Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The letter "V"

Vancouver's variable views, vibrant voices, virtuosos violinists, valued venues, and vigorous vitality make it really easy to come up with "V" ideas for this ABC Wednesday post.
These buds, valiantly opening in December, had a velour-like softness to them.  Could there be some "V" shapes in their midst, or is "W" your vote for the first letter that comes to mind? 

Palm trees, ocean, clouds and a walker lost in reverie formed a little vignette.. 

that left a vivid impression on me.  And, perhaps more "V" shapes in and under the bridge?

These sliding carriers allow workers to access all sides of the bridge to clean away bird nests and debris.  I always feel sad that bird families are uprooted but contemplated, the other day, the unique viewpoint..
and vistas city workers have of their world.
It was fun to try a topsy-turvy vantage point for these voluptuous plants along Sunset Beach.

Bill and I walked downtown with Black Jack on Saturday, and I stopped by this church to check out the vivid vermillion flowers in this bush by a church.  

Although we were originally going a different direction, I was virtually led around the corner of the building by my camera, and Bill and Black Jack followed unquestioningly.  

As I was photographing another beautiful flowering bush on the property, we noticed a sign advertising a performance of Handel's Messiah that was happening at that very moment.  

Would you believe when we peeked into the vestibule that the usher insisted we go inside to listen with Black Jack!  Two violins, a viola, a cello, a harpsichord and the most beautiful voices made this a memory that I not only continue to hear but visualize as well.  I love that Black Jack has now heard a live performance of The Messiah and am most grateful that she was on her best behaviour in recognition of this honour.  The ensemble is called Stellaria and the venue was the Holy Rosary Cathedral.  We enjoyed the performance so much, we returned to hear them at a different church the following evening (without Black Jack).  

Another vocal ensemble that Bill and I love is the Bach Choir.  Below, the singers, along with their venerated director, Maestro Leslie Dala, were gathered at Vancouver Public Library for a free preview to their concert coming up on the 15th.  

Maestro Dala is a veritable fountain of knowledge and his enthusiasm and love for the music came through so vigorously, we are now really looking forward to the Canadian premiere of John Adams' El Niño  on Saturday.

Several members from the vocal chamber ensemble, musica intima, also gave their time and energy to preview their "Home for Christmas" performances.  The Canadian Music Centre offered a space for this presentation, which included a fascinating talk by Janet Danielson, a Canadian composer who has been researching the history of the very first Christmas Carols in Canada.  Her arrangement of an Ursuline carol will be performed at the musica intima concerts coming up on the 17th, 18th, 21st and 22nd of December.  We love this ensemble too!  What can I say?  Vancouver is truly blessed with committed and talented musicians who want nothing more than to share the music that is one vital aspect of all that makes life good.  With four dates and four venues, I do hope those of you within driving distance will find a way to hear this ensemble.  

Bill surprised me with tickets to hear Elina Vähälä play the Mozart Violin Concerto Number 4 in D Major at The Orpheum on December 1st.  I took a few photos of The Orpheum before the concert,  as I often do, just because I think it is a resplendent venue.
Tchaikovsky's  Capriccio Italien was also on the program.  This is music with vigorous dance rhythms and a vivacious tarantella at the end that just about pulls you out of your seat.
Beethoven's 7th Symphony was also on the program, another work that vanquishes the rainy weather blues.  Viva la Beethoven :)

I didn't know Elina Vähälä so she becomes the new-to-me "V" musician for this post.  Her web site will give you more information about her life and career.  She exhibited a verve and virtuosity that  will take her pretty much wherever she wants to go in the concert world.  You can listen to a short excerpt of her playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto at this link.   Photo by  Pekka Saarinen photography
This post almost made it to the end with not a bird or beast to be seen.   I couldn't let that happen, so decided to repost a few photos that are favourites of mine.  First, this seagull, full of vim as it dances a jig.

This is Lawrence, an osprey that I have followed for several years.  Here he forms "V" for Victory with his wings.

