The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, under the direction of Artistic Director Noel Edison, will present four subscription concerts during 2017/18 and will perform a number of great orchestral choral works with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as they mark Peter Oundjian’s final season. The TMC is making two important changes for this season. Three of the concerts will now be performed on two nights. And, new subscription pricing means the more concerts patrons purchase, the more they save.
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.
David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. The pared down version of the choir, The Mendelssohn Singers, sang the first half of the program from the balcony above and behind the nave. The positioning gave a wonderfully mystic effect to the music, allowing the audience to focus on the sounds that reverberated off the arched columns and the vaulted ceiling of the ornately decorated church. The music of Allegri, Pärt and Sanders all made use of plainsong and choral responses to give life to the texts. The recurring solo treble descants in Allegri's Miserere Mei, Deus were particularly beautiful, the high “C” ringing throughout the church. This was a cappella singing at its finest.
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir returns to the beautiful setting of St. Paul’s Basilica for its annual Good Friday concert of sacred choral music. This year, the Choir will present an all a cappella program, filling the Basilica with only the sound of 4-part and 8-part vocal harmony. There will be two performances: Wednesday April 12 and Good Friday, April 14, at 7:30 pm.
Noel loves the rich choral repertoire of the entire Easter season, and enjoys combining ancient music with contemporary. “The new has often been influenced by the old,” he says. “It’s like living in a modern house but with wonderful antique furnishings throughout. Both are worthy and both provide the sense of calm and personal reflection I love.”
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.
This performance isn’t so much like watching the crucifixion of Jesus as being told the story of the crucifixion of Jesus by a crew of storytellers. So rather than seeing things happen, we are instead told “This happened and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened,” which felt a very dispassionate way of communicating a Passion.
I appreciated this starkness and deliberateness. It felt like a respectful telling of a story that many of us might have grown up with, but wouldn’t be able to necessarily recite to someone ourselves. I liked that it didn’t demand an emotional investment from those in the audience who might not be believers, but instead presented a matter-of-fact telling of a usually melodramatic narrative.