TSO Lets Berlioz Do The Talking In Season Opener

Paul Robinson, ludwig van Toronto. Then came a rarity: an excerpt from Berlioz’ Lélio, ou Le retour a la vie (The Return to Life), a sequel to the Symphonie fantastique. Lélio is a mishmash of music and declamation and not among the composer’s masterpieces. Sir Andrew chose to give us just one musical excerpt, a Fantasy on Shakespeare’s The Tempest for chorus and orchestra. As usual with Berlioz’s orchestral music, the instrumentation was clever and original. But even with an impressive Toronto Mendelssohn Choir on hand, this brief excerpt seemed too long for the quality of its inspiration.
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Categories: 2018-2019 Season and Media Reviews.

Peter Oundjian Has Left The Building

Arthur Kaptainis, Ludwig Van Toronto. The 140-strong Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, on stage rather than in the loft, could hardly have failed to make an impact throughout the hall in the great climaxes, including the high-altitude fugue. These choristers know the music and love it. Strings in the instrumental fugue reminded of us of the calibre of playing we have become accustomed to during the Oundjian years.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Peter Oundjian’s triumphant finale to his fourteen-year tenure with Toronto Symphony!

David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Not many people get a goodbye celebration at Roy Thomson Hall.  Such was the case last night for Peter Oundjian with the hall filled to the choir lofts with an adoring public including the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell (Lieutenant Governor of Ontario), the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian ended his remarkable fourteen years at the orchestra's helm as the TSO closed out its 2017/18 season. The sustained standing ovation by the sold-out hall was just the beginning of the show of love and appreciation for the music he has given and for what he has done for the orchestra, the city and the province.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Oundjian Ode to Joy

Leslie Barcza, Barczablog. We heard Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  The piece is ideal for this sort of occasion, an instant happening. For three movements the orchestra plays while a crowd of brooding faces watch and listen from the stage. It was almost like three different symphonies, totally unlike one another, each in the presence of the 150 formally attired singers of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, waiting their turn. The dissonance that opens the last movement might almost sum up the shock we feel when oh my they’re standing up, perfectly synchronized. Something is going to happen!  Of course it won’t be a surprise when they also sing in perfect synchronization.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

CANDIDE at TSO Gives You Permission to Laugh

Taylor Long, Broadway World. Conductor Bramwell Tovey began the evening by saying, "in light of the way things are... I want to give you permission to laugh." It didn't take very long before the audience was in stitches with laughter. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performed Leonard Bernstein's CANDIDE last weekend, accompanied by some of the country's greatest classical voices - Judith Forst and Tracy Dahl - and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. The evening was a spectacular display of fine music, drama, and comedy.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Candide with the Toronto Symphony: using our imaginations

Leslie Barcza, barczablog. This felt like a very authentic performance to me, Bramwell Tovey kicking the TSO, chorus & soloists along at a wonderful pace.  Tovey even got into the act, singing & dancing himself, but he was having a great time.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

TSO’s Candide Pushes Bernstein’s Wordplay A Little Too Far

Arthur Kaptainis, Ludwig Van Toronto. While the score brims with good tunes and snappy rhythms, Candide’s travels never really acquire anything like dramatic momentum. Characters inexplicably return to life (as the duet “You Were Dead, You Know” explicitly acknowledges) and the unpleasant misadventures are essentially random.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Sacred Music for a Sacred Space: a special concert for a special day!

David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. The lights dimmed at St. Paul’s Basilica bringing a hush over the capacity audience and suddenly heavenly a cappella sounds began wafting down from the balcony in the rear of the church. Since 2007, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has made it a tradition to present a concert of music appropriate for Holy Week in one of the most beautiful churches in Toronto on one of the Christian church’s holiest days, Good Friday. As the choir began to sing, I squelched the temptation to look back; looking upward at the colourful ceiling paintings of the life of Paul was as far as I dared turn my head. I was transfixed in the moment. The words of Behold the Tabernacle of God reinforced the feeling that I was in a ‘sacred’ space.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Grammy-nominated Toronto Mendelssohn Choir leader recalls brush with Lady Gaga

David Friend, The Canadian Press Noel Edison didn't expect to rub shoulders with Lady Gaga when he attended the Grammy Awards for the first time, but the chorus master at the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir couldn't resist the opportunity when it arose. At the glitzy celebration for the 2010 awards in Los Angeles, Edison found himself standing near the "Bad Romance" singer. So he stuck out his hand and introduced himself. "(I) said, 'Look, I want to congratulate you — I think you've got a unique sound and a unique approach to this modern-day popular culture,'" he recalls. "We had a nice chat with her big thugs standing around. We had a little vodka together, so that was fun." Edison didn't win the Grammy that year, but he'll have another chance on Sunday as he vies for best choral performance with his choir and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The Toronto performers share a nomination with British conductor Sir Andrew Davis for his daring take on Handel's "Messiah," which throws in new elements that elevate the composition's theatrical flair.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

The Art of Honing the Next Great Musical Communicators

Brian Chang, ludwig-van Toronto. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Elora Singers under Artistic Director Noel Edison host Connor Doran (Rochester), Alexandra Grabarchuk (Los Angeles), Trevor Kroeger (Cincinnati), Virginie Pacheco (Montreal), and Daniel Parsley (Cincinnati) for the annual Conductors Symposium January 23-27. Free Concert Saturday, January 27, 3 pm, Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, Toronto. “Conducting is a lonely profession,“ said Noel Edison, Artistic Director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Elora Singers, ”[the symposium] is a shot in the arm for conductors.” 2018 marks the 8th year Edison has run this unique conducting program out of Toronto, bringing some of the finest emerging conductors to Toronto from across North America and immersing them in the full artistic and administrative process of successful choral music.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.