The advent of March, and early spring, is particularly welcome this year following an uncharacteristically cold and stubborn winter.
And the music of the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Karl Rainer, is a welcome partner to the season as it presents the program, Singers and Strings. The singers, the Island Consort Chamber Choir directed by Bruce Farquharson, will join with the chamber orchestra as guest performers, broadening the scope of music and adding extra sparkle for the audience to enjoy.
The orchestra alone will play Mozart's Divertimento 1, K. 186, which is one of four such works known as the Salzburg Symphonies, composed in 1772 and Melancholia, a serenade in the romantic style of pastoral images and serenity composed by Eduard Nápravnik, a little-known late-19th Czech composer and organist who moved to St. Petersburg to become a prominent conductor. It also includes Concerto Grosso for Strings, composed in 1950 by Ralph Vaughan Williams, a work in five contrasting movements that was designed for string players with a wide range of abilities.
The orchestra and consort choir will perform Vivaldi's Magnificat, with soloists from the ranks of the choir, which includes sopranos Skye Donald and Sharon Sinclair, alto Monica Morosan and tenor David Brown.
Although Brahms's Geistliches Lied has traditionally been organ-accompanied English conductor John Eliot Gardiner has recently written the accompaniment for strings, which the groups have obtained for the performances. The choir will finish with Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus.
The concerts are March 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Brechin United Church, located at 1998 Estevan Rd., and March 12 at 2:30 p.m. at St. Edmund's Anglican Church in Parksville.
Refreshments will be available at intermission. Admission is $20, $5 for students and admission is free for children under 12 years old. Tickets are available by calling 250-754-8550, by visiting www.porttheatre.com or at the door.
Bruce Farquharson is the choir director of the Island Consort Chamber Choir.