1 year ago

Volume 27 Issue 6 | April 15 - May 27, 2022

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  • Thewholenotecom
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  • Theatre
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  • April
Vol 27 No. 6. Here’s some of it: “Growing up in a house full of riches” – the Kanneh-Masons; “As if the music knows what it is doing” – J.S. Bach; “Better experienced than described” – Women from Space; “Stories set in prehistoric times are notoriously difficult to pull off without invoking nervous laughter” – Orphan Song; “To this day when I look at an audience, there’s some part of me that sees a whole bunch of friendly teddy bears wearing bow-ties” – Boris Brott. …. etc


PAUL BICA The Karl Wilhelm-built mechanical-action organ at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Toronto Also on May 14 is a two-part complete performance of the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. Featuring violinists Julia Wedman, Patricia Ahern, Valerie Gordon and Cristina Zacharias, these two concerts will showcase the heights of the Baroque violin and some of its most demanding repertoire. Described by Abberger as “intense” and “heavy,” yet featuring a wide range of characters and affects, these drama-laden works are some of Bach’s most sublime and ingenious writing, demonstrating his incredible skill, not only as a contrapuntalist and dramatist, but also in his understanding of the violin and its capabilities. Day 3: May 15 The 2022 Bach Festival experience continues May 15 with an afternoon public lecture by Butt titled “Bach the Dramatist”, in which attendees will dive deep into Bach’s dramatic writing in his oratorio settings, particularly in relation to the Easter and Ascension oratorios, which will be presented in concert later that day. Bach’s ability to develop ideas, manipulate motifs and convey intense and passionate emotions through musical means transcends time, and continues to resound with contemporary audiences. Butt’s lecture will undoubtedly give insight into the “why” and “how” that happens, via the scores that will be realized later that day. This year’s Festival concludes with complete performances, led by Butt, of the Easter and Ascension oratorios. The Easter Oratorio, complete with trumpets, timpani and a joyful dance rhythm running throughout, was first presented on Easter Sunday in 1725 with an opening that pierced the dark mood of the end of the Easter Holy Week. Beginning with an overture that, according to Abberger, “is one of Bach’s greatest orchestral creations,” this large scale work will feature choir, orchestra and legendary tenor Charles Daniels. Also on the program is Bach’s Ascension Oratorio, a compilation of several biblical sources, free poetry and chorales, which was first performed in 1735. With expansive choral movements and enthralling instrumental writing, this pairing of works is guaranteed to excite everyone in attendance, whether they be Bach neophytes or seasoned early music veterans. How to Listen The Toronto Bach Festival is live and in-person this year, with all concerts and events taking place at Eastminster United Church on the Danforth. (The single exception is John Butt’s solo recital at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, chosen for its high-quality, tracker-action pipe organ.) Tickets are available for individual events as well as comprehensive Festival passes, which provides access to all performances and the “Bach the Dramatist” lecture. When discussing whether to take in the entire Festival or selecting individual performances, Abberger says that the Festival is designed as a comprehensive series of events. He encourages people “to take in the whole […] Festival as a weekend experience.” This is not a mandatory requirement, of course, but by doing so, concertgoers will receive a thorough and wide-ranging overview of Bach and his music, including the explosive energy of the oratorios, the drama and range Eastminster United Church, Toronto of the organ works, and the incomparable beauty of the solo violin and orchestral material. At a time when the world is slowly emerging from a prolonged period of isolation, only to find ourselves in a time fraught with global conflict, heightened stress, and individual and societal anxieties, events such as the Toronto Bach Festival, with its world-class roster of performers and opportunities for collective gathering will play a vital role in reestablishing the community, togetherness and “common humanity” characteristic of healthy city life. All worthy goals, and along the way you will be opening yourself to some of the most sublime music ever written. Matthew Whitfield is a Toronto-based harpsichordist and organist. GREGS SOUTHERN ONTARIO 14 | April 15 - May 27, 2022

An agency of the Government of Ontario Un organisme du gouvernement de l’Ontario Photo by DMarco Borggreve Bach B-Minor Mass Buy your tickets today Masaaki Suzuki guest director Joanne Lunn soprano Tim Mead countertenor Thomas Hobbs tenor Jonathon Adams baritone Tafelmusik Chamber Choir Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra Masaaki Suzuki directs Bach’s profound work of transcendent spirituality at Massey Hall. LIVE CONCERT May 5, 2022 7:30pm Massey Hall DIGITAL CONCERT (LIVESTREAM) May 6, 2022 7:30pm Online concert hall MEDIA PARTNER

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