An experience of sonic excellence: New Ears respond to The Creation

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.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.

Transported: New Ears Respond to Sacred Music in a Sacred Space

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.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.

New Ears review Festival of Carols 2015

Christmas may not yet be white, but at least we’re starting the season right A New Ears review by Helen Androlia. It’s an unfortunate truth that when you work in advertising (as I do) that Christmas actually starts in July, as that’s really when you begin planning for the season. So, as December finally rolls around, you can imagine it can be a challenge to muster up some festive cheer. My companion, too, had told me earlier about the garland she had purchased in an attempt to make her home a little more merry and bright, only to have it fall two feet short – an apt metaphor for both of our moods, if you would, and compounded by the still-conspicuously green landscaping of our meeting spot. Fortunately, we were about to step into Yorkminster Park Baptist Church for an evening with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir for their Festival of Carols, which we felt certain would keeping our encroaching Scroogery at bay, and we couldn’t have been more correct. From the very beginning, heralded by the iconic pa-rum-pa-pum-pum of “The Little Drummer Boy,” the performance explored every mood of the season. There were bright, cheerful Christmas classics, punctuated with bold brass interludes that were arranged with enough distinction to perk up your ears, but not so much as to render them unfamiliar. There were thoughtful, meditative hymns that explored the more spiritual side of the season filled with lush, layered vocals. Of course, there were also some moments of audience participation – largely expected when you attend an evening filled with carols – and while they took away a little from the choral performances, they certainly were fun. Then again, how could the rest of us compete with the power of the choir? We all may have the numbers, but certainly not the talent. The curation of the evening’s songs was nearly flawless, with one exception; the penultimate performance, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, felt a little out of place with its a capella styling. The choir is at its strongest when they are either highlighting groups or united as a whole, and the layered approach caused their beautiful voices to become overshadowed by the church’s organ, which was a strange choice for accompaniment, given its volume, power, and the presence of a brass band. In an evening filled with fine performances, two in particular stood out. The second
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.

New Ears Encounter the German Romantics

[T]he entire evening reminded me of the incredible power of live music. Even the slower pieces were performed with such passion that even though they were about the loss of love etc I couldn’t help but be a bit giddy with excitement. I had never heard love songs performed like this before.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.

New Ears: Passio

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.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.

Finding Enchantment in the Basilica: New Ears Report on Sacred Music for a Sacred Space

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.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.

Unexpected Harmonies: A New Ears Review of the Choral Conductors’ Symposium Community Concert

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.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.

The New Ears Project

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.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.

The New Ears Project: New Ears Listen to the Festival of Carols

New Ears Review of Festival of Carols 2014: There were three firsts for us: this was our first visit to Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, the first time we heard the Salvation Army's Canadian Staff Band, and the first time we were privileged to hear the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. All three were well worth the drive or subway trip, half way across the city, on one of Toronto's colder nights. We launched our New Ears reviews in November 2014, with the Mighty Rhino's review of Mozart and Haydn. In December, Naomi Craig, a Toronto-based author and researcher gave us her impressions of this year's Festival of Carols.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season, Media Reviews, and New Ears Project.