Tuesday, 11 August 2009 at 6:45pm & 9:00pm • Christ Church Cathedral

Performers Borealis String Quartet;
Francois Houle, clarinet; John Oliver, guitar; Chenoa Anderson, flute; Vern Griffiths, percussion; Heidi Krutzen, harp; Jerry DesVoignes vocals; Owen Underhill, conductor

Reviewer John Jane

In the nave of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown, Vancouver there is a uniquely designed labyrinth. It’s not directly laid in the floor like in famous Chartres Cathedral labyrinth, but is painted on an approximately 10 metre long by 10 metre wide white canvas constructed by Jose Cueta three years ago.

At a philosophical level the labyrinth is simply a metaphor for the journey to the centre of our inner self; one that will enrich us with a broader understanding of who you are as we return to the real world. Folks often confuse labyrinths with mazes. A maze is really a puzzle (like the horticultural maze in Crystal Palace, London) that requires the logical side of the left brain. A labyrinth on the other hand offers only a single choice that requires the free imaginative process of the right brain.

For each of the two concerts at Christ Church, (part of Musicfest Vancouver’s Flavour Series) limits of one hundred tickets were offered. Following a brief talk by a labyrinth historiographer, who discussed the fundamentals and basic etiquette of labyrinth walking, the audience were welcomed by the throat singing of Jerry DesVoignes.

Concert attendees were invited to “walk the labyrinth” during the seventy-minute concert. John Burke’s specially written suite of contemplative and affecting music is “intended for foreground listening as well as an aural companion.” I personally experienced finer aural perception while I meandered along the labyrinth’s path and found the music to be especially meditative.

Like the labyrinth itself, Burke’s suite came full circle, ending as it had begun with DesVoignes’s throat singing. More than a concert, the event was as much a spiritual journey – particularly for those who decided to walk the labyrinth.

© 2009 John Jane