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...
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...
Robert Harris, The Globe and Mail And fittingly, Toronto’s Mendelssohn Choir, fresh off a performance of the Missa Solemnis just a week ago, provided the backbone of the TSO performance of the German Requiem. The chorus is part of the Requiem for almost its entire 70-minute length, and with the preparation of Noel Edison and...
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, out in full force, sang with its characteristic mix of subtlety, power and precision. The Toronto Symphony players (with woodwinds and brass on risers, all bizarrely crammed into one corner of the stage with the piano, organ console and harp) were in great form.
Every season the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir undertakes a Big One, or even a Really Big One, such as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, presented Wednesday evening in Koerner Hall under the baton of Noel Edison. It was a clear-headed and articulate performance that lacked something in Missa Solemnity.
It is notoriously difficult to perform. Which is why we should thank conductor Noel Edison, his Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Festival Orchestra, for having the courage to mount this important, if rarely heard, work. And by and large, on Wednesday evening the group of hundreds of musicians and singers acquitted themselves quite well.
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.
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).
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.