7 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 9 - June 2007

  • Text
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
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  • Choir
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  • Classical

Quoolibetby Allan Pu

Quoolibetby Allan Pu IkerJUNE & TIIE SUMMER HEAThave arrived and, as the 2006-07concert season winds down, a newSunday afternoon concert series hasappeared at the edge of the city atthe historical Sharon Temple, convenientlylocated near the north endof Highway 404 in the village ofSharon, about 45 minutes by carfrom downtown Toronto, less ifyou live north of the city, or nearHighway 407.Concerts at Sharon Temple are nota new phenomenon. The Childrenof Peace religious sect, the buildersof the temple - construction beganin 1825 towards the end ofBeethoven's life and was completedin 1831, two years before JohannesBrahms' birth - parted company,we are told, with the Quakersbecause they wanted music tobe an integral part of their religiousobservance, where God, theyhoped, would speak directly to alland where both Christians and Jewscould find a home. More recently,between 1981 and 1990, it was thehome of the illustrious original Musicat Sharon concert series, of whichmany performances were recordedand broadcast by the CBC, includingthe world premiere of HarrySomers' opera, Serinette.Getting back to our story, a newand vigorous Sharon Temple MuseumSociety board, attempting to raisethe profile of the temple, late lastyear invited Stephen Cera to serveas artistic director of a re-establishedMusic at Sharon. Cera was a logicalchoice for the job. Originally a concertpianist, he was in Toronto forthe first time in November 1974 toaudition for the Toronto SymphonyOrchestra, which resulted in a secondvisit in the summer of 1975when he performed Liszt's first PianoConcerto with the TSO at OntarioPlace. Returning to Toronto in1985 to work as a music producerfor the CBC, he did a considerableamount of programming. (Coincidentally,while working for the CBC heproduced several broadcasts recordedat Sharon Temple.)In 1991 he assumed the role ofartistic director of the concert seriesat the Ford Centre, now theToronto Centre for the Arts. In thiscapacity he programmed approximately100 concerts per season untilthe series ended in 2000.Cera's current Sharon mandate isto present concerts that primarily featureCanadian artists, give exposureto outstanding young artists, offer asignificant amount of Canadian music,and have some historical resonance.His programming masterfullyreflects all four requirements. Thetheme of the first concert, on June3, is French, but the program willinclude works by two Quebec composers,Andre Prevost and MayaBadian. The June 10 concert, theElora Festival Singers, will includeconsiderable Canadian content, includingGlenn Gould's witty butrarely performed, "So You Want toWrite a Fugue?" as well as musicby Stephen Chatman, and by GlennBuhr who studied with Chatman inthe 1970s. Appropriately, also onthe program will be John Beckwith'ssetting of texts by Children of Peacefounder, David Willson, "SharonFragments." The third concert, June17, will be a recital by,in Cera's words, "themagnificent Russian pianist,Nikolai Demidenko,"in what is probablyhis first Canadianappearance since theFord Centre days. Thisperformance will be ladenwith historical resonance,exploring the interconnectionsbetweenJ. S. Bach and FranzLiszt, whose life-span,1811-1886, almost exactlycoincides with thelife-span of the Childrenof Peace. The centrepiece of the concertwill be Liszt's variations on themusic of Bach's Cantata 12, "Weinen,Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen." TheJune 24 concert will feature twoyoung Montreal artists, cellistYegor Dyachkov and pianist, JeanSaulnier, who will perform the rarelyheard Chopin Cello Sonata ("absolutelytop drawer Chopin," Ceratold me, " ... from the same time asthe b-minor piano sonata") and theeven rarer Britten Cello Sonata.In addition they will premiere anew work by the young Canadiancomposer, Michael Oesterle,whose cello concerto was premieredrecently by Dyachkov withthe Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.On July 8 the Nathaniel Dett Choralecompletes the series.The series may be small but theperformers and repertoire are byno means insignificant. "We decidedto start modestly," Cera assuredme, "but if it goes well, wewill expand it."Tickets can be booked online or by telephoningthe Toronto SymphonyOrchestra Box Office at 416-598-3375.The historical Sharon TempleMUSIC MONDAYS, 2007The Music Mondays concert series,which began the last Monday of Mayand ends on Labour Day, like Musicat Sharon, takes place in an historicbuilding, Holy Trinity Churchbehind the Eaton Centre. Started in1992, two years after the end of thefirst Music at Sharon series, it offersa wide variety of performers andmusical genres.This month, for starters, on June4, pianist, Marie-Claude Montplaisir,will take us on a whirlwindmusical tour with Scarlatti, Grieg,Gottschalk, Joplin, Chopin andLiszt. A week later Music for Muses,a harp, flute and piano trio,will play 19th and 20th CenturyFrench music. Modern Hindustaniclassical music will be the programfor June 18. And it goes onfrom there!Series artistic director, SueCrowe-Connolly year after yearputs together a winner of a series,each concert of which is a little 45-minute musical oasis in a buildingwhich is itself an architectural oasis,almost a time capsule from the19th Century, with astonishingacoustics!9nfrolucin:;theCanada's newest chamber orchestra, presentsits debut performance of Mozart, Beethovenand Morlock under the leadership of conductorEric Paetkau.June 29, 2007 at 8pmCBC/Glenn Gould StudioTickets Available at the Box Office(416) 205-555516 WWW .THEWHOLENOTE.COM

