Joseph So, Musical Toronto. Indeed, energy and passion were what defined the performance on Friday night. Peter Oundjian threw himself into the monumental work, conducting with a deft baton. Most importantly, there was a real sense of joy, something lovely to see. With appropriately brisk tempi, he raised the musical temperature to a scorching level: exciting, yes; raw, never! From the very striking opening of “O Fortuna,” one is completely drawn into the drama. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir sang with impressive power, energy and incisiveness. I was particularly struck by how youthful the women sounded, almost like a treble choir – and I mean that in a good way! The Toronto Children’s Chorus provided the proper sound of innocence, so important in this piece.
David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s masterpiece of ritualistic primitivism, the main event of the week’s concerts, was everything one could hope for. The performance was a tour de force. Peter Oundjian led the orchestra, choirs and soloists through the medieval poetic settings paying homage to the ebb and flow of “fortune”. The celebration of spring time, the decadence of life in the tavern and the joys and sorrows of love-making all took their turn. The large orchestra that included two pianos and five percussionists filled the hall with rhythmic drive, virtuosic passages and subtle melancholy. The work held its high energy throughout the full hour of intense music making. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir was in fine form in both the explosive O Fortuna choruses and the delicate a capella sections.Toronto Children’s Chorus added to the large choral sound and had some tender moments of its own.
Taylor Long, Broadway World Toronto. Following the suspense of watching over one hundred choir members enter the hall - Orff's CARMINA BURANA begins. "O Fortuna" may be one of the most popular pieces of classical music, but I can't recall if I've ever heard it sung with such incomparably crisp diction. Oundjian makes CARMINA BURANA extremely exciting in the way he drives the tempo and skillfully manipulates the work's dynamics. The work has a wonderful flow to it, adding to the excitement - some moments are serene and hushed, before being interrupted by jubilant fanfare.
John Gilks, operaramblings. After the interval it was Carl Orff’s well known reworking of a bunch of medieval scribblings; the Carmina Burana. Variously sexually explicit, scatological and just plain daft it is, above all tremendous fun. It got a fine performance from the orchestra, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Toronto Children’s Chorus and a trio of...
Dave Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Yesterday’s concert was a momentous celebration of the great music that grew out of the nineteenth century British choral tradition. It included the music of the famed British composers Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Parry, Holst, Stainer, Sullivan and Tavener as well as Canadians Healey Willan and Elizabeth Ekholm, each heavily influenced by the musical traditions of England.
The concert began with organist Michael Bloss performing the long introduction to Handel’s Coronation Anthem Zadok the Priest. The first sound of the two hundred voice combined choir shook me so intensely that the majesty of the music overwhelmed me at a visceral level. It was a sound that produced goosebumps throughout the entirety of my body.
Arthur Kaptainis, Musical Toronto. Much of tale of the wicked Babylonian king is told in choral fortissimo, and it was a credit to all the participants – numbering almost 200, if my count is accurate — that words were often clear enough to be understood without the support of the printed text. Brass were hearty, strings full of fire. Percussion had a field day with the false gods of gold, silver, iron, wood, stone and brass. The RTH organ added impressively to the climactic (but entirely vain) accreditation of Belshazzar as “King of Kings.”
Dave Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. The combined forces of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Huddersfield Choral Society from Leeds, England rocked the house with a tremendously powerful choral sound. Their hushed voices were heart-wrenching as they sang about the humiliation of the Jewish slaves.
The TMC is thrilled to welcome the UK’s acclaimed Huddersfield Choral Society (founded in 1836) to Toronto this Spring. On June 4th these two world-class choirs will join forces to present a concert of choral classics, featuring many of the greats of English Cathedral music. The choirs will fill Yorkminster Park with a grand symphonic sound.
The concert opened with Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus -- the piece that will forever be associated with the brilliance (and cheekiness) of Mozart, who, at the age of fourteen, wrote it down from memory after just one hearing. With the Miserere, Edison established an aesthetic tone that would govern most of the program: a precise and spacious treatment, notable for perfect intonation and for its restrained approach to tempo and dynamics. I don’t know who the unnamed stratospheric soprano was whose voice soared above all others, but her contribution was impressive.