6 years ago

Volume 5 Issue 7 - April 2000

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I I II. Choral Scene BY

I I II. Choral Scene BY LARRY BECKWITH Many choral anniversaries of one kind or another are being observed this year in and around Toronto. In last month's column I inadvertently lopped off five years 6f the Jubilate Singers life . They are actually celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, and offered a splendid all-Canadian programme in March in their relatively new home at Trinity-St. Paul's United Church. It's the Amadeus Choir's turn to pop a cork this month - their 25th anniversary - with a special gala performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion at the George Weston Recital Hall. Lydia Adams, who is herself in the midst of her 15th season as conductor of the choir, leads the choir and ,their special guests, the Elmer Iseler Singers, as well as the Bach Children's Chorus, the Guelph Youth Singers, orchestra and six top flight soloists. Troubling cancellations The Mississauga Choral Society, under Chrys Bentley's direction, are marking their 25th anniversary with special performances throughout the season. They present Bach's Mass in B Minor at Hammerson Hall in the middle of May. Unfortunately, they were forced .to can~el their February concert, a brilliant programme of works by Holman, Durufle and Bernstein, as well as a planned world premiere by a local composer David Passmore. This cancellation, and that of the Mendelssohn Choir's Penderecki/Buhr · programme in early March, brings up some troubling issues around the programming and marketing of new and unusual choral repertoire. · I know that I often write in these pages of the extra-musical benefits and rewards of choral music. It builds commu- . nity, it's fun, it promotes positive feelings of teamwork, discipline, ensemble and a myriad of other good stuff. But the central element is always the music, the work of art itself, which we clumsily and imperfectly attempt to interpret and enliven. There's a circle of essential players iii the world of music. Everything starts with the composer, of course, but equally as important.are the performers, the critical historians, and the audience. Any time that circle becomes lop-sided or breaks, then our musical world, or community, is weakened and in danger of losing its vitality. In our increasingly commercial approach to concert-giving, I feel that we lose sight of the creative act which is at the heart of any musical performance. The choral works of Bach, Palestrina, Handel, Brahms, Rachmaninoff and a whole host of others have given us the great monuments of western choral music. But as L : I' ·~ ·~-- Amadeus Choir, 1982: Barb Hodgins (bottom right) then the conductor is one of three 1982 members still active in the choir, along with Anne Parks.(third row, fourth from left) and Joan Andrews (second row, fourth from left) central as those works are, we must view them as only one of the pillars of our choral structure. Equally important must be the . creation and performance of new works and the constant re-evaluation of older works that have somehow fallen out of the standard repertoire. This is the formula that all but will those choirs have the nerve next time to keep pushing the envelope -- trying to balance our choral diet between the familiar, the unusual and the new in order to keep the circle strong and the .gifts circulating? serious choral organizations with high . · There are a great number of choral events, standards use to inform their programming. . this month. Notable among these are the In doing this, however, they count · Tafelmusik Mass in B Minor performances, on all of those essential players to hold up the Cellar Singers' offering of Dvorak's their end of the bargain. The composers · rarely-performed St. Ludmilla, Pax must deliver, the performers must rigor- Christi's Brahms Requiem, VocalPoint's ously learn new and unusual repertoire Mozart fest and Cantores Celestes' concert alongside the tried and true, the historians for literacy. must research, enlighten and teach and the Use the accompanying "choral quick picks" audience must open-mindedly and enthusias-. as a shortcut to the wealth of choral material tically participate in their crucial role as the scattered thoughout WholeNote's concert receivers of the gift! And the gift is the listings. work of art. .. the emotional and intellectual product of the artist's heart and mind that is . Larry Beckwith is the General Manager of held out to us all for our edification and Choirs Ontario. He can be reached by nourishment. . . ·phone at 923-1144 or fax at 929~0415. • Pretty heady stuff ... but that's what we're striving for. It is regrettable that a city the size of Toronto, which contains and nurtures such wonderful choirs as the . Letta A«clairM.Mus. Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the . Lyric Soprano Mississauga Choral Society, was unable last month to support these choirs in their more darin!l repertoire choices. Nobody's fault, Herman· Rombouts & friend~ Singers and Entertainers for all occasions A rich and 1varm voice combined JVith an impeccable presentation! *Available for operas, oratorios, recitals, orchestral wo.rks, etc ... · *Great packages for weddings, corporate events or. any special occasion.! * RCM registered teacher (private lessons for all ages I levels) *Also offering coaching in French diction (416) 630-5786

