8 years ago

Volume 20 Issue 7 - April 2015

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  • April
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ALEXANDRAPatricia Rozariochildren’s choirs are a main entry point of apprenticeship both formusicians and choral music audiences, and composers who writefor them know that their music must be visceral, energetic, andabove all, fun.Unfortunately, choral audiences also have a tendency to stick withwhat they know, and our preference for familiarity and adherenceto the cult of the masterwork means that a good deal of interestingmusic goes unheard. We’re willing to listen to minutiae and fragmentsfrom our musical gods – our love of Mozart’s final musical sketchbook,the Requiem in D Minor, proves that. But coming up this month is anexciting revival of a work by a composer who is familiar to us for onlya few pages of his entire musical oeuvre.Parry’s Judith: Anyone who has attended a Last Night of the Promsconcert knows Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry’s Jerusalem, andanyone who’s sung in a church choir knows his “Dear Lord andFather of Mankind.” Parry’s name alone situates him firmly in the19th century, a time when British imperialism dominated politics andculture. But isn’t that the kind of facile dismissal I deplored above? Ifmusic of 18th-century Austria still speaks to us, what about Britishmusic from closer to our time, and from a culture that many of us stillunderstand and share?Parry (1848–1918) had a distinguished career as composer, essayistand teacher. Among other achievements, he wrote some of the firstarticles in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, a resourcethat remains central to music research today. Unlike composers suchas Vaughan Williams and Holst, whose music seems to have been ableto bridge the gap between the Victorian/Edwardian eras and our own,Parry’s has been ignored or dismissed since his death, surfacing mostoften in the types of settings mentioned above.On May 3 at Koerner Hall, Toronto conductor/composer StephanieMartin and her ensemble, the Pax Christi Chorale, are undertakingthe North American premiere of a neglected oratorio by Parry, Judith.First performed to great success in 1888, it tells the biblical story of theheroic Jewish heroine who saves her people by her daring assassinationof the Assyrian general Holofernes.Martin’s interest in the piece turned into something of a questwhen she discovered that the orchestral parts for Judith were notavailable from the original publisher. Assembling a research teamand enlisting the help of British Parry scholar Jeremy Dibble, Martincreated a performing edition of the score on her own. You can readher thoughts about Judith and its recovery process on her blog, at thisaddress: Martinand the Pax Christi Chorale have worked incredibly hard on thishistoric project – which will also include the first full recording of thework – and I truly hope that they get a strong audience turnout for theperformance.Tavener Explored: Another British composer is celebrated inToronto this month – John Tavener, who died in 2013, almost acentury after Parry. On April 16 Soundstreams presents “Song forAthene,” a concert devoted to Tavener’s works, that will also featureRobert Cooper, CM, Artistic DirectorEdward Moroney, AccompanistGreg Rainville, Assistant ConductorTickets: ; senior; studentwww.orpheuschoirtoronto.com416 BMO530 Financial 4428 GroupFinancial GroupOrpheus Choir’s season sponsorBMOFinancial GroupThis concert supported by a project grantfrom Canada Council for the Ontario government agencyun organisme du gouvernement de l’OntarioTouch the Earth LightlyMay 9, 2015 7:30 p.m.Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale RoadReflect on humanity’s relationship with the Earth through the Torontopremieres of Ten Thousand Rivers of Oil by Canadian composerLeonard Enns, and Sunrise: A Symphonic Mass by therenowned Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo. Experiencein sound and images a moving and thought-provokingjourney connecting life with the planet on which we live.With the Talisker Players24 | April 1 - May 7, 2015

an Ontario government agencyun organisme du gouvernement de l’Ontariomusic of Jonathan Harvey and Canada’s own Christos Hatzis. DavidFallis will lead Choir 21, and Elise Bradley will conduct the TorontoChildren’s Chorus. The concert is notable both for the special participationof British soprano Patricia Rozario, a musician who is especiallyassociated with Tavener, and for whom he wrote over 30 works,and for the North American premiere of Tavener’s setting of the MissaBrevis text. For more information the Judith concert, I think this exploration of Tavener is anevent not to be missed this month. Parry, once celebrated, may bere-emerging from the shadows. Tavener, recently deceased, is greatlypopular in choral circles. What will be his fate in the century to come?Once again, I’m uneasily aware of having neglected many excellentconcerts while focusing on just two. Please have a look in the listingsand stay informed about what’s taking place this month. In May I willtake an in-depth look at the art of a cappella singing.JudithA grand oratoriofrom Britain’sVictorian master,C.H.H. ParryNorth American PremiereBenjamin Stein is a Toronto tenor and lutenist. He can be contactedat choralscene@thewholenote. Visit his website at Adams, Conductorand Artistic DirectorTickets; $ 40, Seniors $ 35, Students $ 15Reserve now: 416-217-0537Saturday, April 18, 2015at 4:00 pmChrist Church Deer ParkIsland Lore:The Mystic TideExperience music that will stir your soul, by island-basedcomposers such as McGlynn and Stanford (Ireland),Childs (New Zealand), Willcocks (England) and others.Hear how rugged coastlines and bountiful oceanscan inspire the creation of beautiful music!Canada Council for the ArtsConseil des Arts du Canada416-217-0537 www.elmeriselersingers.comSeries SponsorPETER MAHONSales Representative416-322-8000pmahon@trebnet.comwww.petermahon.comPax Christi Chorale & OrchestraStephanie Martin, Artistic DirectorKoerner Hall box office PaxChristiChorale.orgLYDIA ADAMS, Conductor & Artistic Director2014 • 2015 TORONTO CONCERT SERIES40Of Heart and Tide:The Gift of WATERGuest Host BEN HEPPNER, C.C., AMADEUS CHOIR HONORARY PATRONSpecial Guest ROBERTA BONDAR, O.C., O.ONT., M.D., PH.D.Sat. April 11 th , 2015 • 7:30 pmJoy of Singing:The Magic of Song!Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, Jeanne Lamon Hall 427 Bloor St. W., Toronto(1 block west of Spadina)Presenting works by Whitacre,Schafer, Henderson and featuring aworld premiere by Sid Robinovitch:“Of Heart and Tide”, commissioned inmemory of Geoffrey and Irene (Gene)Parsons. Breathtaking photos byDr. Roberta Bondar on the theme ofwater intertwined with the beautifulsinging of the Amadeus Choir.A multi-media event not to be missed!For tickets callAmadeus Choir416-446-0188Shannon MercerDavid MenziesSunday, May 3, 2015, 3pmJillian YemenMichael YorkKoerner Hall, TorontoFEATURING:Amadeus Choir ofGreater TorontoLydia Adams, conductorChristopher Lee, fluteEd Reifel, percussionShawn Grenke, pianoConcert SponsorSandraParsonsTICKETS-COMING NEXT:Earth Songs, Love SongsSun. May 24, 2015 • 4PMFor tickets call Toronto Centre for the Arts/Ticketmaster toll-free April 1 - May 7, 2015 | 25

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