The TMC’s 2015/16 season will build on the success of the 2014/15 season and create great musical experiences for audiences– from the drama of the story of creation captured in music by Haydn, to the romance of choral lieder by Brahms and Schubert, and the contemplative space created in the works of contemporary composers.
Michael Vincent, Musical Toronto: The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir have named Jennifer Min-Young Lee as the incoming associate conductor starting Fall 2015.
This performance isn’t so much like watching the crucifixion of Jesus as being told the story of the crucifixion of Jesus by a crew of storytellers. So rather than seeing things happen, we are instead told “This happened and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened,” which felt a very dispassionate way of communicating a Passion.
I appreciated this starkness and deliberateness. It felt like a respectful telling of a story that many of us might have grown up with, but wouldn’t be able to necessarily recite to someone ourselves. I liked that it didn’t demand an emotional investment from those in the audience who might not be believers, but instead presented a matter-of-fact telling of a usually melodramatic narrative.
Parul “Koel” Bahuguna, New Ears Review: My ears, eyes and soul were sent to a magical place this Good Friday at the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s (TMC) Sacred Music for a Sacred Space concert which was held at the St. Paul’s Basilica in Toronto. I must confess, before this experience, I had never had the pleasure of listening to any form of choral music let alone listening to it being performed live in a beautiful basilica. My expectations going into the concert were all about embracing the unknown. I had no idea what to expect or if I would enjoy choral music or not. I am also not Catholic or Christian so I was not sure if I would understand the references in the lyrics or generally relate to the songs. However, I did go into this concert knowing that I absolutely love music, love listening to different types of music and love attending live performances.
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s Good Friday 2015 concert of spiritual, meditative music begins with music by the popular Englishman Sir John Tavener (1944 –2013). He was trained traditionally at the Royal Academy of Music, and as his life and career developed, Tavener’s character and music became more spiritual and contemplative, eventually leading him to turn to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977. Song for Athene was written in 1993 as a tribute to a young family friend of Tavener’s named Athene who died in a cycling accident. Athene’s love of acting and of the music of the Orthodox Church led the composer to combine words from Shakespeare’s Hamlet with words from the Orthodox funeral service. The work became part of popular culture after it was performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.
This programme is a showcase of five emerging conductors who will conduct a variety of short pieces by different composers. Edison tells us that conducting is a lonely profession – it’s just you and the music, and you have to have the musical vision, the discipline and the people skills to bring the sheet music to life. This program has been sculpted around musical challenges for these conductors.
The shining beacon of Pärt’s tintinnabuli technique, and one of his most important works is “Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Joannem” or The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to John – his St. John Passion or known more simply as Passio. It was finished in 1982, shortly after Pärt and his family were allowed out of Soviet-controlled Estonia and emigrated to the West. Passio is a setting of the story of the crucifixion of Christ from chapters 18 and 19 of the biblical gospel of St. John.
Five conductors from across North America have been selected to participate in the TMC’s fifth annual Choral Conductors’ Symposium (Jan 27-31, 2015), led by conductor and artistic director Noel Edison. Conductors will work with Noel and with the Elora Festival Singers and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir on a variety of choral music for chamber and large-scale ensembles, including works by composers from Gabrieli, Bach, and Mozart to Rutter, Chilcott and Whitacre.
The Symposium concludes with a free community concert at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church on Saturday, January 31, at 3 pm (doors open at 2:15 pm). The concert will also be webcast live.
To learn how “new ears” experience the TMC’s concerts, we launched The New Ears Review Project in November 2014. At each TMC concert, a brand new audience member will review the concert and tell us about their experience. We will post the reviews here, link via social media, and share them with our community.