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Volume 25 Issue 4 - December 2019 / January 2020

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  • December
  • January
  • Toronto
Welcome to our December/January issue as we turn the annual calendar page, halfway through our season for the 25th time, juggling as always, secular stuff, the spirit of the season, new year resolve and winter journeys! Why is Mozart's Handel's Messiah's trumpet a trombone? Why when Laurie Anderson offers to fly you to the moon you should take her up on the invitation. Why messing with Winterreisse can (sometimes) be a very good thing! And a bumper crop of record reviews for your reading (and sometimes listening) pleasure. Available in flipthrough here right now, and on stands commencing Thursday Nov 28. See you on the other side!

December can be daunting, full of parties, planning, shopping, and decorating, so make some time for yourself and take in a concert amid the seasonal hustle and bustle. I encourage you to explore the vibrant musical offerings that are on display this December and January, whether hearing Schütz’s take on a classic biblical story, discovering the unknown masterworks of Corelli and Rossi, or any of the other listings in this double issue of The WholeNote. Happy Christmas, Hanu kkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus and New Year – see you in February! Until then, keep in touch at EARLY MUSIC QUICK PICKS !! DEC 9, 7:30PM: University of St. Michael’s College. Palestrina’s Missa Gabriel Archangelus. St. Basil’s Church, University of St. Michael’s College, 50 St. Joseph St. Not only did he save polyphonic church music from the clutches of a Vatican ban, but Palestrina also wrote some of the most stunning and beautiful choral music in the history of the genre. This less-known work celebrating the Archangel Gabriel is sure to please the ears of all who favour the sound of Renaissance polyphony. !! JAN 24, 7:30PM: University of Toronto Faculty of Music. “Early Music Concerts: Music in the Castle of Heaven.” Trinity College Chapel, 6 Hoskin Ave. This stunning concert will not only feature cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach, the Master himself, but also the extraordinary Bach singers Charles Daniels and Peter Harvey. Led by Daniel Taylor in the scenic and acoustically sublime Trinity College Chapel, this performance will surely be a reason to forge out into a cold winter’s night. !! JAN 25, 8PM: Tafelmusik. “More Bach Motets.” Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, Charles Daniels 427 Bloor St. West. One of Canada’s finest interpreters of Bach’s choral works, Ivars Taurins and the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir present a selection of Bach’s motets interwoven with movements from his suites for solo cello, played by Keiran Campbell. Much like the concert above, this performance is well worth braving the elements for, as there is perhaps no other music on earth that warms the soul as thoroughly as Bach’s. Matthew Whitfield is a Toronto-based harpsichordist and organist. Beat by Beat | Choral Scene Handel’s Messiah and the Glee Effect MENAKA SWAMINATHAN Along with gift exchanges and eggnog giggles with loved ones, listening to Handel’s Messiah has become a Christmas staple for me. Especially in recent years, I repeatedly listen to this masterpiece of a work, my interest for it never wavering. Even after singing it several times and watching a number of performances, I have yet to tire of the soaring harmonies and elegant solos. Grand River Philharmonic: This year, I’m looking forward to Messiah as performed, in an annual tradition going back decades, by the Grand Philharmonic Choir in Kitchener. With orchestral accompaniment by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the concert will be conducted by Mark Vuorinen and will feature soloists, soprano Mireille Asselin, mezzo-soprano Maude Brunet, tenor Asitha Tennekoon and baritone Samuel Chan. Choosing to see this particular version is part of my quest to broaden my knowledge of the choirs around me, and attend concerts outside of the Greater Toronto Area. Their Messiah will be held at the Centre in the Square in Kitchener, Ontario on December 7. Ever the one to want to introduce the Messiah to new ears, I have gifted a ticket to a friend of mine who (aside from knowing the “Hallelujah” chorus) has never listened to the work in its entirety. Whether like me you make Messiah attendance a Christmas staple, or feel that listening to it once was fantastic but also enough, you may be tempted to rethink things, based on the range of Messiah performances among the Christmas concert listings provided by The WholeNote this season. Especially if you are willing to open yourself up to different interpretations of this beloved work, Messiah is kept alive, and constantly renewed, by composers and directors making it their own. Wayne Gilpin Singers: Snap along if you will, as the Wayne Gilpin Singers hold an annual Christmas concert where they deliver a jazzy rendition of the work at the Evangelist Anglican Church in Kitchener ‘TIS WINTER NOW Tuesday, December 17, 2019 @ 7:30pm Grace Church on-the-Hill 300 Lonsdale Road, Toronto, ON M4V 1X4 Indulge in the sweet nostalgia of the season! Enjoy a memorable evening of festive carols and tales, narrated by Stratford and Shaw Festival’s Benedict Campbell. Robert Cooper, Artistic Director Elise Naccarato, Apprentice Conductor Christopher Dawes, Accompanist Tickets -. For information call 416-530-4428 or visit VERN & ELFRIEDA HEINRICHS SANDRA PARSONS ROBERT SHERRIN PETER SIDGWICK 32 | December 2019January 2020

Electric Messiah, Soundstreams 2017 on December 7 at 8pm. As the choir describes it, they will deliver “beautiful melodies, rocking sax solos, [and] edgy new jazz arrangements of Handel’s Messiah, courtesy of resident composer and accompanist Andrew Gilpin.” Having never witnessed such a performance, I had trouble imagining it being done, so I used YouTube to hear a variety of jazz renditions, and I think the Gilpin Singers will deliver a treat of a concert. Using YouTube to look up different arrangements of the Messiah is a real eye-opener! Not just jazz, but also soulful renditions by gospel choirs and solo artists. Soundstreams: Meanwhile, Soundstreams’ annual Electric Messiah, billed as an “electroimprov reimagining of Handel’s masterpiece,” groups four soloists and band “combining jazz, gospel, blues, hip-hop, classical, world music and hypnotic dance.” Directed by Rob Kempson, the evening will also feature DJ SlowPitchSound and a dancer by the name of Lybido. Tagged as “the familiar becomes fresh,” these performances are at the Drake Underground in downtown Toronto, Dec 10, 11 and 12 at 8pm. On YouTube, there is a short video giving a taste of what to expect. It is a performance you will not want to miss. Pax Christi: If you are looking to introduce children to the work, there is also Messiah for the little ones! “Children’s Messiah” is an entertaining family-friendly night out with the members of Pax Christi Chorale, where children are called forward to engage with soloists and the orchestra, and “simple narration brings the story to life in young imaginations.” Singing along: Just because you are in the audience does not mean you cannot also experience singing it yourself. Both the Bach Elgar Choir and Tafelmusik Chamber Choir present a welcoming environment where lovers of Messiah can sing their hearts out. Under the direction of Alexander Cann, with soloists soprano Sara Schabas, counter-tenor Richard Cunningham, tenor Ernesto Ramirez and baritone Dion Mazerolle, the Bach Elgar Choir will sing at Melrose United Church on December 8 at 3pm. And along with Tafelmusik’s more formal concert performances of Messiah (December 17 to 20 at Koerner Hall), on December 21 at 2pm, the organization continues an unbroken 34-year tradition of 2019-2020: The Fellowship of Early Music Great seats start at only ! 416-964-6337 | COUNTRYSIDE Schütz’s and CHRISTMAS COURT OCTOBER STORY 25 & 26 at 8pm Artistic Direction by Katherine Hill, with Emilyn Stam DEC. 13 & 14 at 8pm | DEC. 15 at 3:30pm Whether Artistic enjoyed Direction in refined by David 16th-century Fallis courts or in today’s traditional music scene, the undeniable appeal Celebrate the season with one of the brightest of French music has endured through the centuries! We musical jewels of early-Baroque Germany: Heinrich kick off the season whirling and twirling through the Schütz’s The Christmas Story. We welcome acclaimed English popular “voix tenor de Charles ville” songs Daniels and in exquisite the role courtly of the music Evangelist, of Claude Le with Jeune a and gloriously his contemporaries, colourful band combined of singers, recorders, with the magic cornetti, of guest sackbuts, traditional violins, fiddler violas and dancer gamba, Emilyn Stam. keyboards, and theorbos. December 2019January 2020 | 33

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