Browsing: Choral

PROFILE: Interview with Ted Sperling, artistic director of MasterVoices (formerly the Collegiate Chorale); PREVIEW: MasterVoices’ new presentation of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion – Carnegie Hall, February 9, 2017. He’s soft-spoken, genial, elegantly self-possessed. It’s difficult to imagine him indulging in tirades, or hurling withering invective. He’s a nice guy. He’s also brilliant, prodigiously talented, professionally indefatigable, and apparently liked by everyone. Ted Sperling is, in short, a bit of a blessed paradox: probably the most mannerly guest at any dinner party, he is also one of today’s most accomplished, versatile – and, yes, passionate – practitioners of a craft…

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The Tree of Life Daniel Taylor & The Trinity Choir Sony 2016. 88985387032. 55 min. Its conspicuous ­release before Christmas is no accident: like the 2015 release of Four Thousand Winter, The Tree of Life is a selection of a capella Christmas pieces. Unlike the previous album, The Tree of Life is curated to lead the listener on a journey where stillness and silence are equal players to the music of ­Mouton, Tavener, Britten, Elizabeth Poston, Robert Parsons, and Pärt. On this disc, leading Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor is joined by soloists Jeremy Budd (treble), David Clegg (alto), Nicholas Pritchard…

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Two composers in despair, reaching deep into their souls. Arnold Schoenberg, a penniless refugee in Los Angeles in 1938, was commissioned by a liberal temple to make a modern version of the Yom Kippur introductory prayer. Dmitri Shostakovich, dying of lung cancer in 1974, wrote a song cycle for bass singer and piano from Michelangelo’s battle between public expectation and personal need. Together, the two works contains some of the darkest moments known to music. Schoenberg, unexpectedly, delivers confidence, hope and consolation. Without yielding to the temptations of simple faith or melody, he conjures serenity out of musical austerity by…

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NACO Opening The NAC Orchestra opens its 2016–17 season in the newly renovated Southam Hall with a very busy October, including several soloists not to be missed. On October 6 and 7, virtuoso Joshua Bell performs the Brahms Violin Concerto in a program that includes Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra. Music Director Alexander Shelley conducts after his 7PM pre-concert talk with music journalist Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer (Oct. 6 & 7, 8PM, NAC Southam Hall). www.nac-cna.ca Schumann and the Songwriters Angela Hewitt joins Shelley and the NACO for an evening of early Schumann and Beethoven for the first performance in the…

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by Renée Banville, Wah Keung Chan, and Kiersten van Vliet I Musici – Two Masterpieces Jean-Marie Zeitouni and his I Musici Chamber Orchestra invite us to meditate with Mahler’s sublime Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth), a “symphony for two voices and orchestra.” The six lieder are interpreted by soprano Michèle Losier and tenor Richard Cox. The program is completed with Beethoven’s Sixteenth Quartet, his final work (Oct. 12, 8PM, Salle Bourgie). www.imusici.com Violons du Roy – Marwood and Labadie Conductor and violinist Anthony Marwood will lead the Violins du Roy in their first concert of the…

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This month, Brian Current will experience something many composers would envy: the premiere and recording of one of his major works by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The $50,000 Azrieli Prize enabled him to compose The Seven Heavenly Halls for solo tenor, choir and orchestra. The composer talked to La Scena Musicale about this work and his career. Like many musicians, Brian Current first learned piano as a child. “I was lucky my parents were so persistent and constantly got me to practice, even when I didn’t want to,” he says. “My parents weren’t musicians by profession, but they sang in…

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Opera Montreal’s opera season begins with the Opéra de Montréal’s Aida on September 17. Running until the 24, the show features Kamen Chanev (Radames), Olesya Petrova (Amneris), Gregory Dahl (Amonasro), Phillipe Ens (Ramfis), Anatoli Sivko (The King of Egypt), with Russian soprano Anna Markarova in the title role. Paul Nadler conducts. The November production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni features the return of Canadian bass-baritone Gordon Bintner to the Opéra de Montréal stage as the philandering anti-hero. Includes an all-Canadian cast of Daniel Okulitch (Leporello), Emily Dorn (Donna Anna), Jean-Michel Richer (Don Ottavio), Layla Claire (Donna Elvira), as well as up-and-coming…

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Although Nicolaus Bruhns was only 32 when he died, he left behind a crucial body or work that greatly influenced the young Johann Sebastian Bach, as is evident in the similarities between Bach’s early cantatas and Bruhns’s works. Bruhns’s music feels soothing and enlightening from the moment we start listening. Musically speaking, the concertante and vocal styles combine the varied rhythms and moods in a satisfying way. Although they are separated by more than a century and in a different style, the pathos in his vocal declamations and funereal poetic expression seem to foreshadow Schubert’s lieder. And, like that of…

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CONCERTS: Puccini “Beyond Verismo” at Bard SummerScape 2016 OPERA: Tosca at Opera North Puccini qua, Puccini là! Arguably the most popular and successful opera composer in history has been enjoying his typical ubiquity this summer, as a single weekend’s sampling around the Northeast United States will demonstrate. Friday, August 12 saw the closing performance of the maestro’s Tosca as rendered by Opera North (Lebanon, New Hampshire) in a taut, handsome production. And at Bard College’s final weekend of SummerScape 2016 (Dutchess County, New York), three full days of programming (August 12 through 14) were dedicated to winding up an exploration of…

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+ Cleveland Classical talks with guitarist Denis Azabagić about winning prizes, his wife and duo partner flautist Eugenia Moliner, and practice philosophy. “I remember when I came to the U.S. more than a decade ago. I opened the yellow pages and found an ad that said, ‘Learn to play the piano without practice.’ I thought, who in the world could put out such an ad? I mean how can you lie like that — because that’s impossible. We would all like to get our things in life the easy way, but music is something that certainly doesn’t happen like that.…

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