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Volume 15 Issue 7 - April 2010

  • Text
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Concerts
  • Choral
  • Choir
  • Quartet
  • Jazz
  • Orchestra
  • Programme
  • Musical

Martin Beaver of

Martin Beaver of theTokyo Quartet.Toho School of Music in Tokyo, and it hasbeen quartet-in-residence at Yale Universitysince 1976, it also has a strong Torontoconnection through Martin Beaver,its first violinist. When you hear theTokyo String Quartet, you are hearing notonly one of the best string quartets in theworld, but also “The Paganini Quartet,”a set of Stradivarius instruments namedafter the legendary virtuoso Niccolò Paganini,who acquired and played them duringhis illustrious career. The TokyoString Quartet will perform Beethoven’sQuartet in C Major Op. 59 (“Razumovsky”),the Quartet in E-at Major Op. 74(“The Harp”) and the Quartet Op. 95(“Serioso”) in Music Toronto’s last concert of the season, on April 10There are several more fine opportunities to hear string quartets.Also on April 10, the Lindsay Concert Foundation presents the CeciliaString Quartet, and the Oakville Chamber Ensemble will performstring quartets by Mozart and Mendelssohn. On April 19, a quartetcomposed of members of the string section of the TSO will playquartets by Schubert, Beethoven and Brahms as part of the Associatesof the TSO’s “Five Small Concerts” series. On April 25, MooredaleConcerts will present the Afiara Quartet, which some peoplethink will be the next great Canadian string quartet. Flutist RobertAitken, who needs no introduction to WholeNote readers, joinsthe Quartet in a Boccherini quintet, Alberto Ginastera’s Impresionesde la Puna, and Donald Francis Tovey’s Variations on a Theme byGluck. The quartet will complete the programme with the Lyric Suiteby Alban Berg and Mendelssohn’s Quartet in F minor. On April 29,the Silver Birch String Quartet will give a concert for the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society.Student TalentLast but not least, there’s plenty of student talent to be heard in April.The Toronto Secondary School Music Teachers’ Association “59thAnnual Student Concert” on April 15 stands out. Others are the universitychoir visiting from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania on April9, the benefit concerts for the St. Simon’s and University Settlementmusic programmes on April 16 and 18 respectively, the TorontoSymphony Youth Orchestra on April 16, the Toronto Wind Orchestraon April 30 and the TorontoChildren’s Chorus on May 1. OnApril 17 and May 2 respectively,the Canadian Sinfonietta andArcady are presenting concertsshowcasing young artists. Thepost-secondary music schools,of course, are hotbeds of musicmakingby young people – andeven though many of the studentensemble concerts took placein March, there are still severalin April. There are also studentsolo recitals at York University,the University of Toronto, WilfridLaurier, Waterloo, Guelph,Western, Queen’s and the RoyalConservatory’s Glenn GouldSchool.Allan Pulker is a utist anda founder of The WholeNotewho currently serves asChairman of The WholeNote’sboard of directors. He can becontacted at classicalbeyond@thewholenote.com.Beat by Beat / Choral SceneLet the Games BeginB E N j A M I N S T E I NIn the wake of Canada’s triumphant performance at the VancouverOlympics, I can’t help but wonder: where are our live broadcastsof choral concerts, anticipated for months by the musicpress, watched by millions on television, attended live by thousandsof screaming fans with “Tenors Rule and Basses Drool” scrawledacross their naked chests?I propose that Canada found the International Choral Olympics.Singers will be luxuriously sequestered in the Chorister’s Village andfed only the best coffee and cookies during rehearsal breaks. Gold,Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded in such events as loudestfortissimo in the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony;most obscure languages learned phonetically over a six-week period;choir best able to sing a cappella without tuning problems. But theultimate Choral Olympic event will be the Broadway Medley Marathon.Choirs able to prevail in this grueling contest could look forwardto years of lucrative endorsement contracts with throat lozengemanufacturers and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s publishing company.Of course, such potential riches could tempt choirs to cheat. Anywinning ensemble will thus have to be carefully reviewed for unfairtactics such as extra rehearsal time, longer coffee breaks, illicitcoaching in North German pronunciation of “ich” and most crucially,going home after dress rehearsal for a restful night’s sleep instead ofconvening at the pub for several hours. Such heinous practices willhave no place in the Choral Olympics.I challenge choral enthusiasts to envision a Canada in which ayoung boy grows up dreaming not of being the next Sidney Crosby,but a member of the bass section of the North Woodchuck, Sask.Community Chorale. Let us build this dream together!Down to EarthIn the meantime, choirs continue tocompete for our ears in upcomingweeks. Several groups present springand Earth-themed concerts. TheUniversity of Guelph choirs present“Force of Nature” (April 11); theAnnex Singers perform excerpts fromOrff’s Carmina Burana in “Songsof the Earth” (April 17); Hamilton’sJohn Laing Singers present “Spring’sJoy” (April 24); and the EchoWomen’s Choir, Povera ChamberChoir and Holy Trinity Choir combinein a massed celebration of EarthDay entitled “Hymnody of Earth: ACeremony of Songs for Choir,Hammer Dulcimer and Percussion”(April 17).Becca Whitla conducts“Hymnody of Earth.”There are also several choices for Good Friday and Easter (severalnotable concerts were mentioned in last month’s column – pleasego to www.thewholenote.com to read about them). On April 2, theToronto Mendelssohn Choir performs “Sacred Music for a SacredSpace.” On the same night, the Newman Festival Chorus and Orchestrapresent Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. The Elmer Iseler Singersplay catch-up on April 7 with “The Glory of Easter.” Other GoodFriday evening concerts are by the All Saints Kingsway AnglicanChurch Choir in Toronto, the Cantabile Chorale of York Region inThornhill, and the Durham Community Choir in Oshawa.Themed concerts include the Brampton Symphony OrchestraChorus in an all-French programme entitled “La Vie en Rose”:(April 1), and Toronto’s Kir Stefan Serb Choir’s “Slavic Sacred AndTraditional Music” (April 24). In Bradford, Achill Choral Societysings movie music in “Sounds of the Silver Screen” (April 24-25).18 www.thewholenote.comApril 1 - May 7, 2010

