“Storms, Birthdays and other pleasures” (Friday February 22nd) an intriguing concert title with a fascinating performance concept. Performing two of Purcell’s rarely-performed Odes, Nancy Argenta, considered one of the world’s foremost interpreters of Purcell, will join some of her advanced voice students in a memorable experience for performers and audience alike. As Argenta explained recently in Focus Magazine:“I’ve read that in the [East] Indian classical tradition this is done all the time so that a student doesn’t ever play or sing by themselves until they’ve performed a number of times with their teacher. The act of performing alone [then] seems a very natural outgrowth, rather than some scary, terrifying event. I think it’s a lovely idea in a lot of ways. And probably in Western classical music it would be great if we did more of that.”
The Ode to St Cecilia sung at this concert is the first of three such works for St Cecilia’s Day, beginning a tradition continued by Handel, Boyce, Parry and Britten. Discover how Purcell’s use of orchestra in his ode to James II, Sound the trumpet, beat the drum, was groundbreaking in his use of four part strings not only in the overture and musical interludes but also in giving them intricate independent voices in the recitatives and choruses.
The audience will discover some remarkable music and emerging talent. Marc Destrubé, the Festival’s Artistic Director, says it will be an opportunity “to hear these rising stars before they blast off into the international sphere”.
Movie about Henry Purcell: Tuesday Feb 19 at Cinecenta
“England, My England: Henry Purcell” will be showing at Cinecenta on Tuesday February 19 (7pm). A unique film drama from the UK (1995) about the great English composer Henry Purcell, the subject of this year’s Pacific Baroque Festival 2013. Very little is known about his life, but the script solves this problem by launching a group of actors in the 1960s on a voyage of discovery into late-17th century England. But it is Purcell s music which is the driving force, with the stunning soundtrack conducted by John Eliot Gardiner and the soprano voice of Canadian Nancy Argenta.
For your listening and viewing pleasure, some movements from Purcell’s Abdelezar: