8 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 4 - December 2003

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  • Toronto
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' QUODLIBET by Allan

' QUODLIBET by Allan Pulker I read in today's newspaper that over 50,000 people went to watch a hockey game between "old timers" from the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens hockey teams from the 1980s, and that 900,000 people wanted to attend. I like to think at least that many would line up to listen to another "old timer," Johann Sebastian Bach, were he able to make a "comeback" and give a recital and a pre-concert talk. Helmuth Rilling The "Great One" of music will he said was that Rilling's approach not be making an appearance on Plan- is driven not by his or anyone else's et Earth any time soon; but Helmuth study of performance practice~ ~f Rilling, a man whose life and thought Bach's time but by the text. This_ 1s have been shaped by the music and. not to say that he has not been aware theology of J.S. Bach will be in of the Bach scholarship of the past Toronto for The Bach Festival at the four or five decades. He has been University of Toronto, "J.S. Bach listening to what the scholf"s have is extremely charismatic. He memorizes everything he conducts, which enables him to be liberated and spontaneous in performance. In performance he looks at the choir, not at a score, which helps the choristers to be ~ught up in the whirlwind of performance excitement. This is something Cooper speculated that he might have learned from Leonard Bernstein with whom he studied in 1%7 in Tanglewood. In rehearsal he is quite different- understated and quiet, his gestures contained. Robert Cooper spoke of the things he had received from Rilling: an understanding of the preparation/rehearsal/performance dynamic; a sense of the possibility of taking the music to another level in performance; dedication to the ongoing study of what is going Messiah Quicklist in the World Today", five days of had to say and he has changed ahd by Karen Ages lectures, symposia, rehearsals and developed over the years, which is As mentioned in the "Snapshot" of -concerts from January 12 to 16. why he has recorded many ofBach's Howard Dyck (p.8,lO), there are Rilling is a legendary conductor major works two or three times. some 40 or more perfomances of and student of Bach and the artistic Underly fog that, however, is his Handel's Messiah this December in director of the International Bachakad- wish to perform the music the way . the GT A. The quicklist of presenters ernie Stuttgart, of the Gachinger Kan- Bach might have wanted to hear it below is proof of this work's endurtorei and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart today. ing appeal. An asterisk denotes exand of the Oreg~n Bach Festival. I He works for a flexible and a full cerpts. For full details, please see the doubt ifthere has been anyone since choral sound and above all relates Concert Listings. GTA listings be­ Albert Schweitzer, whose landmark the text to the music. As a student, gin on page 35; Further Afield listtwo volumes on Bach were first pub- Cooper said, Rilling was a theology ings begin on page 55 . lished one hundred years ago, who major and this comes out in his ap- . December has so completely absorbed and un- proach to the music. In rehearsals 05 7:30: Elmer fseler Singers derstood not only the music of Bach he would always talk about how the 06 7:30: Annex Singers of Toronto• but also its historical, philosophical music, resonated with the text and 06 7:30: Arca~y and theological context. historically speaking what it would 06 8:00: Brampton Festival Singers/ Robert Cooper, a CBC Radio have meant to people in Bach's time; · Symphony Hamilton Two producer as well as the con- "opening [our] awareness to what 07 3:00: Concertsingers · h " 07 3:00: Sacred Music Society ductor of several choirs, studied with was going on behmd t e notes. . 07 7:00: Burlington Civic Chorale Rilling for t\vo years in the 1970s at Speaking from his own experience 10 7:30: Arcady the Frankfurt Hochschule and sang conducting Bach's music, Cooper 10 7:30: Toronto Choral Society in his Bach Collegium in Stuttgart. I commented that it is "uncanny, how 13 5:00: St. James' Choral Society• asked him for his impressions of every note is related to the text, the 13 7:30: Alexander Singers• Rilling and his contribution to the theology." . . 13 8:00: Symphony Hamilton/ legacy of J.S. Bach. The first thing As a performer/conductor Rillmg Brampton Festival Singers on behind the notes (so easy to lose sight of in the obsession just to learn the notes); and an awareness of the world of theological and philosophical understanding that informed the composition of Bach's music and which needs to inform its interpretation as well. "Rilling has so much to offer" he added. "EveryoneshouldgototheBach Festival with a notepad and a handful of pencils and try to go away with as much as they possibly can." Rilling will stay in Toronto for another week to conduct three performances by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Elmer Iseler Singers and the University of Toronto MacMillan Singers of Bach's Magnificat and Mozart's Mass in C Minor, K. 427 on January 22, 24 and 25. 14 3:00: Mississauga Ch.oral Society 17, 18, 19,20 7:30: Tafelmusik ' 17,18,20 8:00: TSO/Toronto Mendelssohn 18 8:00: Massey Hall, Violon Du Roi 19 8:00: Sacred Music Society 20 8:00: Scarborough Philharmonic* 21.2:00: Tafelmusik. Sing-Along Messiah 21 3:00: TSO/Toronto Mendelssohn · FURTHER AFIELD 01 7:30: Brott Music Festival. Hamilton 05 7:30: Arcady. Aylmer 07 3:00: Symphony Hamilton/ Brampton Festival Singers. Hamilton 07 7:30: Achill Choral Soc.iety. Orangeville 12 7:30: Waves of Sound. London 13 7:30: Ba~rie Concerts. Barrie 13 7:30: Kitchener Waterloo Philharmonic Choir. Kitchener 13 7:30: Sacred Music Society. Peterborough , 14 2:30: Kitchener Waterloo Philharmonic Choir. Kitchener 14 3:00: Elora Festival Singers. Elora 14 3:00: Peterborough Singers. Lindsay 14 3:30: Waves of Sound. London 15 7:30: Peterborough Singers. Peterborough 20 7:30: Arcady. Brantford 20 8:00: Guelph Chamber Choir. Guelph 21 4:00: Sacred Music Society. Whitby 18 Canada's foremost Violin Specialists 201 Church Street · Toronto, ON MSB 1Y7 e-mail Violins, violas, cellos, and bows Complete line of strings and accessories Expert repairs and rehairs Canada's largest stock of string music Fast mail order service . ·-·· -----·-----·-------'

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