2012-13 Season

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An invigorating performance: Missa Solemnis in D Major

Michael Johnson, Concertonet Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis doesn’t come around often enough, a fact that prevents it from becoming stale – and all the more reason to welcome it when it does get programmed.  This was the final program this season presented under the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s own auspices, which I suspect is why the full...

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Concert Review: TSO speaks a little too softly with Brahms’s A German Requiem

Arthur Kaptainis, National Post Softness reigned at the start, of course, as the violas and cellos traced their lines with the audio equivalent of a dotted line and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir whispered “Selig sind” with the utmost intimacy. There were sturdy fugues and stirring outbursts to come, but the 145 choristers as prepared by...

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis Program Notes
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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis Program Notes

When you come right down to it, Beethoven didn’t compose a lot of choral music. There are three early works - the under-rated Mass in C, the rarely-performed oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives and the Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 80. Of course, there are choruses in the opera Fidelio before his last two choral masterpieces - the finale to the Symphony No. 9, and the great Missa Solemnis.

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Preview: Toronto Mendelssohn Choir wrestles with the beast that is Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis

On Wednesday night, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, soloists, orchestra and conductor Noel Edison perform one of the monuments of early 19th century choral music, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. The performance reminded me yet again of what a monster this piece is. Beethoven spent four years writing, finishing it in 1823 (he died in 1827).

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Solemnis Spirit

The Missa Solemnis is infused with the same spirit as the Ninth Symphony and other late period Beethoven – a musical expression of faith locked in combat with doubt. Extremes of mood convey an almost desperate sense of Beethoven’s desire to connect to the world around him. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is perhaps the only group in the region that can marshal the forces for such a mammoth work.