7 years ago

Volume 11 Issue 3 - November 2005

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • November
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • December
  • Musical
  • Index
  • Concerto
  • Ensemble
  • Choir

April at Roy Thomson

April at Roy Thomson Hall. Orpheus: a choir to take another look at! On Nov 9, Toronto Symphony music director Peter Oundjian conducts a program of Remembrance featuring Vaughan Williams' lush and moving Dona Nobis Pacem and the world premiere of Andrew MacDonald's War Machine, commissioned by the Symphony. On Nov 11 itself, the St. James' Cathedral Choral Society performs a program including the Requiem by Gabriel Faure and prolific local composer Andrew Ager's An Unknown Soldier. Also on Nov. 11 and 12, the Paris-based Ensemble Clement Janequin come to town as guests of the Toronto Consort. Under their director, countertenor Dominique Visse, this world-renowned vocal ensemble will perform French polyphonic songs ... not to be missed! On Nov. 12, Lee Willingham's Bell' Arte Singers offer an intriguing program "for peace and remembrance" featuring music by Bach, Durufle and others, and including a little-known dramatic piece by Eric Robertson, effectively depicting the futility of war. BOSLEY REAL ESTATE HOSLEY >:EAl £STATE LT!'J., kE.\LTOP. PETER MAHON Sales Representative 416-322-8000 pmahon@tre bnet. com The following week, on Nov. 19, the Vesnivka Choir celebrates women composers of Ukrainian descent. Later in the month, on Nov. 25, the astonishing Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian gives a benefit concert at Convocation Hall to raise funds for the restoration of the hall's mammoth organ. I had the golden experience of hearing Bayrakdarian sing Zerlina at the Met last year and was floored by her musicality, dramatic sense, intelligence and, yes, great beauty. One can learn so much about singing by experiencing her artistry. The following evening (Nov 26) marks the debut of Lynn Janes as the new director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir in a cold-weather program that includes Vivaldi's Gloria. This once-glorious ensemble has fallen on hard times lately, but by all reports is back on its feet and growing stronger by the day under Janes' leadership. The innovative and elegant Isabel Bernaus has done similar good work with the Jubilate Singers of late and their talents are on display on Nov. 26 as well, with a program entitled "Northern Reflections", featuring the premiere of a work by local composer Benjamin Bolden, the Berliner Messe by Arva Part and a piece by the aforementioned Stephen Hatfield called Lady of the Snows. As DECEMBER APPROACHES, we get into many Messiah performances (the Elmer lseler Singers for example on Dec. 2 with a nice roster of soloists) and other holiday fare. WholeNote colleague Simone Desilets gives a run-down of the season's Messiah offerings here this month. I'll have a day-by-day rundown of the rest of the yuletide and Chanukah offerings in next month's column. Pick your Messiah As IN ALL PAST CHRISTMAS SEASONS, so in this: WholeNote's listings pages fairly ring out with the word "Messiah", as choirs and orchestras revisit this beloved work by Handel without which the season would hardly seem complete. The explosion of Messiahs begins in November, with six performances listed in this issue. But it hits full force in December with twenty-six performances spanning the period December 9th to 20th (either partial or of the complete work) already waiting to appear in the next issue of the magazine. (No doubt we will hear of several more, before the December listings are completed.) There is even one already known to us, that takes place during the Easter 2006 season - a reminder that the work is not just a celebration of a birth but also one of a resurrection. So in this issue of the magazine we have decided to depart from our norm, and point out not only Messiah performances taking place within the scope of the present issue but also those coming up in December and beyond - our way of helping our readers to plan their concert-going activities during the festive season. Simone Desilets The six peiformances listed in this issue, in November or early December, take place over a wide area, from Toronto to Midland, Hamilton, Jordan, Aylmer and London. To help you find them in the daily listings (pages 41-62), here is a brief description of each one in order of occurrence: *November 26 7:30: Arcady. A Baroque Messiah. Further afield in Aylmer ON. *November 26 7:30:Serenata Choir. Handel's Messiah. Further afield in their home· town of Midland ON. *December 02 8:00: Elmer lseler Singers. Handel's Messiah. In Toronto, at Metropolitan United Church. *December 02 8:00: Symphony Hamilton. The Messiah. Further afield in London ON. *December 03 7:30: Arcady. A Baroque Messiah. Their second performance, this time further afield in Jordan ON. *December 04 8:00: Symphony Hamilton. The Messiah. Their second performance, this time further afield in Hamilton. And following is a very brief description (due to lack of space) of all others we've heard about to date - mostly in order of occurrence, but with repeat performances consolidated within the one listing. To find out more details than are offered here, please use the phone numbers provided, or visit our website: and follow the "Pick your Messiah" link. *December 09 7:30: Fanshawe Chorus London. Handel's Messiah. London. 519· 433-9650. • December 10 8:00: Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra. 'Tis the Season. Includes Hallelujah Chorus. 416-879-5566. 'December 10 at 8:00, December 11 at 3:00: Elora Festival Singers. Handel's Messiah. Elora. 519-846-0331, 800-265· 8977. • December 11 3:00: Serenata Choir. Han· del's Messiah. 416-489· 7798. 'December 11 3:30: Gerald Fagan Sing· ers.Handel's Messiah. London. 519-433- 9650. 'December 11 7:30: Arcady. A Baroque Messiah. Toronto. 416-250-0177. 'December 13 7:30: Arcady. A Baroque Messiah. Brantford. 519-753-1602. 'December 13 7:30: St. James' Cathedral Choral Society. Family Messiah & Carols: Part 1 of Handel's Messiah. 416-364· 7865. 'December 13 8:00: Heritage Theatre. The Moscow Boys Choir: Christmas Around the World. Includes excerpts lromMessiah. Brampton. 905-874-2800. MESSIAH QUICK PICKS CONTINUES ON PAGE63 SCARBOROUGH BEL CANTO an adult mixed voice auditioned choir, is looking for a Music Director for the 2006/2007 season. Rehearsals at St. Nicholas' Anglican Church, Scarborough, Tuesdays, 7:30 to 1 0:00 pm. Interested persons call Larry Tozer at 647-287-4092. Sing il£il61UQ in CARNEGIE HALL April 9, 2006 Auditions will be held in Toronto on Saturday, November 26 for interested choristers who are already familiar with the work. For details of this 5-day/4-night residency at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, visit (click Tour, then Messiah at Carnegie 2006) or contact Prof. Pierre Perron at or (902) 425-5205. Back to Ad Index WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM

