Christie Reside
     Photo: VSO School of Music

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Tea & Trumpets Series: Back to the Baroque

When & Where 23 May 2024, 2pm | Orpheum

Conductor David Bui Host Christopher Gaze Featured performer Christie Reside, flute

PROGRAM Rameau’s Dardanus, Pachelbel’s Canon, Corelli’s Concerto Grosso, Opus 6 in D Major, Telemann’s Suite for Flute and Strings, J.S. Bach’s Overture Suite No. 3, D Major: II. Air, Handel’s Water Music Suite in D Major

Reviewer John Anthony Jane

Conductor David Bui and host Christopher Gaze come together to lead the audience in the final concert in this Tea & Trumpets Concert Series. Maestro Bui has led the VSO in five of the six concerts in this series. Mr. Gaze, of course has featured in all six.

Their first selection was an unusual one. Jean-Philippe Rameau’s tragédie lyrique five act opera Dardanus is rarely performed as part of concert repertoire. Like operas in this genre it is based on stories from classical mythology. It was first performed in Paris in 1739, to a mixed reception. However, even the opera’s sharpest critics declined to blame Rameau’s music, although, It took twenty years to stage it a second time and as a much revised work. It’s from this version that the orchestra selected a fifteen-minute excerpt that included the rich instrumental colour of the overture.

During the orchestra’s playing of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon, I looked around at the couples in the audience and wondered how many had chosen this piece for their wedding celebration. As the name suggests, it’s constructed in three parts played in unison with a recurring motif. Without offering examples, host Christopher Gaze informed the audience that the piece has been used on numerous film soundtracks, in popular song and even in advertizing campaigns.

Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso, Opus 6 in D Major featured first violinsTimothy Steeves and David Lakirovich playing in standing position. Corelli himself was a virtuoso violinist, who wrote a collection of twelve Concerto Grosso – of which this was No.4. The playing is certainly articulate, with a rhythmic pulse and distinctive phrasing in some of the slower parts.

The Orchestra’s Principal flautist Christie Reside swapped out standard black for a blue full length gown as she stepped up to front-centre stage to perform solo flute excerpts from Georg Philipp Telemann’s Suite for Flute and Strings. The suite is well-known for the different styles used for each of the movements. Ms. Reside fully demonstrated her remarkable technique in four of the movements: Overture, Les Plaisirs, Rejouissance and Passepied.

J.S. Bach’s Overture Suite No. 3, D Major: II. Air, is better known as Air on a G String. At just eighteen measures in length it’s considered to be pure melody. The late Gary Brooker thought so. He transposed the music for Procol Harum worldwide hit “Whiter Shade of Pale.” The movement’s “nickname” is derived from a violinist’s facility to play the entire piece on the G string when transposed to C major.

The final selection of the afternoon’s repertoire was excerpts from George Frideric Handel’s second suite: Water Music Suite in D major (German trans. Wassermusik). The orchestra began with the Allegro which emphasized the brass element. I personally enjoyed on this occasion the textural contrast of the Lentement movement which felt almost too brisk for its title (French trans. Slowley). Meastro Bui purposefully left the charming Menuet for the encore.

If you enjoy Baroque – and who doesn’t - this concert was definitely an aural treat. My only gripe - a small one - was that if you were seated on the main level, the woodwind and brass sections were hidden behind a grand piano that was never used.

© 2024 John Anthony Jane