As with their world-famous cuisine, the French are known for music that is rich in flavour, pleasing to the senses, and immensely satisfying.
Such robust fare can be experienced in French Connection, a weekend of concerts featuring music by French and French-Canadian composers, presented by Trinity Western University’s School of the Arts, Media + Culture (SAMC).
The school’s Concert Band and Orchestra will perform over two evenings: in Langley on Nov. 25 and Abbotsford on Nov. 26.
The evenings promise to be crowd-pleasing, with pieces that borrow from a cornucopia of influences — from the strong, rhythmic music of Spain, to Bach, to French-Canadian folk songs.
On the menu are two popular works from Bizet’s Spanish-influenced opera, Carmen. Chabrier’s España and Habanera easily evoke the clamour of gypsy life, from the clacking castanets and swirling skirts and shawls of village folk dancers, to the sultry siren call of a lonely factory girl.
No orchestral composer showcases the saxophone the way Bizet does, and his L’Arlésienne Suites should particularly please fans of the instrument. Featured soloist and saxophone player, Elaine Wong, is a TWU student who gets her moment in the spotlight interpreting Bizet’s work.
Adding to the flavour of the evening, Inversia, by French-Canadian composer Andre Jutras, borrows from a Bach chorale melody and then, as the title suggests, turns it on its head. Three Folk Miniatures, by the same composer, is a rousing trio of light-hearted French-Canadian folk melodies. The beautiful stillness of Agnus Dei from Fauré’s Requiem provides a contemplative contrast to the percussive energy of the preceding pieces.
Returning as the SAMC Orchestra’s concertmaster after a hiatus of several years, is TWU alumna, Rebekah Schumacher. A graduate of the King’s School in Langley, Schumacher has since established a rewarding career for herself teaching English as a second language.
French Connection will be performed on Nov. 25 at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church (20097 72 Ave.) and on Nov. 26 at Peace Lutheran Church (2029 Ware Street, Abbotsford).
The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10.
For more details, visit twu.ca/samc or phone 604-513-2173.