7 years ago

Volume 16 Issue 6 - March 2011

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  • Toronto
  • April
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Beat by Beat / Early

Beat by Beat / Early MusicRe LocationSIMONE DESILETSLocations might be taken as a theme that loosely ties this month’sevents together, in an oblique sort of way. To start with,Toronto is the lucky location of several appearances by visitingartists I’d like to tell you about.On March 12, The King’s Singers appear at the RoyalConservatory’s Koerner Hall. This six-voice male ensemble fromEngland hardly needs an introduction; their unique blend ofBritish humour have ensured their fame around the world for over40 years. I myself fondly remember a performance of theirs at U ofT Faculty of Music in November 1973 – I unearthed the program(this is true), which reveals that they did Renaissance motets byVictoria, Jacob Handl and Byrd, Italian madrigals and Frenchchansons from the 16th and 17th centuries, 20th century works andsome lighter fare too. Of course, no one in that early group stillremains in the present incarnation some 37 years later; but it’s surethat the versatility and aplomb which have always characterizedtheir performances have remained constant through all the changesin personnel. At Koerner Hall their artistry and expertise in earlymusic will be evident in works by Bennet, Tomkins, Palestrina andStriggio; more contemporary works are on the programme as well.A concert not strictly of early music but of a world premiereinspired by the music of 12th century musician and mystic Hildegardvon Bingen takes place at St. Anne’s Church on March 23. It bringsto Toronto an extraordinary women’s vocal trio from Norway, TrioMediæval, who, with The Toronto Consort, will perform JamesRolfe’s new commissioned work Breathe. This presentation ofCorsica’s Barbara Furtuna (“Cruel Fate”)comes to Toronto Consort ...Soundstreams offers an added bonus on March 21: a free “Salon”at the Gardiner Museum, at which you can hear Trio Mediævalperform excerpts and talk about Rolfe’s composition.The pure and expressive voice of Daniel Taylor, one of theworld’s most sought-after countertenors, will grace the Tafelmusikstage in performances from March 24 to 27 (Trinity-St. Paul’s12 thewholenote.comMarch 1 - April 7, 2011

... as does Montreal-based Constantinople.PHOTO CAROLINE HAYEURChurch) and again on March 29 (Toronto Centre for the Arts). Hisis an amazingly busy life – his website tells us “Professor of Voiceat the Conservatoire de musique in Montreal and at the Universityof Ottawa, Adjunct Professor at McGill, visiting scholar at theUniversity of Victoria, Artist-in-Residence at the Banff Centre,Artistic Director and Conductor of the Theatre of Early Music,which performs over 30 concerts every year all over the world” –and this description doesn’t even mention his many appearancesas recording artist and performer in opera, oratorio and concerts.In Toronto he’ll be singing Bach (the ravishing solo Cantata 170Vergnügte Ruh – Contented Rest) as well as virtuosic Italian arias.Each season, The Toronto Consort introduces a guest ensembleMontreal-based Constantinople, an instrumental ensemble inspiredby musical traditions of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, theMediterranean and the Middle East; and Barbara Furtuna, aremarkable male vocal quartet from Corsica that specializes in thecenturies-old traditions of polyphonic Coriscan singing. To listento Constantinople is to travel back to ancient places and times whenarts and philosophy; to listen to Barbara Furtuna (the name means“cruel fate”) is to hear stories of the long, troubled and impassionedhistory of their island. Together, they’ll take the audience on avoyage from the heart of the Mediterranean where lies the island ofCorsica, to ancient Persia and medieval Europe. “Canti di a terra” ispresented on April 1 and 2 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Church.Other locations – Sweden, Leipzig, restoration London, coffeehouses,ladies’ boudoirs – are also within reach, and onceagain there’s too much to do justice to:Meeting friends for coffee is always an enjoyable way to spenda couple of hours. You can do this in the 18th century Europeanway on March 4, as Baroque Music Beside the Grange invites youto Heliconian Hall for “The Coffeehouse Collective,” music byTelemann, Bach and others, played in an informal but attentiveatmosphere with an array of instrumental colours, and servedwith coffee and cider. An hour-long version of this concert willbe presented on March 6 in the lovely acoustic of Church of theHoly Trinity, the latest in Toronto Early Music Centre’s “MusicallySpeaking” series.As lutenist/guitarist John Edwards explains, pre-RevolutionFrance was an era “where men like the encyclopaedist Diderot,liberal thinkers like Rousseau and even a pre-imperial Napoleonwould gather, literally, at the foot of the bed of great ladies. Afterthe Revolution was progressing, chamber music would have offereda perfect diversion.” Music that might well be heard then isperformed on March 12 by The Musicians In Ordinary in a concert with soprano Hallie Fishel, baroque guitarist JohnEdwards and guest violinist Christopher Verrette.Also on March 12, you can hear a touch of Sweden at VictoriaMarch 1 - April 7, 2010 13

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