Toronto Symphony Remembers Afghanistan War With Deeply Moving Tribute

John Terauds, ludwig van Toronto

Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation. Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Toronto Children’s Chorus, and soloists. Tania Miller, conductor. Roy Thomson Hall. Nov, 9. Repeats Nov. 11.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Remembrance Day concert program is ambitious this year, in design as well as content. It is daring, as well, inviting audiences for the local premiere of a five-year-old work by a Canadian composer few people outside new music circles have heard of. So it is particularly heartening to report that the program worked like a charm at its first performance on Thursday night at Roy Thomson Hall, and that this new work, Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, by composer Jeffrey Ryan and poet Suzanne Steele is compelling, powerful stuff. …

The second half of the program belonged to Ryan and Steele’s 60-minute Requiem, with full orchestra and four vocal soloists augmented by the always-excellent Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Toronto Children’s Chorus. Soprano Measha Brueggergosman, mezzo Allyson McHardy, tenor Colin Ainsworth and baritone Brett Poegato did excellent work with what was often difficult singing, bringing genuine emotion to the text.

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