Dave Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. The concert, billed as Romantics and New Romantics was not the usual fare of well-known popular tunes meant to please an undiscerning audience. Indeed, it was an hour and a half packed with choral gems from the 19th to 21st centuries. Not that for choral lovers there wasn’t a mix of new and familiar, this was a concert meant to touch the heartstrings of both the uninitiated and the seasoned concert goers. It did just that. (Guest conductor John William Trotter) is known for innovative approaches to presentation and Saturday’s concert was evidence. He demonstrated in this concert not only his ability to elicit fine musical expression from the choir, but also his ease in communicating with the audience.
The three final concerts in the TMC’s 2019/20 season present an exciting opportunity for Torontonians to experience great choral music in interesting programs, and to see the work of three internationally-acclaimed conductors.
Ken Stephen, Large Stage Live! Wonderful as the soloists were, the honours of the evening, as far as the Requiem were concerned, rested with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Coincidentally (or not?) the first of the four concerts this week fell on January 15, the exact 125th anniversary of the founding concert of the choir in 1894 under Dr. Augustus Vogt. Throughout the work, the choristers excelled in the agility needed for the faster passages (the Offertorio and the Kyrie fugue the most stunning examples) while finding the necessary power for the more solemn and sombre sections. Impressive indeed were the many passages placed low in the voice registers, and here in particular the singers maintained firm tone and immaculate blend in places where some choirs get into difficulties.
Joseph So, Ludwig Van Toronto. To my ears, the glory of the evening belonged to the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. At the risk of being branded Toronto-centric, I feel strongly that the TMC is the premiere choral ensemble in Canada. Despite not having a permanent conductor at the moment, the TMC continues to do well. The Sanctus and Rex tremendae were two of the many highlights of the evening.
Dave Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. When I look at the TSO calendar of concerts at the start of the season, the first to be penciled into our calendar are invariably those that include the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. There is something extraordinary about the choral orchestral sounds that touches my soul like nothing else can. The stunning power and beauty of our fine orchestra takes me to another space when it is enveloped by the over-arching sopranos or pierced by the strength of the male voices. Last night’s concert had an extra degree of ‘specialness’ (if that’s a word). Mozart’s Requiem in D minor K.626has been consistently close to my heart since I first fell in love with choral music in my first year of university.
Leslie Barcza, barczablog.
Tonight I heard something different from the Toronto Symphony.
The TSO’s annual Messiah in Roy Thomson Hall with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir may seem like a ritual, but it actually varies from year to year.
Every time we get different soloists; more on that in a moment.
And some years they vary the actual musical score that’s being played. Handel’s Messiah has been presented in many versions, using many performance philosophies even if you don’t go for something radical like Soundstreams’ “Electric Messiah” or Andrew Davis’s muscular re-orchestration that’s been done a few times at the TSO.
This year we’re hearing Mozart’s take on Messiah.
Joseph So, Ludwig van Toronto. While one could quibble with the musical structure of the Mozartian version, it remains enjoyable, to be sure. Alexander Shelley made an auspicious TSO debut, leading the orchestra in a very crisp reading of the score. He’s a fine conductor, and let’s hope he’ll be back. His fast tempo, together with the cuts in this version, means that the performance only lasted two and a half hours including intermission. ... And, one can count on the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir to deliver each and every time. It was at its best in “Surely, He hath borne our griefs,” offering up thrilling tone and impressive power.
John Terauds, Toronto Star. The TSO is not presenting George Frideric Handel’s original 1741 “Messiah,” but Mozart’s 1789 version. Not only that, but the TSO’s five performance will be led by Alexander Shelley, the exciting National Arts Centre Orchestra music director, and sung by a dream team of Canadian operatic soloists: soprano Jane Archibald, mezzo Emily D’Angelo, tenor Isaiah Bell and baritone Russell Braun. As usual, the choral parts will be sung by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
Gary Corrin, The Wholenote. For many North American orchestras, playing in the pit for ballet performances of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is a common holiday tradition. This was my experience, first as a clarinetist and then as an orchestra librarian. My first encounter with Messiah as a professional, however, was during my interview for the librarian position of the Phoenix Symphony when I was asked, “What edition do you like for the Messiah?” It is an extraordinarily complex question – much more so than I would have known at the time. I managed to offer up something I’d learned from a couple of sing-along Messiahs I had attended – the organizer cautioning the audience/performers about the different numbering systems in various publications. But over the succeeding 30 years I have learned that there is much more to it than that, as I hope to share with you in this article.