Luminato’s Apocalypsis is a complicated triumph

Robert Harris, Globe and Mail. Toronto’s Luminato Festival has staked a great deal on the highly original and highly idiosyncratic imaginative outpourings of a now 82-yr.-old Canadian musical wizard, R. Murray Schafer. Three long years in the making, the production of Schafer’s music ritual Apocalypsis that opened at the Festival Friday night brought together 1,000 musicians, singers, actors, dancers and technicians. It assembled a cast of internationally-known stars. It cost over a million dollars. It was a high-profile, big-time gamble. The gamble paid off.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Media Reviews.

TSO conveys emotion of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2

Michael Vincent, Toronto Star. Singing with a singular voice, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir lined the balcony with impressive numbers. Rather than coming out for the fourth movement, they sat motionless until it was their turn to sing. But once they did, their voices filled the hall like the massive organ that loomed at their backs.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Media Reviews.

Happy Ending and Then Some in Mahler’s Second

Arthur Kaptainis, Musical Toronto. I am always up for a sermon on the life everlasting, and the great finale, made of glorious sonorities onstage and off, did not fail. Oundjian found respiration in the phrasing and drama in the entries. Brass playing was firm, woodwinds were colourful and strings had the ring of truth. Most important, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (prepared by Noel Edison) entered with breathtaking solemnity. Remarkable how gripping a pianissimo equilibrium can be.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Media Reviews.

Andrew Davis and the Verdi Requiem

John Gilks, Opera Ramblings. The orchestra, complete with off stage brass high up at the back of the hall, and choir; the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir were on excellent form. The choir is large and can produce sound ranging from considerable subtlety to the full on power needed to work with the hundred odd musicians, heavy on the brass and drums, in the big climaxes.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Media Reviews.

Stars Align for Verdi Requiem with Sir Andrew Davis

Joseph So, Musical Toronto. Once in a while, when the music gods are smiling down from heaven and all the stars are aligned, an audience will get to witness an extraordinary musical event, a performance that will stay in memory for a very long time. Last evening’s Verdi Requiem was just such an event.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Media Reviews.

Classical musicians embrace public exhibitionism in search of new fans

Trish Crawford in the Toronto Star: On a recent spring evening, commuters on their way home were stopped in their tracks by the sound of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir singing in Brookfield Place’s Galleria. Under the direction of conductor Noel Edison, 70 voices soared to the glass roof of the atrium as they serenaded the rush hour crowd of Bay Street office workers.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir names new Associate Conductor

Michael Vincent, Musical Toronto: The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir have named Jennifer Min-Young Lee as the incoming associate conductor starting Fall 2015.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Media Reviews.

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.