David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews: Edison’s genius as Artistic Director lies not only in preparing his choir to an exceptional level of performance. He consistently finds music spanning five centuries that fits into a coherent package. Yesterday was no exception; each work was exquisite on its own, but the combination added up to a mystical experience.
The TMC launches its 2016/17 season by presenting the Grammy-nominated Elora Festival Singers in concert on October 16. In this season, celebrating Noel Edison’s 20th with the Choir, the TMC is proud to give audiences an opportunity to experience Noel’s internationally-acclaimed chamber choir, the Elora Festival Singers (the other half of his artistic life), in Toronto. The EFS will perform a cappella works by the Italian Renaissance master Palestrina and contemporary composers Arvo Pärt, John Tavener and Jocelyn Morlock.
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC) presents a season of inspiring choral music for 2016/17 – from an intimate a cappella performance to a grand oratorio with full orchestra. In November the Choir celebrates Noel Edison’s 20th season with one of his favourite works, Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah, at Koerner Hall.
Noel Edison has been widely recognized and appreciated by choristers, critics and patrons for his skillful interpretive work with both choir and orchestra. His vision for the TMC is to create performances that connect audiences emotionally with some of the greatest traditional and contemporary choral repertoire.
The 2013 Good Friday concert at St. Paul’s Basilica featured the Mendelssohn Singers, the 70-voice choir formed in 2003 from the ranks of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. As in previous Good Friday concerts, music from various eras was sung (in this case from the 16th to the 21st centuries) and once again the choir used various spaces within the church to wonderful effect.
Except for a couple of years at the Dresden Court, Antonio Lotti (c.1647-1740) spent his career in Venice, working his way up from singer to organist to maestro di cappella at St. Mark’s Basilica. Lotti was an innovative composer of almost thirty operas, but in his sacred music he tended to rely on the great traditions of Renaissance polyphony. J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel and Felix Mendelssohn all knew and admired his music. Today he is known almost exclusively for his many settings of the Crucifixus text from the Credo of the mass. Why he wrote so many has remained a mystery but it may have been for insertion into mass settings by other composers.
Throughout his life, Healey Willan claimed he was born with the ability to read music. As a choir boy in England, he studied singing, piano, organ, harmony and counterpoint and by the age of eleven was conducting choir practices. Willan continued on the path of a church musician in London, delighted by his natural gift for music.