CHORAL QUICK PICKS April 1 7:30: Durham Philharmonic Choir (in Further Afield) April 1 8:00: Etobicoke Centennial Choir April 1 8:00: Tallis Choir April 1 8:00: MacMillan Singers; Concert Choir; Mendelssohn Youth Choir; school choirs April 1 8:00: Voices April 2 3:00: "Volunge" Lithuanian Choral Ensemble; Dainava Choir of Chicago; Exultate Choir of Cleveland April 2 3:00: Hart House Chorus April 2 4:00: Choir of St. Simonthe-Apostle April 2 8:00: Elmer lseler Singers; Rosedale United Church Choir April 7 7:30 & 9 2:30: All Saints' Anglican Church Choir; Schomberg Community Choir (in Further Afield) April 8 2:00: Amadeus Choir; Bach Children's Chorus; Guelph Youth Singers April 8 8:00: Annex Singers April 8 8:00: John Laing Singers; Choir of St. Jude's Anglican Church (in Further Afield) April 8 8:00: U of T Choirs April 9 3:00: Toronto Children's Chorus/ Victoria Scholars/ Mississauga Choral Society April 9 4:30: St. James' Cathedral Ghoral Society April 9 7:30: Toronto Cantata Chorus , April 9 8:00: Gentlemen & Boys of St. Simon's April 9 8:00: Choir of St. Martin -In-The-Fields; Choir of St. Giles Kingsway Presbyterian April 11 8:00: Toronto Mendelssohn Choir April 12 7:00, 13, 14, 15 8:00, 16 3:30: Tafelmusik Chamber Choir April 13 7:00: Dunbarton-Fairport United Church Senior Choir (in Further Afield) April 15 7:30 & 16 2:30: La Chapelle de Quebec; Elora Festival Singers April 15 7:30: Ori;ma Singers of ( t' Jj it•Y IVIH I PHOTOGRAPHY PROMOTIONAL PHOTOS Headshots · Groups Orchestras CD I Cassette Artwork I Photography 10% discount to WholeNote readers & CJRT listeners on all services. Cobourg (in Further Afield) April 15 8:00 (in Further Afield) & 16 3:00: Pax·Christi Chorale/ Menno Singers April 15 8:00: Vocal Point April 16 2:00: Toronto Children's Chorus; Los Angeles Children's Chorus April 16 3:00: Caernarfon Male Voice Choir of Wales April 16 4:00 & 8:00: Coro Giuseppe Verdi April 16 7:00: Senior Choir of 'Knox Presbyterian Church April 16 7:30: Christ Church Deer Park Senior Choir April 16 7:30: Northumberland Philharmonic Choir (in Further Afield) April 17 8:00: Glenn Gould Professional School Choir Continues, oal!e 17 A Major Music Co. • Digital Recording {studio or location) Studio 102 - 457 Richmond St. W. Toronto ph one 4 16-8 12-6701 fax 416-461-9099 • Digital Mixing • CD Mastering 416-693-4657 wire !Uusir ctrqamber 217 Danforth Ave. (416) 406-1641 Newand Used Classical and Jazz CDs WORLD CLASS DIGITAL ·RECORDING .. CD MASTERING & MANUFACTURING 15 "'.'Th~ engineering ~ ~ ; · special praise." Robert Franner, .· 1cal Music Magazine •J ~ . '11' '. .. the very essence / I : ;rr of fidelity." ( :, J Sound ~~~n~~i~~ '

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