8 years ago

Volume 18 Issue 4 - December 2012

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  • Toronto
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Peterborough Singers.balthazar dennerrobert boudreauWHAT’S ON @TheWholeNoteMessiah MadnessThis year, Ontario’s Messiah seasonlasts 24 days — precisely the time it tookHandel to complete the original score’s259 pages — and our listings include26 ensembles presenting more than 50performances in all manner of styles, invenues from Kingston to Waterford. Onthe WholeNote blog, our very own staffer,Toronto-based musician Adam Weinmannwrites about the many variables toconsider when searching for a version ofthe Messiah that inspires. Here is an excerptfrom that article.Larger scale productions with a bigger chorus,such as the Toronto Symphony with theToronto Mendelssohn Choir (December 18,19, 21–23) the Kingston Symphony with theKingston Choral Society (December 13) andthe Ontario Philharmonic with the AmadeusChoir(December 18,19 and 21), promiseexhilarating moments of grandeur and aspine-tingling “Hallelujah Chorus.” Certainlygroups such as the Royal Choral Society andthe Mormon Tabernacle Choir have createda tradition of mammoth productions of thepiece and composers following Handel havere-orchestrated the Messiah to include a largerorchestra and beefier choir. Perhaps themost extravagant example of this traditionwas the performance of the Messiah held atthe former Crystal Palace in London, featuringa choir of 2,000 and an orchestra of 500!And why not? Handel himself stated “he sawall heaven before him” while composing the“Hallelujah Chorus.”It is important to point out, however, thatthe Messiah was first performed under moremodest circumstances. The first performanceemployed a choir of only 32 men and boysfrom two church choirs in Dublin. In the pastfew decades, there has been increased interestin smaller, more authentic productions ofthe work. The perfect example is the “DublinMessiah,” the Aradia ensemble’s presentationof Handel’s original score (December 22)with a chamber choir and period instrumentorchestra. Tafelmusik (December 19 to 22,with its “Sing-Along Messiah” December 23),Guelph Chamber Choir (December 22) andArcady (various dates and locations) alsoemploy a much smaller ensemble and periodinstruments for their Messiah performances,and more intimate Messiahs will alsobe presented by the Oakville Ensemble, EloraFestival Singers and Bach Elgar Choir.—Adam WeinmannThe full version of this storycan be found at!Are you ready?Can you handle this?As you may have noticed, we havedevoted a lot of ink to the Messiah andthe 26 ensembles presenting more than50 performances of this beloved oratorio.Be sure to go back to page 23 to find outthe details of those performances. We arevery excited to announce that we will begiving away pairs of tickets to Messiahproductions being presented by Arcady,Aradia Ensemble, Bach Elgar Choir,Elora Enter Festival, to win a Guelph New Music Chamber Alliance Choir,Kindred Passport Spirits simply Orchestra, by emailing Ontario us atPhilharmonic, Peterborough with Singers, theTafelmusik subject line and “WIN Toronto WIN WIN!!!” Symphony TheOrchestra. New Music We Alliance will be Passport revealing grants thedetails you of access the contest to a show via social from each media. ofTo the increase following your presenters: chances Arraymusic,of winning,register Continuum at, Contemporary Music, like us onFacebook, Esprit Orchestra, and follow New us Music on Twitter! Concerts,Spectrum, Toy Piano Composers.MUSIC & THE MOVIES | Paul EnnisAlexander Neef Introduces“The Death of Maria Malibran”On November 25, The WholeNote’sAssociate Editor and “Music & the Movies”blogger Paul Ennis attended the TIFF BellLightbox screening of “The Death of MariaMalibran,” part of their Werner Schroeterrestrospective. The screening was introducedby the general director of theCanadian Opera Company, Alexander Neef.Here’s an excerpt from the blog, which canbe found in its entirety at The evening began promisingly as Lightboxartistic director Noah Cowan spun the conversationin the direction of Schroeter’soperatic career with the telling observationthat Neef (a year before coming to the COC)had been a part of the Paris Opera in 2007when that company staged Schroeter’s productionof Tosca.“Schroeter was more of a presence [than adirector],” Neef recalled. “He seemed quitefar removed from earthly proceedings.” Mostof the staging was done by his assistants,although Neef added that Schroeter was a littleless abstract than in his films because hehad to follow the narrative structure Puccinihad put in place. Neef observed: “It’s reallyfascinating how Schroeter uses music,” specificallythe Brahms Alto Rhapsody thatsupports the first 15 minutes of the 1972 filmwe were about to see.“I’ve never seen any director find such compellingimagery,” he continued. “He reallysucceeds in translating music into images.The fascination really comes from the emotionalcontent of music.” He went on to pointout that Schroeter’s focus was not to makethe narration the focus of his operas, resultingin “what North Americans call Euro trash.”When Cowan credited TIFF Cinemathequeguru James Quandt for noting that whenthe characters in Maria Malibran weren’tlip-synching but rather engaging in “staringcontests,” Neef jumped right in, callingQuandt’s observation quite perceptive, “as ifthey were thinking the music.Full story at December 1 – February 7, 2013

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