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.
New Ears Project
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.
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...
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.