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Music for Distracted Times       February 15th-19th, 2022

The 2023 Pacific Baroque Music focuses on the music of 17th and 18th century England. With an ensemble of two violins, two viols, lute, harpsichord and organ, along with the wonderful soprano voice of Danielle Reuter-Harrah, we explore this rich period in music in which the political tumult of the early 1600s gave way to London becoming the largest city in Europe and a centre of artistic expression. Charles II’s reign saw the composition of the first English operas, the opening of the first public concert halls, and an influx of talented musicians from abroad which continued into the 18th century.

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Wednesday Evening, February 15th, 7:30pm

The Grand Tour

The ‘Grand Tour’ was a 17th century tradition for upper-class Europeans to travel through Europe when they had come of age, especially to visit the major cultural centers of Paris and Rome. Follow along a similar path and hear the many styles of the 18th century European organ in this tour de force of organ music from the English, French, German, and Italian schools, including organ concertos by George Frederic Handel and Michel Corette. Featuring the Pacific Baroque Festival Ensemble and organist Mark McDonald.

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Thursday Morning, February 16th, 11:00am

The King’s Fiddler

The restoration of the monarchy in 1660 allowed music-making to flourish and drew composer - performers to write virtuosic music for their instruments. The German violinist Thomas Baltzar settled in London, and in 1661 entered Charles II's service as leader of the king's private music ensemble, the “Four and Twenty Fiddlers”. A later arrival was the Italian Nicola Matteis, who published several volumes of his ravishing ‘Ayres for the Violin’ in the 1670s and 1680s.

Friday Evening, February 17th, 7:30pm

A Sad Pavan for these Distracted Times

Cultural activity in England during the 17th century was disrupted by political, religious, and social upheaval; Thomas Tomkins wrote his ‘Sad Pavan’ two weeks after the execution of Charles I and after the destruction of his organ at Worcester Cathedral. He unfortunately did not live to see the restoration of the monarchy and the renewed enthusiasm for the arts brought about by the reign of Charles II. It inspired a rich period of musical innovation, with music written for the church, the court and private salons, and the evolution of a distinctly English musical style epitomized by the music of Henry Purcell.


Saturday Evening, February 18th, 7:30pm

Foreign Inspiration

With the advent of public concerts, the fascination with opera, and the opening of the ‘pleasure gardens’, London, as the largest city in Europe, became a hive of musical activity during the 18th century. The plethora of musical opportunities attracted foreign musicians, especially from Germany and Italy, to visit or make their home there. One could hear the very latest compositions played by the best musicians of the day, most notably George Frederic Handel, who became a kind of composer-in-residence at the Vauxhall pleasure gardens during the 1730s.

Sunday Afternoon, February 19th, 4:00pm

Choral Evensong

The Pacific Baroque Festival concludes with a Choral Evensong Service at Christ Church Cathedral, featuring the music of Henry Purcell, Thomas Tomkins and others.

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The Pacific Baroque Festival is co-presented by the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Christ Church Cathedral Victoria and EMV.

The Pacific Baroque Festival is sponsored by the Renaissance Retirement Residence and The Magnolia Hotel. Book a stay at the Magnolia hotel at a discounted rate.