Ken Stephen, Large Stage Live!. The combined forces of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Youth Choir acquitted themselves magnificently throughout the cantata, from the majestic opening cry of O Fortuna to the rapid-fire yet still completely clear diction of In taberna quando sumus or Veni, veni, venias. The steadiness of the tone was noteworthy and the choral blend across the full dynamic range was an unfailing delight.
Joseph So, ludwig van Toronto. From the downbeat of “O Fortuna” onwards, it was a sonic journey of extraordinary impact. Sometimes this piece can come across as a tad bombastic, but under Runnicles’s baton, it was plenty loud but never overdone. There were moments of subtlety, underscoring the inherent lyricism of the work. But at the climaxes, it was thrilling, thanks to the inspired playing by the TSO, notably the brass and the woodwinds. ...
And what can I say about the three choirs, except that they are the best. It was headed by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, surely a national treasure. The torrents of sounds were thrilling, full-bodied, incisive, rhythmically precise, exactly the way it should sound. The ending, a recap of the opening “O Fortuna,” was exhilarating, bringing the audience to its feet.
Leslie Barcza, barczablog. I’ve heard a lot of versions of Carmina Burana and must recommend Runnicles’ distinctive interpretation. He connects the sections together rather than making big pauses, he pushes the tempi in the quicker passages, which is especially electrifying if you get your percussion & brass to opt for clear & crisp attacks. You won’t hear a better performance. This orchestra is in fine form coming towards the last few concerts of the year (this week & next).
Credit too must go to David Fallis, who has the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir matching Runnicles’ requirements for clarity. The text was pristine, the dynamics sometimes beautifully restrained except in the big climaxes, so that the performance had more shape than usual (more than last time certainly). The soft singing still had great intensity, diction and consonants and energy but without being loud all the time. As a result? Extraordinary. If I could go see every concert this week, I would.
Joseph So, Musical Toronto. Indeed, energy and passion were what defined the performance on Friday night. Peter Oundjian threw himself into the monumental work, conducting with a deft baton. Most importantly, there was a real sense of joy, something lovely to see. With appropriately brisk tempi, he raised the musical temperature to a scorching level: exciting, yes; raw, never! From the very striking opening of “O Fortuna,” one is completely drawn into the drama. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir sang with impressive power, energy and incisiveness. I was particularly struck by how youthful the women sounded, almost like a treble choir – and I mean that in a good way! The Toronto Children’s Chorus provided the proper sound of innocence, so important in this piece.
David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s masterpiece of ritualistic primitivism, the main event of the week’s concerts, was everything one could hope for. The performance was a tour de force. Peter Oundjian led the orchestra, choirs and soloists through the medieval poetic settings paying homage to the ebb and flow of “fortune”. The celebration of spring time, the decadence of life in the tavern and the joys and sorrows of love-making all took their turn. The large orchestra that included two pianos and five percussionists filled the hall with rhythmic drive, virtuosic passages and subtle melancholy. The work held its high energy throughout the full hour of intense music making. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir was in fine form in both the explosive O Fortuna choruses and the delicate a capella sections.Toronto Children’s Chorus added to the large choral sound and had some tender moments of its own.
Taylor Long, Broadway World Toronto. Following the suspense of watching over one hundred choir members enter the hall - Orff's CARMINA BURANA begins. "O Fortuna" may be one of the most popular pieces of classical music, but I can't recall if I've ever heard it sung with such incomparably crisp diction. Oundjian makes CARMINA BURANA extremely exciting in the way he drives the tempo and skillfully manipulates the work's dynamics. The work has a wonderful flow to it, adding to the excitement - some moments are serene and hushed, before being interrupted by jubilant fanfare.
John Gilks, operaramblings. After the interval it was Carl Orff’s well known reworking of a bunch of medieval scribblings; the Carmina Burana. Variously sexually explicit, scatological and just plain daft it is, above all tremendous fun. It got a fine performance from the orchestra, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Toronto Children’s Chorus and a trio of...
I must give my highest praise to the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, surely a national treasure. Every time I see them, I always think - "they've outdone themselves this time." And then the next time I see them, I want to say the same thing.
John Terauds, Musical Toronto The feature draw was an all-stops-pulled performance of Carl Orff’s modern classic from 1936, Carmina Burana. The Toronto Symphony was joined by 116 members of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, three-and-a-half-dozen young voices of the Toronto Children’s Chorus, Romanian-born soprano Valentina Farcas, American tenor Nicholas Phan and Canadian baritone James Westman. Music...