Benjamin Alard’s elegant Goldberg Variations are a Vancouver Bach Festival highlight

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      If you’re a serious student of baroque music, you’ve already booked your Vancouver Bach Festival tickets—and, even so, there’s one more show artistic director Matthew White wants you to know about. Not only is he bringing Benjamin Alard into town to play Johann Sebastian Bach’s indelible Goldberg Variations on the harpsichord at Christ Church Cathedral on opening night (Monday [July 30]), he’s got the great French virtuoso playing the same music on the organ, in Victoria on Friday (July 27).

      “There’s nothing quite like that Hellmuth Wolff organ that they have at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria,” says White, on the line from the Early Music Vancouver office.

      No matter which instrument he’s performing on, Alard is a must-see—and White notes that the 33-year-old musician’s recent focus on organ recitals has had a positive impact on his harpsichord playing, too. “It’s slowed down a lot of the tempos and created a kind of ‘increased clarity’, as he describes it,” White says. “So I think our Vancouver audience can expect to hear something that’s perhaps less brazenly virtuosic, and something that’s more about clarity and precision and elegance.”

      In Early Music Vancouver’s increasingly star-studded festival—which this year features such capable performers as Stephen Stubbs, Colin Balzer, and Monica Huggett—White is especially pleased to present a concert focusing on stars of the future. An afternoon Emerging Artists Recital, at Christ Church Cathedral on August 9, will feature participants in the society’s Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Programme—and White says we can expect to see more of these young musicians on-stage in the very near future.

      “There are a number of these young players who we’ll be starting to employ professionally in the coming season,” he notes. “So that’s the definition of success, as far as I’m concerned.”