Villa setting for French, American music

Wentworth Villa, the beautiful Carpenter Gothic mansion at 1156 Fort St., built in 1863, is one of the oldest houses in Victoria. In 2012, it was purchased by a couple who spent several years undertaking an exquisite, costly restoration. This year, it will open as a museum devoted to Victoria’s architectural heritage.

The villa has also become a venue for music.

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On May 15, it hosted a recital by Vancouver-based pianist Sara Davis Buechner, and in September, it launched the first full season of a new concert series, Music at Wentworth Villa, under the artistic direction of Sarah Fryer, an experienced local mezzo-soprano with extensive Canadian and international credits.

The series will comprise six concerts, all on weekend afternoons. There have been two so far: violinist Marc Destrubé, on Sept. 18, and clarinetist Jeanette Jonquil and pianist Terence Dawson, on Nov. 13.

The season continues on Saturday, with a program of French and American music for voice, flute and piano, from the late 19th and 20th centuries (2:30 p.m., $40/$35; 250-598-0760,

Fryer herself will perform, joined by Shoko Inoue, a fine Japanese-born pianist who moved here from Toronto in 2010, and Brenda Fedoruk, who is principal flutist of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, an instructor at the University of British Columbia and a member of the Turning Point Ensemble.

The three will come together to perform songs by Jules Massenet and André Caplet, plus two song cycles: Jake Heggie’s The Deepest Desire: Four Meditations on Love (2002), with texts by Sister Helen Prejean, of Dead Man Walking fame; and André Previn’s Two Remembrances (1995), which features the alto flute.

(Both cycles appear on I Remember, a CD released by Fryer and Fedoruk in 2009.)

The program also includes John Corigliano’s Three Irish Folksong Settings (1988), for voice and flute; Fauré’s Fantaisie (1898), for flute and piano; and Robert Helps’s Hommage à Fauré (1972), for piano solo. The latter, Helps wrote, “was written when I was a bit out of my mind — a temperature of 104 drove me to the writing table.” Sounds promising.

The three women will close with a “sung waltz” by an eminent composer, Cécile Chaminade.

The villa’s bright, lovely performing space comfortably seats at most about 85, and the intimacy of the setting conjures up private salon concerts of centuries past. Refreshments are served during a leisurely intermission, and a Q&A session with the performers follows the program.

Inoue will give recitals devoted to Schumann’s solo-piano music on March 11 and 12, then the villa’s season will conclude May 28 with an appearance by the Vancouver-based Microcosmos Quartet, performing Bartók and Britten.

Meanwhile, Fryer is already booking an intriguingly diverse 2017-18 season, including a recital by another distinguished visitor from Vancouver: pianist Jane Coop.

Also on Saturday, three young musicians who recently received bachelor’s degrees from the University of Victoria’s School of Music will appear in recital in UVic’s Emerging Artists Alumni Series (8 p.m., Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, by donation;

The three — violinist Jiten Beairsto, clarinetist Sydney Tetarenko and cellist Emily Burton — reconnected in Vancouver in 2014 while continuing their studies at UBC, and decided to form an ensemble.

On Saturday, joined by pianist Natalie Lo, they will perform two popular masterpieces of the modern chamber repertoire: Bartók’s trio Contrasts (1938), commissioned by clarinetist Benny Goodman; and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, composed in 1940-41 while he was interned in a German prisoner-of-war camp in Silesia.

The two works couldn’t be more different: The trio is modest, accessible, ingratiating, flavoured with folk music, the quartet sprawling and ambitious, all about the Apocalypse, heaven and eternity.


And on Sunday, UVic’s Faculty Concert Series presents The Brass Menagerie, a recital benefiting a scholarship for low-brass students (2:30 p.m., Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, $20/$15/$10; streaming online in UVic’s Listen! Live series).

The concert will feature Scott MacInnes, on trombones, and Paul Beauchesne, on tuba, euphonium and cimbasso (a contrabass trombone), accompanied by pianist Matt Poon. The program will range from Vaughan Williams’s tuba concerto to Ennio Morricone’s popular Gabriel’s Oboe, from his soundtrack for the movie The Mission.

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