Vancouver Sun

King’s Singers, a killer octet, piano prodigy will tune in new year


Suffering from the post-holiday blahs?

The early days of the new year can seem, well, just a bit flat. But Vancouver’s classical calendar slowly gets back into full swing this time of year, so there are plenty of music options.

Indeed, there are several exceptiona­l events just around the corner at the Vancouver Symphony, and there’s a new-to-Vancouver staging of an old favourite at Vancouver Opera. More about these in the weeks ahead.

For now, here are three “best bets” for the first half of winter: an exceptiona­l chamber music concert, a triumphant return by a brilliant young pianist, and music for Henry VIII sung, appropriat­ely enough, by the King ’s Singers.

At Friends of Chamber Music, the latest Vancouver performanc­e by the Prazak String Quartet would be an occasion in itself. But combining it with the Zemlinsky Quartet’s FOC debut creates an extraspeci­al set of opportunit­ies.

There’s a performanc­e of a sextet by Erwin Schulhoff, a fine Czech composer who perished in the Holocaust; and Dvorak’s A major string sextet as well.

But it’s the grand finale that is the real draw: Mendelssoh­n’s extraordin­ary Octet.

One of the greatest treasures of the chamber music repertoire, this is a preferred vehicle whenever two top quartets want to get together to have fun.

If there was ever a cure for the mid-winter blahs, this is it. Enjoy!

Prefer piano? Still not quite 30, Uzbeki pianist Behzod Abduraimov has visited here a few times before and in the last few years his internatio­nal career is really beginning to take off. His recital at the Chan on Feb. 10 may well be treasured by keyboard fanciers as one of those “I remember when” moments.

Abduraimov offers spectacula­r technical prowess harnessed to youthful enthusiasm. His program is anything but introverte­d, starting with Franz Liszt’s transcript­ion of Isolde’s Liebestod and ending with Prokofiev. But not one of the sonatas; instead we are treated to keyboard arrangemen­ts of music from the ballet Romeo and Juliet.

The core work of Abduraimov’s program is a controvers­ial masterpiec­e, Liszt’s sprawling Sonata in B minor. Liszt doesn’t feature on Vancouver Recital Society Programs all that often. You can bet they think Abduraimov is up to the daunting task of performing the extraordin­ary work.

The night before Abduraimov’s matinee, Early Music Vancouver hosts one of the best-known vocal ensembles in the world, the King ’s Singers.

The group, consisting of two counter-tenors, tenor, two baritones and a bass, was formed in the late 1960s. Half a century later (and with various personnel changes over the decades, of course) the ensemble has a discograph­y that runs to some six pages, with a broad range of repertoire.

For the first part of our February date, the group explores music relating to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. There’s an “and more” second half, replete with folksong arrangemen­ts and a sort of writtenin encore set, “a selection of songs to be announced during the concert.”

It’s a something-for-everyone program, just what one would expect from one of the most famous vocal ensembles around.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? The King’s Singers, top, perform music for Henry VIII in King’s Blood on Feb. 9, while Behzod Abduraimov, above, plays Franz Liszt on Feb. 10.
The King’s Singers, top, perform music for Henry VIII in King’s Blood on Feb. 9, while Behzod Abduraimov, above, plays Franz Liszt on Feb. 10.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada