By Belle Hatfield
Historic Zion Baptist Church on Parade Street will play host to the recorder-harpsichord duo of Vincent Lauzer and Mark Edwards on Saturday, July 20, at 7 p.m.
The concert is part of the Musique Royale summer series, and is being co-sponsored by the Accidental Consort, a Yarmouth-based recorder group.
Vincent Lauzer is a virtuoso of the recorder, a popular instrument in medieval and early western classical music. In 2012, he earned the title Breakthrough Artist of the Year at Canada’s Opus Awards, He has been a regular on the festival circuit, winning six first-prizes during the national finals of the Canada Music Competition. A graduate of McGill University, Lauzer studied with Matthias Maute.
Mark Edwards began playing piano and organ. By the time he was 19 he had chosen the harpsichord as his instrument of choice. At the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, he took courses in organ improvisation and harpsichordwith historical keyboards specialist, William Porter. He has a Master in organ and harpsichord from McGill.
He has earned numerous awards. He is a founding member of Ensemble 1729.
The recorder was a favoured instrument during medieval times and through the baroque period, but fell out of favour as woodwinds like the flute, oboe and clarinet gained a foothold in more complex orchestral compositions. A resurgence in early music and period instruments has resulted in a revival of interest in the recorder and music written for that instrument,
This concert promises to be a revelation for those whose experience of recorder music is limited to the sounds produced by students in beginner school music programs. Because they can be cheap to purchase, nearly maintenance-free and produce sound relatively easily, recorders have long been an instrument of choice for introductory music programs. But there is no comparison between the sound produced by a beginning student on a $10 recorder and the pure, sweet notes produced by avirtuoso playing on a handcrafted wooden instrument. It is a demanding instrument and in the hands of a virtuoso, the sound can fill a resonant space like Zion church.
The Yarmouth stop is one of seven on the province-wide tour. Tickets ($15 in advance, $20 at the door, $10 for students) can be reserved by calling 742-8765.
Musique Royale celebrates the architectural beauty and history of the province by seeking out venues of historical and cultural significance. Zion Baptist Church is a stunning example of late 19th century architecture in the Queen Anne style, completed in 1896. It is facing an uncertain future, as the congregation doesn't have the resources to repair identified structural weaknesses. The town is expected to begin the process of deregistering the church as a municipal heritage property this fall. Demolition could occur as early as next spring, unless a buyer is found with deep enough pockets to complete the anticipated $1.6 million in repairs needed to stabilize the walls and complete renovations.
Musique Royale is a summertime celebration of Nova Scotia's musical heritage. A cross-province festival now celebrating its 28th anniversary season, the series brings performances of early and traditional music to communities throughout the province. Just as the French and English overtones in the festival's name refer to the presence of more than one cultural force in Nova Scotia's musical development, Musique Royale pays tribute to the province's diverse musical heritage.