Kati Debretzeni is the soloist in Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’ when Victoria Baroque plays at Brentwood College. (Submitted)

VIDEO: Symphony presents Victoria Baroque in ‘The Four Seasons’ at Brentwood on Sunday

Kati Debretzeni is soloist in this exciting concert

By Mike Mills

The Cowichan Symphony Society is presenting something special on Sunday, Jan. 12 starting at 2:30 p.m. at Brentwood College.

Let me start by wishing you a happy and music-filled 2020 as we bring you our first concert of the year.

But, “now for something completely different”, to quote Monty Python. What is different? Isn’t this another classical concert brought to us by the Cowichan Symphony Society, you might ask. Yes, but it is a concert of Baroque music i.e. music written in Western Europe between 1600 and 1750.

The concert brings us two very different pieces, the first French and the second Italian. It will be played by The Victoria Baroque led by the amazing Kati Debretzeni on the violin.

The first piece will introduce us to an unfamiliar, to me at least, composer Jean-Frey Rebel (1666-1747). Rebel was a composer for Louis XIV and a member the 24 Violins of The King. His symphonic work Les Elements describes the creation of the world out of chaos. Indeed the first of the 10 dances is called ‘Chaos’ and is one of the earliest examples of dissonance, so popular with 20th century composers. The next nine dances are more lyrical portrayals of the elements Earth, Water, Fire and Air and throw in some birds and other dances.

The second piece is the well-known The Four Seasons by the Italian Baroque composer Vivaldi. Known as the “Red Priest”, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in 1678 in Venice, one of nine children. He was ordained a priest in 1703 and he was nick-named the Red Priest because of his unruly mop of red hair; not his politics. For part of his life he composed music for the girls in an orphanage to which he was assigned to give spiritual guidance. His best known work, The Four Seasons, is comprised of four short symphonies representing each of the seasons. The music reflects the climate of each season and is a very familiar piece in the repertoire of many orchestras due to its popularity. Hardly a week goes by when it is not being played somewhere in the world.

The Victoria Baroque was founded in 2011 by Solie Stratkauskus, a Finnish born baroque flutist. Solie obtained her Master’s degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London and remains the artistic director of Victoria Baroque.

The concert, in January, will be led by Kati Debretzeni, a Transylvanian violinist. Like Solie, Kati studied in London where she now leads the famous Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment, under the direction of Sir John Elliott Gardner. Her virtuosic playing has taken her to many countries as a soloist and leader of baroque and chamber orchestras. She has been said to rival the rebel Nigel Kennedy for virtuosity and showmanship. Her performance will infuse each movement with crackling energy.

So we are in for a great time at Brentwood College School on Jan. 12. What a way to start the year — the Cowichan Symphony Society brings you the creation of the world and an entire year, all in a couple of hours. Don’t miss it!

Tickets to the concert are $50 each. Get them online at https://ctcentre.bc.ca/TheatreManager/1/online?performance=2547 or call 250-748-7529 to reserve. Or you can pick them up yourself at the box office in the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan.

If you would like to go to the concert on a bus, please contact Ted Rhodes at 250-715-0907 or at raetedrhodes@shaw.ca

Mike Mills is the director of the Cowichan Symphony Society.

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