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Volume 9 Issue 9 - June 2004

  • Text
  • Festival
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Concerts
  • Musical
  • Baroque
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Choir

l!J'of Niki A Tribute to

l!J'of Niki A Tribute to Nicholas Goldschmidt 1908:..2004 centuries - Night Music: Madrigales will be Carolyn Sinclair (soprano), Olde and New ...(June 28). Laura Pudwell (mezzo-soprano), If you would prefer to be a par- Joseph Schnurr (tenor), Ben Covey ticipantratherthanjustalistener, you (baritone), James Mason (oboe), might consider dropping in on the plus other perfonners. Toronto Early Music Centre's The festival's third day continues "vocal circle," a monthly "recrea- at a murderous pace! How about this ' . tional" reading of early choral music concert, Murder a la Baroque, with (see under "workshops"), butmostly music by Stradella, Johnson, Gesumadrigals (June 23). Obviously, the aldo, Leclair, Couperin, Lully, and abilitytoreadmusicisdesirable, both Handel (July 3)? Now doesn't that for your benefit and also that of the sound like a great roster for a Bagroup. roque Olympic Team? The guest artists in this concert are Meredith Also, not too far away, in Ayr, Ontario; is the fabulous (and rela- Hall (soprano), Colin Fox (narrator), lively new) Grand River Baroque Linda Melsted (violin), Farran Jaires Festival (check out the website at: (violin), Mary Katherine Finch (celwww.grbf.ca/). Although Tafel- lo), and others. A rarely-heard work by Alessandro Scarlatti, Il Primo musik violinist, Linda Melsted, will Omocidio and later· that same be busy leading a "read-a-thon" of Bach's Brandenburg Concerti J and evening, the stunning Mystery So- 3 (June 26), the concerts proper be- natas by Biber round out the day's delightfully grisly fare. gin July l, starting with the Branden- Bach's Coffee House is the theme burg Extravaganw, a performance by the Grand River Baroque Festi- for day 4, along with the final event val Ensemble , of the complete ·of this short but intense Baroque Brandenburg Concerti 1to 6. Wow! experience, Bach's masterwork, the There's more music by Bach on the St. John Passion. folloWing day - his Concerto for 3 Frank T. Nakashima Violins in D; the Oboe Concerto in (franknak@interlog.com) F; and the Cantatas BWV 54 & 64 is the President of (July 2). Soloists on this occasion the Toronto F.arly Musio Centre CHORAL SCENE In a few short weeks another sum- , mer will be 1 upon us and choral concerts will move into the barns of Ontario. The 2004--05 season has been filled with exciting performances of choral masterpieces, little-heard works and brilliant new additions to the repertoire. Important anniversaries have been celebrated, significant prizes have been won and a few choral luminaries have passed it way. As a practising nrusician, I sometimes find it a ·challenge to get out to many of the concerts' by the great array of Toronto choirs. I try my best, though, and was happy to be in attendance at the first concert of Lee Willingham's Bell'Arte Singers, this year. The highlight was the premiere of a strong new piece by Timothy Sullivan which I hope will receive more performances. A week or two later, the Mendelssohn Choir gave a stirring performance of Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah in the grand surroundings of Massey Hall. Though I know the piece quite well, I was knocked out by the conviction of the singing and Noel Edison's thrilling pacing. I hear wonderful reports of the rebirth of the Orpheus Choir, one by Larry Beckwith of Toronto's most distinguished and important choirs, under the new leadership of Robert Cooper. Though I wasn't able to hear them, this year, it's great to hear that they are thriving and growing. Similarly, the Tallis Choir, with its new director Peter Mahon, has attraGted renewed interest and exciteirent around its concerts, this year. Mahon has also been impressing audiences with the performances of his other choir, the Wtlliam Byrd Singers. One of the grandest and most significant choral events of the year took place on February 29 in the Atrium of the CBC Broadcasting Centre when six of Canada's professional choirs - and the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus - premiered Fall Into Light by Canada's preeminent choral composer R. Murray Schafer. A setting of a panoply of texts, both religious and secular, on the concept of light and darkness, Schafer's work is a masterpiece of choral colours and sounds. It was a challenge, but guest conductor Tonu Kaljuste and the conductors of all of the choirs pooled their collective energies to bring off a very movin~ performance. JUNE 1 - JULY 7 2004

Those who were in attendance at Massey Hall ·at the beginning of April for a performance of Bach's St. John Passion by the visiting La Chapelle de Quebec will attest that it was one of the finest concerts of the year. Conductor Bernard Labadie led a flawless and deeply affecting perform- ance. As I reflect on it, the most incredible aspect of that concert was that there were some of the world's great singers on the stage - David Daniels, Stephen Varcoe, Ben Butterfield - but they were all intent only on serving this great piece of music. It was remarkable. Two important anniversaries were marked this season. At the end of January, Jean Ashworth Bartie's Toronto Children's Chorus celebrated their 2~th anniversary with a splendid gala concert at Roy Thomson Hall. Though potentially upstaged by the wide array of guest stars, the choir managed to steal the show with glorious performances, especially of a new work by Andrew Davis on the Alice in Wonderland theme. It was a true and profound "moment" when we all - choirs and audience - stood at the end

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