Give a Celebration of Handel for Christmas

Here’s an original Christmas present: the gift of Handel’s inspirational music.  Tickets are now on sale for ‘The Justly Celebrated Mr. Handel’: a four days of wondrous music at Pacific Baroque Festival, 19-22 February 2015 (Victoria BC).  A perfect gift for music-lovers.  A distinctive gift from the last-minute shopper.

Blog Dec photoYou can purchase tickets now on-line (purchase now and tickets will be mailed to you), by phone 250.386.5311 or visit the following locations:

Victoria Conservatory of Music (900 Johnson St)
Ivy’s Book Shop (Oak Bay Village)
Long & McQuade (756 Hillside Ave)
Tanner’s Books (Beacon Ave, Sidney)

Handel’s music performed on instruments of his time as he might have intended.  Give a Festival Pass or introduce them to Handel with a concert ticket. They will not be disappointed.  Tickets can be ordered online.


The Songs of Purcell

As in past years, the Thursday evening concert could prove to be one of the memorable moments of the Pacific Baroque Festival. Audiences will be treated to an enlightening blend of Purcell, a contrast of the popular and the personal.


Nancy Argenta

Nancy Argenta

One of the leading interpreters of Purcell, Nancy Argenta, will brighten this evening with some of Purcell’s most popular Songs. Her recordings of these Songs have received widespread acclaim. “She is vibrant and fleet, intelligent and intuitive, delivering Purcell’s lines and his texts with poignancy, power, and humour when required. This is superlative Purcell singing at every turn…” (critic and scholar Richard Langham-Smith). An opportunity for Festival audiences to hear this Victoria treasure at her best.

Contrasting these Songs, Marc Destrubé and members of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra will perform some of Purcell’s sublime Fantazias – probably the composer’s most personal and profound statements, a pinnacle of polyphonic thought to which only Bach’s Musical Offering and Art of the Fugue may be compared. These remarkable works were written by a young Purcell at the age of twenty-one and were likely for his own personal use as they were never published. Yet they continue to draw many of the world’s leading musicians to them because of their variety and challenge.

Henry Purcell: Fantazia viii (performed by Taverner Consort):


Read more about Nancy Argenta and the Pacific Baroque Festival in this month’s Focus Magazine:






Music for Kings, Queens and Gods

“Music for Kings, Queens & Gods”
Saturday 23 February (8pm)

‘the Orpheus Britannicus . . . a greater musical genius England never had’… So Henry Purcell was described by Roger North, James II’s Attorney General.

In this concert the Festival audience will discover again Purcell’s genius.  “Music for Kings, Queen’s & Gods” will demonstrate how Henry Purcell created his own magic in blending music with words.

PurcellAs part of his duties at Westminster Abbey and the Royal Court, Purcell wrote at least 65 full and verse anthems, numerous Service settings and a further 35 other sacred vocal works.  The richness of his sacred music will be presented at this concert through four wonderful verse anthems, sung by the award-winning Victoria Children’s Choir and the St Christopher Singers. Get a taste of what will be in store through the link below.

Along with his contributions to the court and the church, Purcell wrote some of the finest 17th century music for the English theatre; this program will include orchestral suites from three of his most famous works for the stage, ‘King Arthur’, ‘The Fairy Queen’ and ‘Dido and Aeneas’, dramatic and richly expressive music.

By the end of this concert, the audience should understand why Holst, Vaughan Williams, Britten, Tippett and Pete Townsend of ‘The Who’ were among Purcell’s 20th-century admirers.

“This music of Purcell is exciting, vivacious, dynamic and invigorating. It is different from other music we have sung at this festival in a few ways. One of these is that Purcell is the first English composer we’ve sung in the time I’ve been involved with the festival. Singing in English is a treat, and an added challenge in some ways. I am very excited for the performance and urge you all to come. It is not a musical experience you will soon forget.” – a Victoria Children’s Choir Chorister

For your listening pleasure: from Purcell’s anthem “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem”
(The Choir of New College, Oxford)