On April 25 the Elora Festival Singers present cabaret and theatremusic in “Spring Fever.”For those who like to see choral singers unleash their inner divaor divo, two opera-centred concerts are given this month by theKingston Choral Society and Kingston Symphony Orchestra (April25) and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (“A Night at the Opera,”April 28).Toronto’s Cantemus Singers present an intriguing programme entitled“The Fairer Sex: A celebration of women in Renaissance madrigalsand motets” (April 17-18). Combining music that praises femalesaints and holy women with some deliciously salacious and decidedlysecular madrigals, this sounds like a ideal programme towhich one might bring a date.For those interested in large scale works: the NYCO SymphonyOrchestra and Chorus perform Beethoven’s Mass in C (April 10). Onthe same night, Amadeus Choir celebrates its 35th anniversary seasonwith an all-Mozart programme that includes the D minor Requiemand his lesser known Vespers. The latter work, one of two Vesperssettings by Mozart, is a true gem, preferred by many to hisSalzburg masses.The Mozart Requiem is also being performed by Hamilton’s CentralPresbyterian Church choir on April 2, and by the Pax ChristiChorale on April 24-25. The King Edward Choir performs a winningcombination of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Poulenc’s Gloriain Barrie (April 10) and the Mississauga Choral Society sings Fauré’sRequiem (April 11). Cantores Celestes Women’s Choir perform Pergolesi’sluminous Stabat Mater on April 17. A portion of proceedsfrom this concert will go to the Because I am a Girl foundation.As an alternative to lengthy works, choirs often combine smallerscale works in pleasing and varied programmes. On April 10, theHealey Willan Singers.offer a mixed programme in Toronto, whilethe Georgetown Bach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra perform variousworks by Vivaldi in a concert that also includes the composer’swell known Four Seasons. Similarly styled concerts are given by theVoices Chamber Choir (April 17) and the Tactus Vocal Ensemble(April 18-19). A combination hymn-sing and concert is given by theGlenview Choir and North Toronto Salvation Army Band (April 25).PETER MAHONSales Representative416-322-8000pmahon@trebnet.comwww.petermahon.comSpring also affords us an opportunityto see what the next generationof choral singers has been workingon this year. The Church of St.Simon-the-Apostle hosts a “YoungMusicians Showcase” on April 16,in a fundraising concert. The Viva!Youth Singers perform a free noonhourconcert (April 7). The TorontoSecondary School Music Teachers’Association presents band, string,and choral students in the “59th AnnualSounds of Toronto Concert”(April 15). The Oakville Children’sChoir hosts four other boys choirsin a concert entitled “Let the BoysMezzo Catherine Robbin.Sing!” (April 17). And the TorontoChildren’s Chorus performs “All Creations Sing,” featuring a rareappearance by revered mezzo-soprano Catherine Robbin (April 1).Finally, on April 17, “Singing Together: A Celebration of Cultures”assembles a panoply of choirs worth listing in their diversity:the Caribbean Chorale of Toronto; Toronto Maple Leaf Chorus;CroArte Chorale; Chinese Canadian Choir of Toronto; ScholaCantorum; Edelweiss Chor; Nayiri Armenian Choir; Coro San Marco;and Creative Notes. Such a concert, which could only take placein sprawling, multicultural Toronto, suggests that we already have apan-cultural choral Olympics of our own well under way.Benjamin Stein is a tenor and theorbist. He can be contacted at:choralscene@thewholenote.com.Toronto Welsh Male Voice Choir15th Anniversary Gala ConcertfeaturingMireille Asselin ~ SoloistSaturday, May 15th at 7:30 pmSt. Anne’s Anglican Church270 Gladstone Avenue, TorontoTickets:.00Phone: 416-410-2254 or1-877-410-2254 (905/705 only)www.ticketweb.ca or www.twmvc.comWilliam WoloschukArtistic DirectorJulie LovelessAccompanistT H E O N T A R I OT R I L L I U MF O U N D A T I O NApril 1 - May 7, 2010 www.thewholenote.com 19

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