8 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 4 - December 2013

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Beat by Beat | Early

Beat by Beat | Early MusicEarly EarwormGets the Bird?DAVID PODGORSKIIswear i’m not a Grinch. Really. Although I find getting readyfor Christmas to be the most stressful experience of the year, I domy best to get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy the holidays. Ibuy presents for family and friends. I help stuff and baste the turkey.I dutifully go to church every Christmas Day even though I’d probablyrather stay home and open presents. I buy egg nog at thegrocery store, even though I have no idea what it is. Ieven have the sweater, five sizes too big, that mygrandmother knit me for Christmas in 1995, andI will happily wear it again this Christmas, eventhough it hangs down well below my knees.I am prepared to make sacrifices inthe spirit of the holidays. This does not,however, extend far enough to makeme feel inclined to go see the Messiahagain. No Nutcracker either. I think I satthrough enough amateur productions ofthe Nutcracker to sing the whole scorefrom memory, and I could probably dothe same for the better part of the Messiahas well. I don’t mean to detract from thosewho enjoy these holiday traditions, but Ifind surviving the holidays stressful enoughwithout an incurable case of earworm accompanyingme everywhere I go, thank you very much.However, if you are so inclined to take in a Messiahthis holiday season, you can do no better than Tafelmusik’sTafelmusik’s ChristopherVerrette, seen here at U ofCalgary, joins Musiciansin Ordinary Jan 24.“Sing-Along Messiah” December 22 at 2pm in Massey Hall. Tafelmusikhas been doing this for 25 years. They know what they’re doing. IvarsTaurins will dress up as Handel. It will be fun. Bring your own score.Or, if you’d rather let someone else do the singing, catch their otherperformances and hear soloists Emma Kirkby, Laura Pudwell, ColinBalzer, and Tyler Duncan sing it for you in Koerner Hall December 18to 21. If you prefer a more authentic version, you can also head downto the Glenn Gould Studio at 8pm on December 21 to check out theAradia Ensemble’s Dublin Messiah, based on Handel’s original versioncomposed for (ahem) Easter in 1742. Both of these productions arevery good. I highly recommend them, although I won’t be there.Delayed onset: Alternately, if you are trying to delay the onset ofChristmas for as long as possible, you might want to check out acouple of concerts in December that are in no way Christmas-themed.The Rezonance Baroque Ensemble will be presenting chamber worksby Telemann and Erlebach as well as solo works by J.S. Bach in anafternoon concert at the Tranzac on December 8 at 3pm. If you’re thesort of person who is more inclined to look for a pub on a Sundayafternoon than a concert hall, you’ll find the cozy and welcomingatmosphere of the Tranzac very appealing. (Also in the interest offull disclosure I will mention that I will be playing harpsichord inthis concert. Please do not heckle unless I’ve given you a bad reviewrecently.) The La Mode Quartet will also be giving a concert worthinvestigating that weekend on December 6 in Bloor Street UnitedChurch at 8pm with chamber works by Rameau and Guillemain aswell as one of the Telemann Paris Quartets, which are some of themost beautiful (and difficult) chamber works of the 18th century. Andanyone observing Advent and wanting to take in a concert mightwant to check out the Musicians in Ordinary’s concert for the Adventseason, featuring Magnificats by Vivaldi and Telemann at St. Basil’sChurch December 3 at 7:30.Involuntary vac: If you feel like seeing a concert in the New Year, bewarned — January is an extended (and largely involuntary) vacation forbaroque musicians on the Toronto scene. Thankfully, the Musiciansin Ordinary have put together a program for New Year’s Day thatwill round out the holidays quite enjoyably. This concert features theFrench Baroque composer Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, achild prodigy and well-known composer of cantatas and solo instrumentalworks during her lifetime, and the Musicians in Ordinary willbe performing her cantata Le Sommeil d’Ulisse (The Sleep of Ulysses).You can catch them at 2pm at Heliconian Hall.Two Toronto-based baroque musicians who won’t be taking a vacationthis winter are Daniel Taylor and Jeanne Lamon. Both Lamonand Taylor have teamed up to put together a performance of HenryPurcell’s Dido and Aeneas, which ranks as Purcell’s best-known work,a 17th century English classic, and the only major English-languageopera composed before 1900 that is still performed today. (There isperhaps one other — John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, which I’m stillwaiting to see performed in town.) Taylor and Lamon aredirecting the Schola Cantorum and the Theatre of EarlyMusic for three performances of Dido and Aeneasat the Trinity College Chapel January 17 to19.(If you miss this program, you can still catchanother Theatre of Early Music concert aweek later, as they will perform works byGibbons, Purcell, Tallis and Handel in thesame hall on January 26.Late Jan: The concert season will pickup later in the month of January as theMusicians in Ordinary (who, I have tosay, are really starting to emerge as thehardest-working musicians in Torontoin the next couple of months) have yetanother performance, this time featuringviolinist Chris Verrette playing five of theBiber Rosary Sonatas. Verrette, in betweenregular concerts with Tafelmusik, has beenworking his way through all 15 of these sacredinstrumental works this season, and he plays themwith remarkable sensitivity and grace. Definitely try to hearhim if you can — this concert is at Madden Hall on January 24.Finally, Tafelmusik returns with a program that features someexceptional chamber and orchestral music by J.S. Bach. “IntimatelyBach” will be a great chance to hear Bach’s Triple Concerto forflute, violin, and harpsichord BWV1044. It’s scored the same asthe Brandenburg Concerto No.5 and is not as famous, but is easilyas great a piece of music as the more famous Brandenburg. SoloistGrégoire Jeay will join Tafelmusik to play flute, and the orchestra willalso play Bach’s Violin Concerto in G BWV1056 and his Trio Sonatain C BWV529. Tafelmusik will be back at Trinity-St Paul’s Centrefor this concert January 29 to February 1 at 7 pm, with a matinee onFebruary 2.David Podgorski is a Toronto-based harpsichordist, musicteacher and a founding member of Rezonance.He can be contacted at | December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014

NªVIDªD:Christmas Music from LatinAmerica and SpainThis is the liveliest Christmas concert in town,a fiesta of early music from the Spanish-speakingnations on both sides of the Atlantic.Friday, dec. 13 & Saturday, dec. 14, 8pmSunday, dec. 15, 3:30pmTrinity-St. Paul’s Centre,Jeanne Lamon Hall, 427 Bloor St. WestticketS - • caLL 416-964-6337OnLine at tOrOntOcOnSOrt.OrgKEVIN MALLON ConductsTHIRTEEN STRINGS Christmas CandlelightDEC 3, OTTAWAORCHESTRA TORONTO DebutDEC 8, TORONTOARADIA Handel's Dublin MessiahDEC 21, TORONTOTHUNDER BAY SYMPHONYWho Killed Mozart?JAN 23, THUNDER BAYARADIA/VOICEBOXOPERA IN CONCERTRameau’sHippolyte et AriceFEB 3, TORONTOHANDELʼSDUBLINMESSIAHARADIA ENSEMBLEKevin Mallon, Director8PM SATURDAY DECEMBER 21GLENN GOULD STUDIOLeslie Fagan, Soprano | Marion Newman, Mezzo SopranoNils Brown, Tenor | David Pike, BassTickets: | Seniors/Students at December 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014 | 27

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