Toronto’s flagship Mendelssohn Choir continues to diversify with community singing, webcasts

This week the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has quietly released the results of its latest annual general meeting. But the rest of what the city’s oldest choral society does is not so quiet. The last few years have not been the easiest for the organization, founded in 1894. It shared space and many concerts for three-quarters of a century with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra — first at Massey Hall, then at Roy Thomson Hall. The Mendelssohnians sang in Carnegie Hall in 1907 — well before there even was a permanent Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
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Categories: 2013-2014 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Conductors’ Symposium gearing up to big start

For the past three years, one of Toronto's- nay, one of Canada's-largest choral organizations has put on a weeklong symposium to find and nurture the next generation of conductors because, in their own words, "At the head of every successful choral organization is a skilled conductor." This year, in their fourth annual TMC Choral Conductors’ Symposium, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is set to embark on an intensive series of workshops and masterclasses from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 where five conductors have been selected to study under the tutelage of Noel Edison.
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Categories: 2013-2014 Season and Media Reviews.

Battle of the Messiahs: Toronto Symphony wins this round

Will the 10,000 people who go hear the show at Roy Thomson Hall get the better or worse experience than the 6,800 at Koerner and Massey halls? It’s long been a seesaw battle. Based on the Toronto Symphony’s first Messiah performance on Tuesday night and Tafelmusik’s on Wednesday, it’s the former that has a slight edge in 2013. First-time visiting conductor Christopher Warren-Green did a remarkable job of teasing out impressive details from Handel’s music — using less than three-dozen members of the TSO set against the 140 members of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
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Categories: 2013-2014 Season and Media Reviews.

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.