Michael Vincent, Ludwig van Toronto. There is nothing quite like the hope found in the continued resilience shown by artists coming together during a crisis. The TSO has joined the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, to perform Gabriel Fauré’s moving Cantique de Jean Racine, under the baton of conductor Simon Rivard.
Concert cancellations due to Covid-19 and the desire to keep sharing music has led to performances all around the world by virtual choirs and by virtual orchestras. The TSO’s RBC Resident Conductor Simon Rivard thought, why not choir and orchestra together?
Building on the long-standing collaboration between the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, Simon set out to bring together (virtually) musicians from these three groups to share Gabriel Fauré’s lush and well-loved Cantique de Jean Racine.
Denise Lai, La Scena Musicale. Canada’s oldest choir celebrated its 125th birthday with a gala concert at Koerner Hall yesterday afternoon. Interim artistic director David Fallis put together a diverse program that featured works from each of the three centuries in which the choir has performed. Among the many alumni and friends in attendance was Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
Dave Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Interim Artistic Director David Fallis curated a magnificent program entitled Singing through the Centuries, a homage to the longevity of the Choir’s musical excellence. At his creative best, Fallis found works that not only showcased the music of three centuries, but also found music that uplifted the human spirit, including a newly commissioned piece by Cree-descended composer Andrew Balfour.
Leslie Barcza, barczablog. Today the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir celebrated their 125th anniversary with a gala concert at Koerner Hall, joined for the occasion by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (who haven’t yet had their centennial, and who only came into existence in 1922). Led by the TMC’s Interim Conductor & Artistic Advisor David Fallis (whose title could also be “saviour” although he’d probably blush at the suggestion), the program he assembled, titled “Singing through Centuries”, is a fascinating nod to the occasion being celebrated.
When Augustus Stephen Vogt founded the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in 1894, it was perhaps no surprise that the new choral ensemble should be named after one of the most beloved romantic composers at the time, Felix Mendelssohn. His rich repertoire of choral music was sung widely, and was especially favoured in the English-speaking world. And it is perhaps no surprise that we should start this afternoon’s 125th-anniversary concert with two beautiful works by our namesake: they both display his unerring ability to create sweet, lush harmonies for unaccompanied voices.
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.
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.
Toronto, 1894: the last horse-drawn streetcar made its run in Toronto; Massey Hall was built; and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir was founded, presenting its
first concert in 1895. Throughout its 120-year history, and under the leadership of seven renowned conductors, the Choir has been acclaimed for its stunning performances of major choral repertoire and for its important role in the life of choral music in Canada.