 p.m., Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, $25/$20/$10; pre-concert talk at 7; finearts.uvic.ca/music/calendar).

The novel and diverse program comprises works of various sizes and forms (sonata, trio, suite, divertissement, concerto) and includes only one piece of standard repertoire: Schubert’s song Auf dem Strom (On the Stream), which will be sung by tenor Benjamin Butterfield. (Schubert wrote it in his last year, 1828, especially for a concert of his own works in Vienna, the only such concert in his lifetime.)

The rest of the program dates from 1935 and later, and includes music by French composer Florent Schmitt; two Americans, James Barnes and Fisher Tull; and Don Sweete, an Ontario-born composer who has worked for decades in the music department of the Stratford Festival. Butterfield will perform selections from a repertoire of which he has lately been an ardent champion — the art songs by Randy Newman.

On Sunday, the Victoria Symphony will launch its Classics Series with a concert directed by English violinist Monica Huggett (2:30 p.m., Farquhar Auditorium, UVic Centre, $33-$56; victoriasymphony.ca).

Huggett has been a figure of international prominence in the early-music movement since the 1970s, as a soloist and orchestral musician and as the founder and director of ensembles (she remains artistic director of the Portland Baroque Orchestra, in Oregon).

She has appeared here several times over the years, most recently in 2014 (for the Early Music Society of the Islands) and in 2016, when she was the soloist with the Victoria Symphony in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Sunday’s program features two generations of early- and mid-18th-century composers: Telemann, J.S. Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (J.S.’s eldest son and a fascinating, if somewhat tragic, figure) and Johann Gottlieb Graun, who spent almost 40 years based at the Prussian court in Berlin.

Two of the concertos will feature Huggett as soloist.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist



Most Popular


Popular Classical_Music