The Creation Program Notes

The opening orchestral introduction, called “The Representation of Chaos” is famous. Haydn paints the dark, frightening void just prior to creation by using snippets of melody, vague rhythms, strange harmonies, awkward dissonances and sudden outbursts. “There is nothing else quite like it,” claims Noel Edison. “It’s the Big Bang expressed in music, and was way ahead of its time!”
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season and Program Notes.

Composer’s Commentary on I will lift up mine eyes

Leonard Enns writes of his TMC commission, I will lift up mine eyes: Psalm 121 is typically read, and often set musically, as a text of assurance and comfort. My setting is similar in that regard. What I find compelling, though, is the second phrase of the psalm: "from whence commeth my help (?)." Many musical settings treat the phrase "from whence cometh my help" simply as a modifier (no question mark); i.e. "... the hills from whence cometh my help" (take, for example, Mendelssohn's "Lift thine eyes"). Most current translations, however, treat it as a question.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season and Program Notes.

Sacred Music for a Sacred Space 2016 Program Notes

Artistic Director Noel Edison has always enjoyed the combination of Renaissance with contemporary music in a concert program. For him, it’s the similarity between the openness and simplicity of the structure of these compositions that works so well together.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season and Program Notes.

Festival of Carols 2015 Program Notes

Noel Edison, now in his 19th season as TMC Artistic Director and Conductor, instigated the annual TMC Festival of Carols in the early years of his tenure. His goal has not wavered – to present a festive evening of celebration containing a wide variety of seasonal music from around the world, old and new, original compositions as well as arrangements.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season and Program Notes.

German Romantics Program Notes

TMC Artistic Director and Conductor Noel Edison has long loved the music of the German Romantics, believing that the heart is reached through the mind. He says, “Granted that some of this music was meant for the parlour rather than the concert hall, but it is all very melodic, well-constructed and was never denigrated by performance circumstances or location.” He believes that this rich, German Romantic choral repertoire should be performed by more of today’s choral ensembles.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season and Program Notes.

Brass Band Tradition at Christmas

One of the joys of Christmas is its predictability. Every year, we associate the Christmas season with familiar images, tastes, activities, objects and sounds. Santa Claus and Ebenezer Scrooge, Handel’s Messiah and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, roast turkey and cranberry sauce, mistletoe and eggnog…….. brass instruments and choral voices. They all provide a joyous, festive and warm mood to which we enjoy returning year after year.
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Categories: 2015-2016 Season and Program Notes.

Sacred Music 2015 Program Notes

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s Good Friday 2015 concert of spiritual, meditative music begins with music by the popular Englishman Sir John Tavener (1944 –2013). He was trained traditionally at the Royal Academy of Music, and as his life and career developed, Tavener’s character and music became more spiritual and contemplative, eventually leading him to turn to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977. Song for Athene was written in 1993 as a tribute to a young family friend of Tavener’s named Athene who died in a cycling accident. Athene’s love of acting and of the music of the Orthodox Church led the composer to combine words from Shakespeare’s Hamlet with words from the Orthodox funeral service. The work became part of popular culture after it was performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Program Notes.

Passio Program Notes

The shining beacon of Pärt’s tintinnabuli technique, and one of his most important works is “Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Joannem” or The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to John – his St. John Passion or known more simply as Passio. It was finished in 1982, shortly after Pärt and his family were allowed out of Soviet-controlled Estonia and emigrated to the West. Passio is a setting of the story of the crucifixion of Christ from chapters 18 and 19 of the biblical gospel of St. John.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Program Notes.

Festival of Carols 2014 Program Notes

One of the joys of Christmas is its predictability. Every year, we associate the Christmas season with familiar images, tastes, activities, objects and sounds. Santa Claus and Ebenezer Scrooge, Handel’s Messiah and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, roast turkey and cranberry sauce, mistletoe and eggnog…….. brass instruments and choral voices. They all provide a joyous, festive and warm mood to which we enjoy returning year after year.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Program Notes.

Mozart and Haydn Program Notes

After almost thirty years as Kapellmeister to the court of Esterháza, Joseph Haydn was let go in 1790 becoming a very successful freelance composer. The Esterházys awarded him a pension, allowing for a comfortable retirement, and stipulated that Haydn’s one remaining task be to compose and direct a new mass once a year to honour the name-day of Princess Marie Esterházy. The last six masses by Haydn were all for this purpose, the most famous being the so-called “Lord Nelson” Mass.
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Categories: 2014-2015 Season and Program Notes.