David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Last night, the Opening Night Gala (of the Elora Festival) brought together the widely acclaimed Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Elora Festival Singers, the Elora Festival Orchestra and four superb soloists in two magnificent and large choral orchestral works. The performance took place on the outskirts of the historic village in a mammoth storage barn transformed into a cathedral-like concert hall. The program opened with moving multi-verse arrangements of ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘O Canada’. The audience felt goosebumps from the glorious choral-orchestral sound that gave a hint of the very special evening that was about to unfold.
Arthur Kaptainis, Musical Toronto. Expectation and fulfillment: We get a bit of each every day, and giant helpings whenever an orchestra like the Toronto Symphony programs Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé as a complete ballet. This score is languorous and lavish in equal measure, and if the first of two performances in Roy Thomson Hall under the baton of Juanjo Mena was a little heavy on the languor, the emphatic moments had their properly fulfilling effect.
Martin Knelman, Toronto Star. It was a highly enjoyable celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday with a distinctively Canadian twist. And it should have been on national TV in prime time so millions could have joined the party.... From an Ontario perspective, the most stirring mix of provincial pride and nostalgia came when the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir sang “A Place to Stand,” which became an anthem for the Ontario Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, which the Queen visited.
At one point I began to imagine myself seated in the hull of Noah’s Ark instead of Koerner Hall with its beautiful wood-paneled balconies and ceiling and how I was being prepared for a world of such beauty and diversity, listening to the music. Haydn’s Creation was an experience of sonic excellence combining vocal soloists, choir and orchestra and at the same time a good opportunity to reflect on the natural beauty we’ve been afforded and should not take for granted.
Joseph So, Musical Toronto. One of the cornerstones of the oratorio repertoire, Haydn’s The Creation (Die Schöpfung) is a wonderful work that I never get tired of hearing. Together with Die Jahreszeiten, it’s two pieces on my short list of go-to oratorios if I ever want a “spiritual uplift.” So it was great to hear it again the other evening at Koerner Hall.
David Richards, Ontario Arts Review. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir created an evening of spectacular bliss. Noel Edison successfully highlighted the drama and humour in the work with uplifting results. He created a symphonic sound of magnificent proportions with the 135 voice choir and the Festival Orchestra.
The opening orchestral introduction, called “The Representation of Chaos” is famous. Haydn paints the dark, frightening void just prior to creation by using snippets of melody, vague rhythms, strange harmonies, awkward dissonances and sudden outbursts. “There is nothing else quite like it,” claims Noel Edison. “It’s the Big Bang expressed in music, and was way ahead of its time!”
As a first time choral concert-goer, I truly did not know what to expect walking into St. Paul's Basilica that Wednesday evening. I was immediately taken aback by the beauty of the church, however it was soon taking second seat to the beautiful music of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
David Richards, Ontario Arts Review.
Good Friday at St. Paul’s Catholic Church was the perfect day and place for a concert by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. The choir made wonderful use of the church’s magnificent acoustics, not to mention the elaborately decorated sanctuary. The concert of sacred music in such beautiful surroundings, on this special day, made the spirits soar. If Good Friday was meant to send a message of peace, hope and love to mankind, then the Mendelssohn Choir was an inspirational messenger.