5 new classical concert streams to watch and be thankful for this weekend

Enjoy these performances by Gerald Finley, Martin Beaver, the New Orford String Quartet and others.

Enjoy these performances by Gerald Finley, Martin Beaver, the New Orford String Quartet and others

Violinists Jonathan Crow (foreground) and Andrew Wan perform as part of the New Orford String Quartet onstage at the Isabel Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston, Ont. (Riddle Films/Vimeo)

Current events are making it hard for classical music fans to be thankful this weekend.

With some Canadian communities going back into lockdown mode this month, and others cautiously allowing public performances, but with greatly reduced audiences, attending concerts continues to be a fraught experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thankfully, many presenters have been making performances available for streaming — a gift for those who rely on music as one of life's necessities.

Below, we've rounded up five recent ones featuring Canadian musicians that you can watch free of charge. Enjoy them and be grateful for the blessing of music during this most unusual Thanksgiving weekend.

Gerald Finley and Julius Drake

Concerts with physically distanced audiences resumed in September at London's Wigmore Hall, with performances being live streamed on YouTube and archived for on-demand viewing for a limited time. What a treat! For their Sept. 26 recital, bass-baritone Gerald Finley and pianist Julius Drake presented songs by Fauré, Duparc, Barber, Ives, Arlen and Porter.

Victoria Symphony's Vivaldi

Recorded live at the University of Victoria's Farquhar Auditorium, this was the first concert of the Victoria Symphony's reimagined 2020-21 season. After a brief spoken introduction, music director Christian Kluxen leads his orchestra through Vivaldi's Four Seasons with concertmaster Terence Tam stepping into the soloist's spotlight.

Pianist Peter Allen

A presentation of Musique Royale, this recital finds pianist Peter Allen playing music by Scarlatti, Mozart, Haydn, Liszt and some of his own bagatelles in All Saints Anglican Church in Bedford, N.S. Allen teaches piano at Dalhousie University.

New Orford String Quartet and friends

This sumptuously produced recording was filmed at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts and live streamed as the final event of the virtual 2020 Banff International String Quartet Festival, which took place in early September. The New Orford String Quartet (with Barry Shifman sitting in for violist Eric Nowlin) welcomes guests Philip Chiu (pianist) and Ema Nikolovska (mezzo-soprano) for music by Chausson and Brahms.

A serving of Beethoven

Every Thursday at noon, violinist Martin Beaver and pianist Fabio Bidini have been streaming a performance of a Violin Sonata by Beethoven from the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where they're faculty members. In the latest episode, they play the Sonata No. 7 in C Minor. Their performance is preceded by an entertaining discussion.