A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Every Christmas this snob avoids Handel's Messiah. Instead on Christmas Eve at dinner I listen to Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria RV 589. From my eldest daughter Ale to my youngest granddaughter Lauren this work is so familiar we can all hum the rousing trumpet part of the beginning.

Last year I wrote about the Pacific Baroque Orquestra and Vivaldi's Gloria RV 589 here. The salient facts are below:

On Sunday October 27, 1996 at Ryerson Church in Vancouver. A local baroque group founded in 1990, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, played the Vivaldi Gloria in D major RV 589. The concert not only opened my ears but also my eyes. The musicians, with the exception of the cellists, the bassist and the harpsichordist, to my consternation, were all playing standing up. The big surprise was the all female Electra Women’s Chorus. I had never heard a Vivaldi Gloria with an all female chorus. The performance introduced me to red-haired sisters Caitlin (a mezzo soprano) and Phoebe MacRae (a soprano) who were featured soloists. In later years I would enjoy hearing Caitlin with Vancouver’s Musica Intima and Phoebe as a frequent soloist with the PBO and with the Modern Baroque Opera (now sadly gone).

Twelve years later (this seems to be the pattern with the Gloria) the Pacific Baroque Orchestra is again performing this work on Saturday and on Sunday. For those who are in the know the PBO will perform on Friday here. If you do go to this concert on Friday at St. James Anglican please make a monetary contribution.

While Antonio Vivaldi wrote at least 5 Glorias only two have survived. One of them is the less performed RV 588 which is a bit more complex in nature. But RV 589 is the Gloria that is the favourite, and for a very good reason. In 1970 when I purchased an Acoustic Research amplifier, turntable and the then legendary AR-3A speakers the first work that I played to test my system was the Vivaldi Gloria. Why?

I have explained to Rebecca when she sees soldiers and asks me why they are soldiers that routine and training is essential just as it is in her piano playing. Piano playing and reading music has to be second nature and automatic. Once this happens she will be able to inject passion and interpretation.

Soldiers are trained so that when they are told to charge and run towards incoming machine gun fire as they did from the trenches of WW-I they will do so without fear or flinching. Somehow this boot camp training subverts our strong instinct to preserve ourselves from potential harm.

Vivaldi's Gloria RV 589 begins with a rousing trumpet and oboe part (the oboe almost sounds like a second trumpet) with sounds so rousing that I just might jump up and run towards hundreds of bullet spewing Maxims. If that were not enough to beckon me to this concert there is the fact that the PBO has chosen Victoria's Children's Choir to sing the choral and solo parts. In a bit of extra authenticity all we need to do is to imagine that St James Anglican is Ospedalle della Pietà and the children the young musician orphans.

Calgary's Hellen Cotter will play a natural trumpet. In a phone call this morning with PBO violinist Paul Luchkow he told me, "Her trumpet has a few bends so that it will fit in a car!" The serious (I am sure he sometimes thinks about smiling) and accomplished Washington McLain will play his baroque oboe. And of course our own home-grown virtuoso, Marc Destrubé will dazzle with his violin while simultaneously directing the orchestra.

I am sad that my own Rebecca will not be able to attend. To think that she might be 20 before she has a chance to hear this work live is almost a certainty. But then I was 27 when I first heard the Gloria. She has the time. But will I be there to enjoy it with her?


Previous Posts
Story Me A Story On Green Dolphin Street

Black, White, Gray & Goose Green

Doc Harris & Those Air Canada Flight Attendants

Rebecca Stewart & Isabella de' Medici

David Y.H. Lui, Celia Duthie & The Fighting Temera...

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Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward - A Valenti...

Richard Chamberlain & Diana The Huntress

Four Men For The Four Seasons

José Casals - Of Memory Lost, Gained & Lost Again

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