Easter’s Over but the music isn’t…
That you may no longer be a believer is okay. I can respect your decision even if it sometimes puzzles me. Now I’m a sinner, so perhaps I have more at stake than you; so please forgive this next commentary (even though it is not about politics). Many religions in the world have some types of musical traditions; some are more understandable than others, while others are less pleasing to my ear than some. But that is to be expected; I come from a Reformed Protestant tradition which generated a good deal of ecclesiastical music from the 1,500’s going forward and so there is a particular sensitivity that is no doubt bred deep into my psyche. Nevertheless as I experienced another Easter weekend I marveled at the absolute magnificence of the musical traditions than come out in Christian services. Even the overly long, ecumenical service (Lutheran, United & Anglican) at St. Saviour’s Anglican (in Penticton) on Good Friday included some amazing pieces. Chorale Concert on CBC (one of the few good programs left on that channel other than perhaps Tempo) was excellent. But most outstanding was the service from The Church of St. Andrew & St. Paul (known throughout the PCC as A&P). The sermon alone was enough to merit taking in the service; but, the range of music by the choir, the accompanying musicians, the organist and the congregational hymn-singing was truly special. It all reminded me why I believe: it may not seem rational to you but the original story is too unique to have been made up, and the music that it has inspired is too incredible to be simply a coincidence. Anyway, Easter weekend was indeed a moment of spiritual rejuvenation for me.
Since then I have been blessed with more special musical moments. Friday night I attended another concert by the South Okanagan Concert Society at the wonderful Venables Theatre in Oliver. The group, Ladom Ensemble, is so amazing you have to experience their performance to fully understand it. While they all met in grad studies at the University of Toronto, that is where the similarity ends. There is an Iranian pianist who composes incredible music for a Jewish Cellist. There is a percussionist from PEI who melds Kitchen Party sounds into classical settings. And all this surrounds a Classical Accordionist who has a doctorate in that form of music. They are spell-binding at the same time they are funny. They explain the diversity of their music in a way that permits you to hear more than the notes. And, by the end of the evening, you have been treated to something special, something unique and something memorable. See/hear them if they ever come your way.
Then today I went to the local cinema to take in another performance of Live From The Met. This time it Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. Another five hour tour de force! So contemporary that every male should be dragged out to see it – and Gunther Groissbock plays the role of Baron Ochs so well there are times you want to get up and smack him. At the same time the three leading female stars are so good that it is amazing they are on the stage often at the same time. The Marschallin is Lise Davidsen who must be about two metres in height with a voice to match. Octavian is Samantha Hankey who is a woman playing a man who at times plays a woman – nothing more needs to be said than she pulls it off with aplomb. And then there is Erin Morley as Sophie – as beautiful in voice as she is in person. All this was superbly brought together by the conductor, Simone Young. It was well worth the time (of course having some Platinum Bench artisan bread along with Pentage Winery Gamay for the in-performance picnic didn’t hurt either!!).
So I have been well rewarded for my celebration of Easter Week Plus… I think I will dial it down a notch this evening and go watch the Penticton Vees try to win another playoff game!