8 years ago

Volume 20 Issue 4 - December 2014

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  • December
  • Toronto
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Your Survival Guide to

Your Survival Guide to the Season’s MessiahsDAVID PERLMANWhen it comes to our December issue,no topic it seems has the power toset the pigeon among the cats moreeffectively than the perennial popularityof Handel’s Messiah. Our choral columnistBen Stein simply states that he is going toassume that the readers of this column need nourging from him to find a Messiah performance(and then goes on to talk about an admittedlyinteresting array of other choral events over theholidays and beyond. Our early music columnistDave Podgorski is slightly less categoricalproffering that from his vantage point, Tafelmusik’ssing-along Messiah and Aradia’s DublinMessiah are the only two Messiahs in Torontohe thinks you need to see. (And like Stein goeson to talk about an equally interesting array ofother musical options.) Even CD reviewer HansDe Groot, after singing the praises of a new CDof Messiah from the Boston Handel and HaydnSociety (liberally laced with Canadian vocal andinstrumental talent, I might add) feels it necessary to add the remarkthat when asked to review the recording, his first thought was: AnotherMessiah – who needs it? (Before going on to say that in this case, hecouldn’t have been more wrong.)Our experts notwithstanding, there’s something about Herr Handel’s24-day opus that continues to captivate, year after year. This year wehave scoured the listings and come up with 32 performances by 20organizations. Five period-instrument groups account for ten performances.Nine modern instrument organizations offer a further 14. Twoorganizations serve up four performances accompanied by organ. Anda further four give single performances that include excerpts from theHerr Handel conducts the TafelmusikSing-along myself I can’t remember my first performanceof the Messiah (or even if it was a fullperformance). What I do remember is that somewherein some hall where a lot of singing wasgoing on in the usual “us and them” audiencesingerrelationship, there was a sudden thunderof scraping chairs as everyone in the audiencestood up and starting singing along at what up tillthen had been the usual. I remember that therewere enough repetitions of the word hallelujahthat it didn’t much matter whether I hit themall, and that when I sat down again, I was a morejoyful listener (for ever and ever) than when Istood up.I remember hobnobbing with one of theregion’s greatest boosters (and presenters) of theMessiah, Grand Philharmonic Choir’s formerlongtime conductor Howard Dyck in the lobbyof the Four Seasons Centre for the PerformingArts (aka the opera house). I think I said somethingabout wondering what the secret was to the enduring popularityof Handel’s Messiah. As best as I can remember, his reply in a stagewhisper was “It’s the music, stupid!”And of course he’s right. It’s the music. And more than that, it’s themusic’s ability to shift its shape and the size of its grandeur to accommodatealmost any combination of musical forces – the bigger, the better.So, pace Ben, Hans and Dave, here from the cheerful night crew atThe WholeNote is a handy guide to the various incarnations of Handel’sMessiah lurking among the almost 700 listings in this issue.Happy hunting.PERIOD INSTRUMENTSDec 06 07 Chorus Niagara. Messiah: A Niagara Holiday Tradition for 50years.Dec 17 18 19 20 Tafelmusik. Handel: Messiah.Dec 21 Tafelmusik. Handel: Sing-Along Messiah.Dec 20 Aradia Ensemble. Dublin Messiah.Dec 20 Guelph Chamber Choir. Messiah.MODERN ORCHESTRADec 05 Elmer Iseler Singers. Handel: Messiah.Dec 06 Grand Philharmonic Choir. Messiah.Dec 06 Orchestra Kingston. Messiah Sing-Along.Dec 07 Elora Festival and Singers. A Village Messiah.Dec 12 Cathedral Church of St. James. Handel’s Messiah.Dec 15 16 Uxbridge Messiah Singers. 18th biennial rendition of Handel’s Messiah.Dec 16 17 19 20 21 Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Special: Messiah.Dec 20 Musikay. Messiah.Dec 21 Grand River Chorus. Singalong Messiah.EXCERPTS OR PARTSDec 06 Etobicoke Centennial Choir. Sacred Traditions.Dec 07 St. Anne’s Anglican Church. Cantate: A Neighbourhood ChristmasConcert.Dec 13 Pax Christi Chorale. Children’s Messiah.Dec 13 Mississauga Symphony Orchestra. Hallelujah! Messiah and Friends.WITH ORGANDec 12 14 Cellar Singers. Messiah.Dec 14 15 Peterborough Singers. Handel’s Messiah.Most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at noon or 5:30 p.m.“The quality of performers for these free concertsalways amazes me.”MICHAEL VINCENT, MUSICAL TORONTO, 416-363-8231MEDIA SPONSORSEliana Cuevas. Photo: Karen Reeves. Creative: BT/A12 | December 1 2014 - February 7, 2015

PresentsSPLENDºURS oƒ~E EMPE|o R’S CHAPELGuest Director Lucas Harris leads The Toronto Consortjoined by cornettos, sackbuts, strings, keyboards,and virtuoso singers, in a lavish concert of musicfrom the17th century Viennese court.Friday, February 6, 8pmSaturday, February 7, 8pmTrinity St-Paul’s CentreJeanne Lamon Hall, 427 Bloor St. WestTickets - Call 416-964-6337 | December 1 2014 - February 7, 2015 | 13

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