TSO Messiah via Mozart

Leslie Barcza, barczablog. Tonight I heard something different from the Toronto Symphony. The TSO’s annual Messiah in Roy Thomson Hall with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir may seem like a ritual, but it actually varies from year to year. Every time we get different soloists; more on that in a moment. And some years they vary the actual musical score that’s being played. Handel’s Messiah has been presented in many versions, using many performance philosophies even if you don’t go for something radical like Soundstreams’ “Electric Messiah” or Andrew Davis’s muscular re-orchestration that’s been done a few times at the TSO. This year we’re hearing Mozart’s take on Messiah.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Mozartian Messiah Is A Unique Experience

Joseph So, Ludwig van Toronto. While one could quibble with the musical structure of the Mozartian version, it remains enjoyable, to be sure. Alexander Shelley made an auspicious TSO debut, leading the orchestra in a very crisp reading of the score. He’s a fine conductor, and let’s hope he’ll be back. His fast tempo, together with the cuts in this version, means that the performance only lasted two and a half hours including intermission. ... And, one can count on the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir to deliver each and every time. It was at its best in “Surely, He hath borne our griefs,” offering up thrilling tone and impressive power.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

‘Messiah’ gets a Mozart makeover from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

John Terauds, Toronto Star. The TSO is not presenting George Frideric Handel’s original 1741 “Messiah,” but Mozart’s 1789 version. Not only that, but the TSO’s five performance will be led by Alexander Shelley, the exciting National Arts Centre Orchestra music director, and sung by a dream team of Canadian operatic soloists: soprano Jane Archibald, mezzo Emily D’Angelo, tenor Isaiah Bell and baritone Russell Braun. As usual, the choral parts will be sung by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

The Trombone Shall Sound? Mozart’s Handel’s Messiah: An Orchestra Librarian’s Nightmare

Gary Corrin, The Wholenote. For many North American orchestras, playing in the pit for ballet performances of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is a common holiday tradition. This was my experience, first as a clarinetist and then as an orchestra librarian. My first encounter with Messiah as a professional, however, was during my interview for the librarian position of the Phoenix Symphony when I was asked, “What edition do you like for the Messiah?” It is an extraordinarily complex question – much more so than I would have known at the time. I managed to offer up something I’d learned from a couple of sing-along Messiahs I had attended – the organizer cautioning the audience/performers about the different numbering systems in various publications. But over the succeeding 30 years I have learned that there is much more to it than that, as I hope to share with you in this article.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Hallelujah! Handel’s Messiah still has special quality for choristers decades later

Michael Swan, The Catholic Register. When Susan Worthington gets home from “Messiah” rehearsals with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir she’s hungry and tired, but her brain is still full of music. “You can’t go to bed right away,” she said. “Rehearsals can be incredibly inspiring. We can work very hard. Working hard is good for you.” An alto who takes pride in singing the difficult parts that fall between soaring sopranos with the tune and booming basses who lay down the foundation, Worthington has been singing “Messiah” with Toronto’s oldest and biggest concert choir since the 1980s. She will be on stage at Roy Thomson Hall once again this Advent season for another performance of the iconic oratorio with Mozart’s orchestration. Performances are scheduled for Dec. 17-18-20-21-22. “The experience can be different every single year, but it still has the same kernel of inspiration that speaks to our hearts and, for me personally, to my soul,” Worthington said.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.