Not to be left out of the vim and vigour department, Bill formed his own victorious "V" in a Vancouver playground.

As for Black Jack, the outline of her head and ears forms a "V" shape, don't you think?  And look at that vivacious smile!

I found two artists with "V" names who were unknown to me before.  Victor Vasarely was born in Hungary in 1906 and moved to France in 1930 where he lived for the rest of his life,  dying in Paris in 1997.  He was one of the pioneers of Optical Art which "relies on the manipulation of visual sensations for its effect." (Quoted from The Art Book)  You can see more examples of his work at this site.  I love his wide range of colours but his black and white works also appeal.  Warning: a feeling of vertigo may occur after repeated viewings :)

Bill Viola was simply impossible to resist with that name :)  He was born in New York in 1951.  To quote again from The Art Book, "Viola takes state-of-the-art video, audio and information technology into visionary realms, drawing on sources ranging from ancient, mystic teachings to the L.A. riots in an exploration of the unconscious mind."

There is a wealth of information on line about him, including many interviews where he expresses viewpoints about a wide variety of topics.  There are also many videos of his work.  Perhaps, the best link I can suggest is his own web site.  You might also enjoy this short (47 seconds) sample of his work.  He is the master of slow motion, so don't be fooled at first into thinking it isn't playing. And, that brings us to the end of my "V" post.  My heartfelt thanks to you for stopping by.  Other thoughts and expressions about the letter "V" can be found at the wonderful ABC Wednesday blog meme.


  1. your opening sentence made me laugh. so cool that you were invited into the church to hear the choir, even w/ black jack in hand! the dancing gull was too cute. so was black jack's glee and bill's v. :)

  2. great series of views, and lovingly done
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  3. You surely loaded us with 'V's ! I loved the dancing seagull and I'm so glad Black Jack got invited to church. From your photos she looks like she is just one big bundle of energy, so I'm glad she could sit quietly. I started a tradition at our house a year or two ago. We listen to (and watch)Messiah every Christmas Eve. Sins our sons are grown and gone it is usually just the two of us. I only recently realized that it was Handel's music but someone else put together all the appropriate Scripture.

  4. Beautiful images from your part of world. I just love that first shot.

  5. There is a wealth of music to enjoy in and around Vancouver but rarely is the path into those events as welcoming as yours was with Black Jack in the church. I can just imagine the acoustics within those high walls. There were some empty seats there despite the fact that this could well have been a standing room only event. I also noticed Vs in the flooring and around the arches, by the way. :)

  6. Oh I enjoyed the dancing gull so much-that capture is so cute. Lots of V's today for us and I think the cathedral is phenomenol. I would LOVE to hear music in there. We are doing our Christmas Musical this weekend, will try and post some video.

  7. A Very enjoyable post with dynamic Visuals! Thank you Very much!

  8. You always do such a great job with the letters. The osprey and Black Jack in all their exuberance made me smile.

  9. HOly violas! What Variety!! I think you really outdid yourself this time with the letter, "V"!
    Very well done!
    Va va Voom!

  10. Beautiful sign of life on the first shot.

    V is for..
    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  11. We won't soon be seeing any buds over here in New England. I like your V's though and that is a beautiful church

  12. Carol, you present vivid vestiges and vistas of a voluminous variety.
    I hope that made sense!!!lol
    I too loved that seagull photo! I always learn a thing or two from your posts. I loved going to the Orpheum Theatre.....what a magnificent place.

  13. We saw Jane Olivor at the Orpheum in 1980.The beauty of the building still echoes through my memories. The second photo reminds me of the park near Kits beach...always enjoyed my walks there.Black Jack is definitely enjoying his burst of energy varooming around. Bill Viola's video is mesmerizing...loved it. You definitely captured plenty of V images...good work!
    Von I mean Ron!

  14. A wonderfully vital post! Thank you from hot Bangkok (35 degrees with 42 humidex)! Phyllis