The 2018-19 season is coming to a close for two more ensembles this weekend, including the Victoria Baroque Players, in one of its periodic explorations of Classical-era repertoire (Friday, 7:30 p.m., Church of St. John the Divine, $28/$25/$5; victoria-baroque.com).
Six members of the VBP will offer a chamber-music program including two substantial works from the 1780s: Mozart’s Horn Quintet, K. 407, and a divertimento for horn, flute and strings by Michael Haydn (Joseph’s brother). Michael was a prolific, wide-ranging, very fine composer, especially renowned for his sacred music, and he was based in Salzburg, where he befriended the Mozart family.
These two works will feature Andrew Clark, a British-born virtuoso on the natural (valveless) horn who recorded the Mozart quintet for a 2005 EMI Classics CD.
Friday’s program also includes a divertimento for strings (i.e., string quartet) by the 16-year-old Mozart, and a flute quartet, K. 285b, that was attributed to but is probably not by Mozart.
The chamber choir Vox Humana’s season-ending concert, on Saturday, will be a fine demonstration of its commitment to contemporary and Canadian music (8 p.m., St. Andrew’s Catholic Cathedral, $20, 25 and under free; voxhumanachoir.ca).
The program comprises a cappella repertoire by 11 Canadian composers, including several locals: Liova Bueno, Nicholas Fairbank, Tobin Stokes. Other works include Jocelyn Morlock’s One Black Spike, about immigrant labour used to build the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in the early 20th century, and Jeff Enns’s I Lost My Talk, based on a poem by Mi’kmaw writer Rita Joe, about her being forced to give up her native language at a residential school in Nova Scotia.
Seven works on the program were commissioned by Vox Humana itself over the years, two of them especially for this concert: David Archer’s Fire and Ice, after Robert Frost’s poem; and Bueno’s Canadian Triptych, inspired by three Canadian poets.
Also on Saturday, Shoko Inoue, a Japanese-born pianist who moved here from Toronto in 2010, will offer a conspicuously diverse program well suited to a performer who has a commanding technique yet focuses primarily on the emotional and spiritual side of music (2 p.m., Tom Lee Music, 105-2401D Millstream Rd., Millstream Village, Langford, $40; tomleemusic.ca/event).
Inoue will perform two 19th-century masterpieces: Schubert’s lyrical, introspective, profoundly expressive Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, his last sonata, composed shortly before his death; and Busoni’s flamboyantly virtuosic arrangement of Bach’s famous D-minor chaconne for solo violin.
The other piece on the program is the Piano Sonata No. 1 by Carl Vine, an Australian composer born in 1954. Composed in 1990, it is one of Vine’s most popular works and a fixture of the contemporary piano repertoire.
To put it in the soberest scholarly terms, the sonata is a real corker.
In two movements and running 15 to 20 minutes, it is a work bursting with ideas, and it makes extraordinary demands on the pianist. It is a veritable encyclopedia of piano techniques, textures and colours and is fiendishly complex rhythmically, though it also full of poetry and mystery.
Saturday’s recital will be held in a space that seats about 60, an excellent setting for Inoue, who chafes at the formality of conventional concerts and prefers playing in intimate settings (including private homes) where she can “feel the audience.”
(To reserve seats, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Inoue will also give a public masterclass at Tom Lee Music, on Sunday (2 p.m.).
Finally, again on Saturday, George Corwin will conduct his third program of nonets under the auspices of the DieMalher Chamber Music Series (2:30 p.m., Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 1701 Elgin Rd., $25/$22.50, students by donation; diemahlerenterprises.com).
Corwin, who retired from the University of Victoria in 1995 after 26 years as a professor and conductor there, has long had a special interest in the nonet medium. Last year, he gave two nonet concerts covering an interesting range of repertoire.
On Saturday, he will direct two staples of this repertoire, by Louis Spohr (1813) and Joseph Rheinberger (1884), both for five winds and four strings.
He will also give the première of a nonet titled Conversations, written especially for this ensemble by local composer Charles Dool.