Several months ago my friend Jonas and I were making music together in his studio, and talking about how it would be great to start a series in Sharbot Lake, Ontario. A small little town where his partner Sylvie Smith & Nicole Tarasick have recently opened up a gorgeous cafe. Cardinal Cafe, is a gorgeous red brick, one room church that has been completely renovated into a beautiful cafe and on Saturday night, January 30th it was transformed into a concert space. When Jonas asked me what we should bring to this tiny church turned Cafe without hesitation I said, Bach. Bach is and has been my favourite composers of all time. His music transcends all else, for me. The pieces Philip Fournier and I performed had surely been played at the Zimmerman Cafe, Bach's own coffee house cafe where many of his works were premiered hundreds of years ago.
I would like to take a moment to give a huge huge thank you and heartfelt acknowledgement to everyone that came out on January 30th 2016. The place was beyond sold out, there were people standing, sitting on the freezer behind the coffee machine, in the back. A couple people even dropped by just to stand outside by the door to see what was happening. (I only found that out later of course) The energy and spirit in the room was like nothing else. If anyone ever asks me if I want to play a small intimate concert in a beautiful space, or in the country, or in someones home, my answer is always yes. The next step is to figure out how.
We brought in a harpsichord from Toronto, courtesy of the trusted steed known as The Wooden Sky van, something we share together when we're not on tour, and stays parked in Toronto awaiting our cross country adventures. We loaded it up, and I would like to risk saying, it was the first time that little church had ever had the sounds of a harpsichord reverberating in it's beautiful space. For some people at the concert it was the first time they had ever heard a harpsichord, and for some, yes, for some it was even the first time they had ever heard Johann Sebastian Bach. One great moment was when someone said to Phil, "I've been using the harpsichord setting on my electric keyboard for years, and now I finally understand where the sound comes from" A beautiful night of firsts, of sharing, of music, and of community.
Another quote I would love to share from the evening from Ken Fisher "Last Saturday evening, The Cardinal Cafe hosted a baroque evening. Edwin Huizinga and Philip Fournier opened the gates and windows of heaven in Sharbot Lake. Playing together and separately, these passionate and gentle men, shared their very souls through the medium of Bach and Leclair. We are so grateful to Jonas Bonetta, Sylvie Smith & Nicole Tarasick for this most extraordinary evening." thank you Ken!!!
Yes, as Ken says, I played a solo, the E major Partita by Bach, and Philip did as well, one of Bach infamous preludes and fugues. and then a couple of Bach's Obligato sonatas and then a Sonata by LeClair as well.
Lastly, I would just like to say Thanks so much to Jonas Bonetta, a great friend and amazing visionary for this idea. I can't wait to plan more concerts for Cardinal Classics, and to come back and share my love of music with Sharbot Lake.
I have had the extreme pleasure of working with Bruno for the last eleven years. His humble qualities and extreme subtle musicianship almost feels like they come from a time long ago. Bruno's rehearsals are so completely full of gems, phrases, thoughts, interesting quotes, that Tafelmusik comes together in ways that I didn't know possible when he is working his magic. Just yesterday, he says to us, at the beginning of the Beethoven's Ninth Symphony first rehearsal, he says, the first movement starts about 20 bars before the beginning. Now this might not make sense to everyone right away, but to the band, it is so clear, and immediately changed the sound and expressive qualities of even the very first note of our sound. Bruno is one of the most incredible human beings I have ever met. He has a way about him, that I find incredibly hard to describe, and yet I feel like I completely understand where he is coming from. His musical ideas are so often exactly what I wish I could figure out how to put into words, or into an expression, and he does it so incredibly eloquently. It's absolutely incredible. I also feel very close with him. He was one of the first conductors that I got a chance to work with at a professional level where I understood the incredible power that a maestro can have over a group of people, and a piece of music, and making it happen.
Yesterday as Bruno walked into the room for our first rehearsal the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra stayed quiet. We had just finished tuning and we understood how beautiful this week is going to be. How important it is what we are doing. Giving Beethoven's Ninth Symphony another performance. Sharing it with the world, recording it. Working with Bruno. These things are all completely invaluable to us musicians. I have been looking forward to this week since I was asked to be a part of it, almost one year ago.
I managed to find a quiet moment at the end of the rehearsal to say my hellos, but I find myself short of words, being so excited, and having so much respect for this other human being. I realize that there is barely a need for words. In the last two and half hours Bruno has already told me so much through his music making, OUR music making. His love for the music, for us, for the world, for Beethoven, for family, for the notes, for the rests, for the dynamics, it makes so many things make sense.
I just wanted to share a few words with you, and if you have the opportunity to see this performance this week, it will change your life, in some small way, perhaps without even realizing it yourself. I know it has for me.
on tour. kickin it. playin.