Monday, August 20, 2012

Turning a Page at MusicFest 2012

I've blogged before about music--especially of the classical variety--being a rather big lacuna in my live performance spectrum. But this year Richard insisted we make an effort to see some of the offerings at MusicFest Vancouver, which just concluded its 10 day run this past Sunday.

I'm glad we did, for two reasons. First, because the concerts we went to--the Gryphon Trio performing the Czech Masters (Dvorák and Smetana) at Christ Church Cathedral Friday morning, and Philippe Cassard and François Chaplin in a four hands tribute (on one and then two pianos) to Debussy at the Vancouver Playhouse on Saturday evening--were both excellent. And, second, because I've discovered what has to be among the most nerve-wracking of supernumerary stage jobs: being a page turner for the piano score. In addition to the ability to sight read music, of course, one must be an at once discreet and alert presence on stage, expertly timing when to stand up and begin one's reach, making sure to grab only one corner of one page at a time, and, most importantly, being able to distinguish between a performer's subtle sign (usually a nod of the head) to turn and what just might be an aspect of his or her exuberant playing of the music.

I am pleased to say that at both concerts all three page turners acquitted themselves with aplomb. And, indeed, my eyes were often as riveted on them as on the performers. Not listed on the program, as per proper form, I trust these unsung individuals get other forms of kudos--including from the accomplished professionals they are serving.

Speaking of turning a page with aplomb, at Saturday's concert Morna Edmundson, in her curtain speech, noted that the passing of the torch from MusicFest Vancouver's outgoing Artistic Director, George Lavarock, to its current AD, Matthew Baird, has been absolutely seamless over this past year. I look forward to what Baird and his team have planned for next year.


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