Cathedral showcases Bach piece with period instruments

Early Music Society of the Islands presents J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor Aug. 6, at Christ Church Cathedral

The Early Music Society of the Islands starts its concert season early with a church concert, J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor.

“We’re trying to do the best we can to create the sound that existed at the time of the composition of the music,” says James Young, the society’s artistic director. “We figured the acoustics at Christ Church are ideal for this repertoire. This is the sort of venue for which it was composed.”

Bach was music director at the Church of St. Thomas, of similar size as the Victoria cathedral, explained Young, an Oak Bay resident involved with EMSI since 1990.

“It’s been a fun experience to just see the society grow and flourish and become the successful organization that it has,” Young said.

In early years they organized four concerts a year and considered an audience of 120 a good turnout. Now they average well over 400 in the audience over nine concerts each season and the scale of those events has “grown in leaps and bounds.”

“It’s not even comparable any longer,” Young says. “Victoria’s a town that supports music. It’s always been a lively music scene here.”

The Aug. 6 performance will feature a full orchestra and eight soloists. EMSI collaborates for this show with three other major Canadian classical music organizations – the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the Lamèque Baroque Festival in New Brunswick and Early Music Vancouver – to assemble a “dream team” of vocalists from all over the world alongside some of North America’s most respected period wind and brass players. Conductor Alexander Weimann leads an ensemble of eight internationally renowned soloists, a professional chorus comprising of some of the finest singers in the region and Montreal’s Arion Baroque Orchestra on period instruments.

“As one of the largest scale works in Bach’s repertoire, it can only be achieved to its full potential with the combined talents of virtuosic vocal and instrumental soloists,” Young says.

Composed by J.S. Bach in Leipzig, Germany in 1749, the Mass in B Minor was completed in the year before his death. It’s widely recognized as a comprehensive and deeply satisfying demonstration of the full range of Bach’s expressive capacities – from evocations of despair and suffering to exuberant expressions of hope and joy.

In this presentation of Mass in B Minor, vocal soloists undertake ensemble sections often performed by large choirs. The ensemble of vocal chamber soloists includes Yulia Van Doren and Shannon Mercer (sopranos), Krisztina Szabo and Laura Pudwell (mezzo- sopranos), Philippe Gagné and Charles Daniels (tenors), as well as Christian Immler, and Sumner Thompson (baritones).

Early Music Society of the Islands presents J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Christ Church Cathedral. Tickets are from $26 to $35 and available at earlymusicsocietyoftheislands.ca or by calling 250-386-6121.

“We’re always looking to grow our audience. We hope by putting on such a large-scale and dramatic production we’ll be able to do that, we’ll be able to appeal to people interested in great masterpieces,” Young said.

“There are still people who are unfamiliar with performing on period instruments in a period style. We alway are looking to get people … once they take the plunge they’ll see the advantages of hearing the music that way.”

 

Just Posted

Greater Victoria teachers experienced more than 30 incidents of violence from students in one month

Shuttered behavioural programs, lack of resources creates challenges for local schools

Island playoffs underway at Oak Bay High

Home team vies for fifth straight Island title

Esquimalt High robotics team heads to international competition

The Esquimalt Atom Smashers will participate in the FIRST Robotics Canada competition

Canadian alcohol policy gets failing grade from UVic researchers

Canadian provinces and territories collectively achieved less than half of their potential to reduce alcohol related harm

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read