Good Friday with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

Colin Eatock, Eatock Daily
April 20, 2017

Noel Edison, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s music director, clearly put a lot of thought into his choir’s Good Friday concert at St. Paul’s Basilica in Toronto. It was called “Sacred Music for a Sacred Space,” and it was an imaginative program: refreshingly Messiah-free and remarkable for its stylistic diversity.

The choir was, in fact, two choirs. The first half of the program featured the Mendelssohn Singers (an ensemble of professional quality, with the Elora Festival Singers at its core), discreetly placed in the choir loft at the back of the church. And the second half was sung by the larger TMC, in full view at the front of the church. Both halves featured a-cappella repertoire that occasionally stretched but never exceeded the substantial abilities of these choirs.

The concert opened with Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus — the piece that will forever be associated with the brilliance (and cheekiness) of Mozart, who, at the age of fourteen, wrote it down from memory after just one hearing. With the Miserere, Edison established an aesthetic tone that would govern most of the program: a precise and spacious treatment, notable for perfect intonation and for its restrained approach to tempo and dynamics. I don’t know who the unnamed stratospheric soprano was whose voice soared above all others, but her contribution was impressive.

(TMChoir note: the soprano soloist was Lesley Emma Bouza.)

Read the full review online.