Choral SceneTHERE'S NOTHING LIKE a festival tocrown a magnificent season ofmusic-making in the city.Though not dedicated exclusivelyto choral music, the LuminarnFestival features collections of voicesin exciting and humorous situations.The festivities get underwayJune 1 with Not the Messiah (he'sa very naughty boy) courtesy ofMonty Python's Eric Idle. Someonehad to tear down the sacredwalls of Handel's Messiah sometime!It's such a familiar piece andwill certainly survive this lampooning.It's interesting that Idle andToronto Symphony music directorPeter Oundj ian are first cousinsand, apparently, they've been cookingup this show for some timenow. The Toronto MendelssohnChoir, Toronto Symphony andsoloists are all involved. Should befun. Other events in the festivalconnected with vocal and choralmusic are Luna, featuring 10 ofCanada's most accomplished operastars (no chorus, unfortunately!)and The Passion of Winnie(Part One), featuring South Africanchoral music helping to tell thestory of the triumph over Apartheid.For more info, you can Toronto-area choirs arestill going strong this month withfinal concerts and season-endingcelebrations. Dallas Bergen's UnivoxChoir Toronto presents songsand part-songs by Schubert andFanny Mendelssohn on June 1.This choir has been active for thepast few seasons and is quietlybuilding a healthy following.Stephane Potvin is an enterprisingyoung choral conductor, andhe' s founded a new choir inOakville, called, appropriatelyenough, the Oakville ChamberChoir. They are giving their inauguralconcert on June 2 with a pro-by Larry BeckwithHere with Derek Boyes of TorontoMasque Theatre(!), Choral columnistLarry Beckwith. "Ten yearswriting/or Whole Note ... all goodthings must come to an end. "gram primarily made up of Baroqueworks by Homilius, Bach,Monteverdi and Schutz. Call 905-522-6841 for info. Good luck tothem!I wanted to underline the significanceof the next concert of thePenthelia Singers on June 3 at3pm. As I mentioned last month,this is the final concert of the choirunder Mary Legge's directorship,and they have moved into the GlennGould Studio for the celebration(great spot for a choir concert!).They're performing music by the"four B's": Bach, Bartok, Beachand Brahms. Many good wishesto the choir and to Mary.Also on June 3, the venerableToronto Jewish Folk Choir hastheir 81 st Spring Concert featuringa typically celebratory and variedprogram. Featured composers areMilton Barnes, Heifetz, Varshavskyand other Jewish and Yiddish"theatre favourites" .Ann Cooper Gay and Errol Gayare busy this month with two veryspecial concerts. The first, on June6, is in the Richard BradshawAmphitheatre with the CanadianChildren's Opera Chorus. Thechoir is presenting excerpts fromthe many theatre works they haveSINGERS WANTED ALLK·Auditions for All the King's Voices o/oicesCONTINUES NEXT PAGEIAmateur & Professional THE • Ing s2007-2008 season: ll .. 11.I J. i.:""cm1:1t1• Requiems by Mozart & Faure, with orchestra• Joy to the World: Carols from Worcester Cathedral•Spring, the Sweet Spring, featuring the music ofSteven 416-225-2255High Park Choirs of TorontoZim.fira Poloz, Artistic DirectorthIR"JIJ d j,")if~he High Perk Choirs of Toronto2otn AnniversaryQala ConcertSunday,JunelOth,20073:00 pmSt. Anne's Anglican Church270 Gladstone AvenueJoin us for this speciacu la1· event. featuringspecial performances with High Park Choir foundersAnn Cooper Gay and Errol Gay and Choir alumni.Call for tickets: (416) 762-0657 Adults, Children./Students/Seniors/ AlumniSPRING AUDITIONS• Early Bird Choir (ages 3 - 7,110 rl/{ditio11 n:q11irt:il)•Training Choir (ages h - -rl)• Children's Choir (ages 9 - 16 l• Senior Choir (ages 12 -18+, wit/I higlr lt:l'd of ~k i ll[.,, 11111,:icimFilip)• Chamber Choir (selectedfron1 the Senior Choir)Your "Choir around the Corner"in Toronto's West EndExcellent vocal trainingAdded value ·with music theory rudimentsWarm, encouraging atmosphereWeekly rehearsals in the High Park a rea.,~TH £ ONTAnlO ~~ LA FO N OATIONTRILLIUM ~~1\{ TR I L LIUMFOUNDA T I ON '() D C L' 0 N T AR1DThe High Park Choirs of Toronto(416) 762-0657 info@highparkchoirs.orgwww.highparkchoirs.orgJU NE 1 - J ULY 7 2007 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM 17

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