Monday, August 2, 2010

Symphony Splash 2010

We live close enough to the Inner Harbour that we never have to leave our house to hear the wonderful sounds of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra at this annual event as part of the BC Day long weekend. This year's was very good, with an afternoon concert by the Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific (it’s the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy, which they mentioned all evening, repeatedly!) then a break before the main event, a evening of pops from a very high-quality symphony, ending with the 1812 Overture accompanied by fireworks and genuine cannons. Wow.

Yes, the picture does not lie; the orchestra performs on a floating barge, with the grounds of the Legislature forming an amphitheatre. We can’t actually see the orchestra too well from our perch, but we hear them perfectly and of course the fireworks are fabulous from our high-rise.

I mentioned the concert from earlier in the day, which included the following song I was previously unfamiliar with, called “The Northwest Passage.” Canadians do have a knack for writing anthemic songs about their country, and legendary baritone Stan Rogers was responsible for this one, which I find just outstandingly gorgeous, particularly as its draped with all kinds of genuine historical references and people. Here’s a video of a version by famed tenor Ken Lavigne and a full orchestra that comes closest to the version I heard, I hope you'll enjoy it:


Anonymous said...

Thank you x 2!
First: it's always good to be reminded of Stan's NW Passage. There is no version that comes close to Stan's original, though. I had initially focussed on the historical aspect, but one summer I was driving across the country. Playing NW Passage late at night, as I crossed Saskatchewan put a whole new meaning to that song - still can't hear it without my eyes tearing up slightly. That song *is* about driving west, and the thoughts that meander through the mind in that half-hypnotic state when you have been on the road with nothing but your thoughts for a length of time. The other classic song, incidentally, for late night drives through the prairies is Gordon Lightfoot's Railroad Trilogy. To really *get* it you have to be sitting at a remote crossing, watching - literally - a mile or more of grain cars go past. Or to be driving a road parallel to the train as moves through the landscape, accelerating and slowing as it crests the hills and troughs of the prairie landscape. That one can also make my eyes moist.

Second: Thanks for solving a mystery. We (on Salt Spring) thought we were hearing thunder last night. Probably was the 1812, fireworks and cannons.

Finally.... Stan also did Barrett's Privateer's....

However - - once you have digested that ditty, you should track down Garnett's Homemade Beer.
As I understand it, Garnett is Stan's brother, and the "Steely Eyed Stan" referred to in the song is Stan Roger's himself, and the song was written by one of Stan's band members and probably never really supposed to be made public. Enjoy. Get the band at the Irish Pub to strike up Barrett's Privateers and you'll likely be surprised how many in the crowd know the song.

And Finally Finally.... your earlier post on the Investigator is, of course, directly connected to Stan's NW Passage.

Thanks again.