Concert review: This could be the Toronto Symphony’s best Messiah so far this century

Tuesday’s first performance of the Toronto Symphony’s five-concert run of Handel’s oratorio Messiah at Roy Thomson Hall was that rare beast: a triumph from brisk Overture to rousing Amen. This interpretation has it all: great soloists, a lean, expressive orchestra, superb choir and a cohesive performance approach from a veteran British conductor making his Toronto Symphony début.
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Categories: 2013-2014 Season and Media Reviews.

Messing with Messiah

Noel Edison, artistic director of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir says he has no problem with unconventional approaches to The Messiah but, when he leads his singers on their five days with the TSO’s program, he is strictly on the side of tradition. “I’m too conservative,” Edison admits. Besides, he says, it doesn’t need embellishment. Handel “has so intimately, honestly and elegantly placed the text with the music, that it comes alive.”
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Categories: 2013-2014 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and guests make magic of Benjamin Britten cantatas

Here’s a suggestion: If you go to one choral concert other than Messiah this season, make it the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s brilliant tribute to Benjamin Britten on Wednesday evening. Tuesday night’s dress rehearsal at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church revealed not only a compelling, deeply affecting programme, but wonderful performances from the Mendelssohn Choir, the Toronto Children’s Chorus, orchestra, pianists, organist and, last but far from least, soloists tenor Colin Ainsworth and soprano Leslie Bouza. Mendelssohn Choir music director Noel Edison chose two cantatas to showcase the composer’s genius for writing potent music drama for all ages and abilities: The Company of Heaven, created for BBC Radio in 1937, and Saint Nicolas, commissioned for the centennial of Lancing College but premiered at Aldeburgh in 1948.
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Categories: 2013-2014 Season and Media Reviews.

TSO’s Carmina Burana a thrilling Halloween Musical Fare

I must give my highest praise to the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, surely a national treasure. Every time I see them, I always think - "they've outdone themselves this time." And then the next time I see them, I want to say the same thing.
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Categories: 2013-2014 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Carmina Burana raises Roy Thomson Hall roof

John Terauds, Musical Toronto The feature draw was an all-stops-pulled performance of Carl Orff’s modern classic from 1936, Carmina Burana. The Toronto Symphony was joined by 116 members of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, three-and-a-half-dozen young voices of the Toronto Children’s Chorus, Romanian-born soprano Valentina Farcas, American tenor Nicholas Phan and Canadian baritone James Westman. Music director Peter Oundjian led a nicely modulated, clearly laid-out interpretation that offered a full, rich orchestral sound, remarkable precision from the choristers and a running narrative of viscerally engaging rhythms. The fortissimo passages were taken all-out, threatening to raise the hall’s circular roof a couple of times during the evening. Read the complete review online
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Categories: 2013-2014 Season and Media Reviews.

An invigorating performance: Missa Solemnis in D Major

Michael Johnson, Concertonet Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis doesn’t come around often enough, a fact that prevents it from becoming stale – and all the more reason to welcome it when it does get programmed.  This was the final program this season presented under the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s own auspices, which I suspect is why the full complement of 122 singers was used. This turned out to create an acoustic overload in the 1100-seat hall, the effect of which was exhilarating most of the time. Read the complete review online
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Categories: 2012-2013 Season and Media Reviews.

Concert Review: TSO speaks a little too softly with Brahms’s A German Requiem

Arthur Kaptainis, National Post Softness reigned at the start, of course, as the violas and cellos traced their lines with the audio equivalent of a dotted line and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir whispered “Selig sind” with the utmost intimacy. There were sturdy fugues and stirring outbursts to come, but the 145 choristers as prepared by Noel Edison made their effect more with quiet expression than with force. Read the complete review online
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Categories: 2012-2013 Season and Media Reviews.

TSO, Mendelssohn choir and soloists give Brahms his due

Robert Harris, The Globe and Mail And fittingly, Toronto’s Mendelssohn Choir, fresh off a performance of the Missa Solemnis just a week ago, provided the backbone of the TSO performance of the German Requiem. The chorus is part of the Requiem for almost its entire 70-minute length, and with the preparation of Noel Edison and under the direction of Peter Oundjian, the choir was outstanding – flexible, subtle, powerful, overwhelming. It portrayed the complete emotional range that Brahms lavished on this work, from Lutheran chant to tortured fugue, to lyrical hymn, to joyous celebration. Read the full review online
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Categories: 2012-2013 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra fails to transcend minutiae in Brahms German Requiem

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, out in full force, sang with its characteristic mix of subtlety, power and precision. The Toronto Symphony players (with woodwinds and brass on risers, all bizarrely crammed into one corner of the stage with the piano, organ console and harp) were in great form.
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Categories: 2012-2013 Season and Media Reviews.

Concert Review: Toronto Mendelssohn Choir keeps Missa Solemnis light, when perhaps it could have used more weight

Every season the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir undertakes a Big One, or even a Really Big One, such as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, presented Wednesday evening in Koerner Hall under the baton of Noel Edison. It was a clear-headed and articulate performance that lacked something in Missa Solemnity.
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Categories: 2012-2013 Season and Media Reviews.