Messiah watch

Arthur Kaptainis, Montreal Gazette. Messiah watch: There was a time when I offered a ritual recommendation of the 1987 EMI Toronto Symphony/Toronto Mendelssohn Choir recording of Handel’s oratorio under Andrew Davis, which even at the time was swimming against the historicist flow by using fairly large forces. Now the British conductor has created a recording of his own “new concert edition,” which applies all manner of modern instrumental accoutrements to the masterpiece, marimba not excluded. Again the TSO and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir are the ensembles. The label is Chandos. I am sure Sir Andrew would agree that this should not be the only Messiah on your shelves. Certainly, it has its striking and high-spirited moments, but I find it rather like a walk through the toy department.
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

Here We Come A-Caroling: Choirs and carols across the region

Brian Chang, The Wholenote. Carols are unique to the holiday season. At this time of year, they’re on the radio, humming in the back of our heads, in the malls as we shop, and often on the street being sung or played by musicians across the city. These ubiquitous songs cover every emotion possible: sad, happy, joyful, peaceful, funny, odd, and so much more. And it’s a challenging thing to program carols; people want to sing, people want to participate. Many choirs do just that and invite you to sing along! In the smattering of concerts I’ve attended and performed in the last few days, communal singing has featured quite heavily. And why not! It’s fun, joyous—and how often can you find a venue with 1000 people singing?
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

Enjoy TSO’s take on Messiah in the comfort of your own home

Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail. Captured live in December, 2015 (Sir Andrew Davis's reimagined Messiah), the recording features soloists Erin Wall, Elizabeth DeShong, Andrew Staples and John Relyea, along with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. And while this second-coming album affords you the luxury to bust out your hallelujahs in the comfort of your own living room, automobile or wherever, there’s nothing like witnessing the Messiah in person.
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

Daily Telegraph Review: Messiah CD

Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph. Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, Chandos. 5 stars ... "For Unto Us a Child Is Born" and "All We Like Sheep" are highlights, sung by the superb 150-strong Toronto Mendelssohn Choir with a fugal exhilaration that doesn't preclude exemplary diction and precision. They are the starts of the show, but all four soloists are excellent too.
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

Messiah Follies: Inside Stories About Performing Handel’s Ultimate Masterpiece

Brian Chang, Musical Toronto. Handel’s Messiah is a masterwork of remarkable writing that has lasted centuries of performance. This work is a staple of the Holiday season, and chances are you will catch a performance of it in full or selections from it over the course of the holiday. Between the Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra/Tafelmusik Chamber Choir alone, 15,000 people will hear and experience the music over a two week period. Much can be said about the love-hate relationship of Choristers, musicians, and conductors and the work. Today, we’re going to explore stories of musicians who have performed the work and when things have just gone off the rails. These are stories of Messiah Follies.
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

The Wholenote Discoveries: Review of Handel Messiah Chandos Recording

David Olds, The Wholenote December 2016 review of Chandos recording of Handel Messiah: this new recording does the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and, indeed, Toronto itself proud.
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

“What Grace is Given Me”: Performance and Process for Toronto’s The Lord of the Rings

Brian Chang, The Wholenote: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring premiered in Canada on December 19, 2001. That year I started high school and it was the first time I took a music class in a real music program. That Christmas, one of my friends gave me the soundtrack for the movie. I fell in love with it and have loved it ever since. For me, my entire musical history has been inspired and shaped by this soundtrack. With “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring In Concert” at Roy Thomson Hall, December 1 to 3 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, I’ve been able to perform the film’s music onstage as a chorister. It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life as a musician.
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

Shore’s Fellowship

Leslie Barcza, barczablog: The Toronto Symphony, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, The Canadian Children’s Opera Company in partnership with tiff presented a concert performance of Howard Shore’s score for The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films. If you think that sounds like a lot of people, you’d be right, and that’s not even including the big-screen presentation of the film, with its cast of thousands of humans, orcs, elves, dwarves, hobbits, uruk-hai, and assorted birds. Considering that I consider the first film to be the weakest of the three, I did not expect such an overwhelming experience, and am a little gaga imagining what the other two might be like, in a live concert version.
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

TSO and cast of hundreds bring Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings music to life

Trish Crawford, The Toronto Star. Frodo, Sam, Gandalf and Aragorns’ valiant mission in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring will be supported full-throttle with a large chorus and soloists performing live while the movie unspools in Roy Thomson Hall. Canadian Howard Shore, who won three Oscars for his Lord of the Rings trilogy scores, notes that this new “concert and a movie” approach has livened up many a symphony hall. “The Toronto Symphony, the Mendelssohn Choir, the Children’s Opera Chorus brings more than 200 musicians to the stage to recreate the score beautifully,” he says. “They do it as a concert first, then bring in the Tolkien dialogue.”
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.

Understanding Audiences: Takeaways from the Intrinsic Impact Audience Project

Kelsey Menehan, Chorus America. This August, Chorus America released the results of the first-ever systematic look at what moves and motivates the people who attend choral music concerts. In partnership with leading research and consulting firm WolfBrown, the Intrinsic Impact Audience Project worked with 23 choruses across North America to survey their audiences. We spoke with researcher Alan Brown and a number of the participating choruses about what they learned from the study and the implications the findings have for the entire choral field. (Note: Toronto Mendelssohn Choir was a participant in this research project and was interviewed for this article.)
More

Categories: 2016-2017 Season and Media Reviews.