David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s successful season is coming to an end this week with four performances of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. The orchestra has been on a whirlwind for the final six weeks of its schedule with a four country tour of Israel and Europe, two brilliant weeks with Sir Andrew Davis conducting, and the Decades Project concerts that have already included riveting performances of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins. Of course in early June, Sir Andrew Davis was announced as Interim Music Director for two years following Peter Oundjian’s departure in June 2018. All this activity has led to a climactic finale with four performances from last night through to Saturday.
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.
Read the full review here.