The first of our New Ears reviews comes from the Noah Goodbaum, aka the Mighty Rhino, a Toront0-based rapper and writer, and was first published in the November issue of the Voice of Mendelssohn.
Michael Johnson, Concertonet.com: The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir proudly turns 120 this year, making it the oldest continuing musical organization in Toronto if not the country. Its Artistic Director since 1997, the 7th in its history, is Noel Edison.
Christina Strynatka, The Examiner: 4 stars. Well, that was quite some start to the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir's 120th season! After a much too long wait, the 129-strong choir started its 2014/2015 season on October 15 at the wonderfully acoustic Koerner Hall, an intimate stage space where there's not one bad seat and everything sounds just as lovely no matter where you are. It was a bit of a simple program, with Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass" and Mozart's "Requiem" on the playlist, with four soloists: Toronto Mendelssohn Choir soprano Lesley Bouza, and guests mezzo-soprano Anita Krause, tenor Charles Davidson and bass-baritone Sean Watson.
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.
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.
Mozart composed Ave Verum Corpus just six months before he died. In June 1791, his wife Constanze was pregnant with their sixth child. As was her habit when pregnant, she left Vienna to take the waters at the nearby spa in Baden. Mozart joined her a few days later and composed this short motet for an old friend – the music director of a tiny church in the town, who had looked after Constanze during her frequent trips to Baden.