Crowd blown away by Victoria Ensemble

The Victoria wind octet Ensemble Pacifica played to a full house at St. Michael’s church in Chemainus, Sunday Jan. 23.

The Victoria wind octet Ensemble Pacifica played to a full house at St. Michael’s church in Chemainus, Sunday Jan. 23.

The ensemble consists of professional and amateur musicians, playing two horns, two clarinets, two oboes, and two bassoons.

It was conducted by George Corwin, former conductor of the University of Victoria Symphony and the UVic Wind Ensemble.

The program consisted of works from the late 18th to the 20th centuries. Music by Beethoven, Hummel, Gordon Jacob, and Alfred Uhl featured.

The great thing about chamber music is that, unlike a huge symphony concert, every instrument can be clearly heard — an effect that was intensified when the conductor introduced each instrument separately and had the players play a few bars on each.

The Beethoven Rondino is an early work, dating from 1792, when the composer was only 22, and is a charming though rather slight piece.

The Octet-Partita by J.N. Hummel (1778-1837) showcases the talent of a contemporary of Beethoven whose works ought to be played much more often. Gordon Jacob’s (1895-1984) Three Elizabethan Fancies is an arrangement for winds of works from The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, originally for harpsichord.

Although all the works were welcomed by the audience, probably the best received was the Joyous Music by the Austrian composer Alfred Uhl, (1909-92), whom few if any in the audience had previously heard of.

The St. Michael’s Presents Society deserves applause for bringing this wonderful and approachable music to the mid-Island.

The concert was part of a series, which continues until Feb. 27.

Details are available at www.chemainusclassicalconcerts.ca. Tickets are available at various outlets, including Salamander Books in Ladysmith, or at the door.

— Bill Morrison

Ladysmith Chronicle

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