If you walk by Cardinal Café in Sharbot Lake on the evening of January 30, you might find yourself thinking you're in Leipzig, Germany, transported back almost 300 years, to where famed German composer Johann Sebastian Bach is previewing his newest creations to small groups in a coffee shop there called Café Zimmermann.
A concert of baroque chamber music is happening at 7pm on Saturday, January 30th 2016. The evening will feature Edwin Huizinga on violin and Phillip Fournier on harpsichord, performing mostly Bach compositions, such as his G Major Sonata and his E Major Partita, which features some of his most famous music. They'll also be performing a piece by French composer Jean-Marie Leclair.
“We love this piece,” Huizinga said about the Leclair sonata they will be performing. “It is very different than Bach and gives us a window into Germanic baroque versus French baroque.”
The pieces that Huizinga and Fournier have chosen to perform feature some solo violin, some solo harpsichord, as well as multiple pieces that feature both instruments together.
“I'm dying to hear solo harpsichord in that space” Huizinga said enthusiastically.
The harpsichord, similar to a piano in many ways, has a very unique sound as the strings of the instrument are plucked as opposed to struck with hammers like the piano.
Huizinga said that they are planning to talk a little about the history of the pieces they will be playing so it's a great opportunity for those new to classical music to get their first taste of it live.
“Large concert halls can seem inaccessible for some” Huizinga said about his ambition to bring this music outside of its traditional performance spaces. “Tickets starting at $145 and a four-hour concert doesn't make it easy for people looking for an entry point into classical music” Huizinga said regarding playing large concert halls. “Also, it's not nearly as people.”
Huizinga has done both though, playing to audiences large and small, and reminisced warmly about getting the opportunity to play in Stevie Wonder's band at the Air Canada Centre last year to a packed house.
“The highlight for me happened when he played Imagine by John Lennon, for Lennon, on his birthday, and at the end of the song he was in tears. It was so powerful. 25,000 people singing along.”
“One of my goals in life is to bring the music I love to the people,” Huizinga mentioned.“Whether that's in cafés in Toronto, to underprivileged kids in Big Sur, or small communities in the country.”
Huizinga is a founding member of Classical Revolution, a group of musicians from San Francisco that started playing music at a café every Sunday in 2003 and which blossomed into a cultural and musical movement of professional musicians performing chamber music in non-traditional spaces. There are currently over 50 versions of Classical Revolution happening throughout the world.
“Cardinal Café is the most ideal spot to hear and play chamber music,” Huizinga said. “It's very similar to how it would've been
presented originally in Leipzig. Also, it has the lake, frozen, on both sides and it's going to be so beautiful.”
“Playing music in smaller rooms like this is the best!” Huizinga said. “It's unpretentious, raw, and real!”
Huizinga has a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory and a Masters of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Philip Fournier is Organist & Music Director of the Toronto Oratory.
The concert starts at 7:00 pm; tickets are $20 and are available at Cardinal Cafe and online at cardinalhandmade.com.