A Quarter Century for Choral Concert team by Heidi McKenzie PACK THE Rogers Centre (former Sky Dome) to the rafters and then quadruple that number for a pretty good idea of how many fans tune in to Choral Concert Sunday mornings on CBC Radio Two. For a loyal and growing following of 200,000 listeners, the program not only reflects longstanding Western choral tradition, it whets the appetite for diversity. Both Howard and Robert are quick to point out that Choral Concert was never intended to be some kind of religious surrogate regardless of its Sunday morning timeslot. Both are adamant about maintaining the unpredictability factor in their programming. ;r ~ 25th anniversary for CBC Radio's Choral Concert team: Executive Producer, Robert Cooper (right) and host, Howard Dyck. "! pick the music, " says Cooper "Howard puts the words to it. We argue, and meet somewhere in the middle. We wouldn't have lasted if the chemistry wasn't right. Music has been the bond. " Prior to being asked to boil down a quarter century into a few paragraphs, I talked to a few of the folks who played a part in the team over the last couple of decades - Larry Beckwith, Jurgen Petrenko, and Kelly Galbraith - as well as tapping into the dynamic duo's own store of lore and recollection. From all that, if I had to distill Robert's character down to one word from my collective surveys, it would be visionary. For Howard, it would be uncompromising standards. Everything with Robert is huge. Take June 4th, 1989, for example, during the first Toronto International Choral Festival. Set for a 7am live-to-air broadcast, a live studio audience packed the Jarvis Street Studio G while from the other side of the world, news of the Tiananmen Square massacre was breaking. Communication came to a standstill. It was a technician's worst nightmare. Miraculously the lines came back up with a roomy 25 seconds to air. In retrospect, it was an early sign of the program's signature modus operandi: "one step before total chaos - riffing on the edge of brilliance." There have been a number of close calls. In 1996, Choral Concert provided the vehicle through which CBC celebrated its 60th Anniversary. No surprise to Robert:"No other medium has the capacity to bind the elements of text, collegiality, community, grass roots and tradition." It was a huge event: the first participatory coast to coast, live to air broadcast. The Atrium was literally humming . But when Howard Dyck welcomed the East coast ... dead air. A similar technical glitch ushered in Winnipeg. Pressing on, the event proved to be a success. Everyone I spoke to selected Easter Sunrise as a programme highlight - whether it be in Ottawa with the thrill of thousands of voices raised in song as sunlight streamed through the National Gallery, or on the mount in Montreal, or in Winnipeg, or as far West as Vancouver (with 5 a.m. call times in order to broadcast in real time to the Maritimes) . My own first experience with Choral Concert was in Montreal for Easter Sunrise - and trust me. Reading or hearing about hundreds, thousands of people lining up for blocks and blocks at 5 o'clock in the morning just isn't the same as being there. It's electric. CONTINUESNEXT PAGE N OVEMBER 1 - D EC EM BER 7 2005 Back to Ad Index § WWW.TH EWHOLENOTE. COM TORONTO MENDELSSOHN CHOIR PRESENTS

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