Handel’s “SAMSON”; not just a concert – an experience Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Handel composed twenty-nine oratorios but one composition stands so far out from the pack as to almost render the others insignificant. Everyone knows ‘Messiah’, but ‘Esther’ is also a creative work and so is SAMSON! Composed in 1741, it is a respectful and empathetic retelling of the Old Testament’s last ruling judge before the establishment of King David (Judges 13-16). The work is ambitious to stage; difficult to perform; and more than just diversion for the audience – it’s an experience. Statistics: – MASTERWORKS of OAKVILLE has assembled thirty-two musicians; seventy-seven choir members; four soloists and eleven members of St. Andrew’s Children’s Choir chamber team. 

The MASTERWORKS orchestra & choir awaiting maestro Demuynck

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Bach Elgar Choir does Gilbert & Sullivan Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
The Bach Elgar Choir, plus soloists Julie Ludwig, soprano, mezzo Jennifer Enns-Modolo, Thomas Macleay, tenor and baritone Jesse Clark presented a wonderful, fun evening of Gilbert & Sullivan at the Cotton Factory on Sherman. The evening began with accompanist Krista Rhodes and conductor Alexander Cann playing the Overture from the Mikado as a piano duet. This established the bare bones approach, high lighting accomplished musicianship, which characterized the evening. Rhodes is often overlooked when it comes to accolades because she is frequently not noticed, so it was a real treat to hear her in the duet.

The Bach Elgar choir doing some “G & S” excerpts

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“Messiah”, Bach Elgar’s 2017 version Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
Messiah is an event that defines the Christmas season. The Bach Elgar Choir has been singing for 113 years and have offered the oratorio through most of those years including 2017. Guest conductor Howard Dyck, with soloists Agnes Zsigovics, soprano, mezzo Allyson McHardy, Colin Ainsworth, tenor, and bassist Sean Watson, the choir, and a 19-piece orchestra presented the full version of Messiah on Saturday night and a shorter sing-along version on Sunday afternoon at Melrose United Church. The church has good acoustics but the pews are quite uncomfortable for a long concert. though it was written as an Easter Oratorio, it tells of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Bach Elgar interpreting Handel’s MESSIAH

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Legacy of Healey Willan, a special Bach Elgar concert Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

The Bach Elgar Choir presented a program entitled ‘The Legacy of Healey Willan’. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of his death so Healey Willan concerts will abound, but Bach Elgar got in first. Although he was born and grew up in England, Willan has been claimed as a great Canadian composer because he moved to Toronto in 1913 to take up a position as Head of Theory at the Conservatory of Music. He then became organist at St. Paul’s on Bloor Street where he composed, taught and performed leaving a very large legacy of musical achievement.

 stamps honoring Emma Albani & Healey Willan

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“HPO Remembers”, consulare tenebris, solennes adque arcebant * Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin
The serendipitous alignment of Nov. 11th ’17 falling on a Saturday meant having the Hamilton Philharmonic present it’s traditional Remembrance Day event after the emotional catharsis of the city’s & (Country’s conventional) recognizance of the day’s significance. With the ritual and pomp of the Regimental Band of the ‘RHLI’s’ accompanied by a pipe band opening the evening, the two novel and contemporary compositions, the mood and mind-set of the audience was posited and ready for Mozart’s Requiem Mass, performed by the orchestra; 4 soloists and the Bach-Elgar Choir.

l-r: – Mercer; Nesrallah; New; Wiliford & Fanning performing the ‘Tuba Mirum’

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“Choral Spectacular”, NAO’s terrific Festival closer 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

The Brott National Academy Orchestra finished its 30th season with a superlative concert; four featured soloists and seventy-four choir-members selected from dozens of diverse venues – all coming together as one coordinated unit. The magic required to accomplish such a feat was contributed by chorus manager Paul Hawkins and under the mastership of Stephane Potvin. The latter is artistic director of MUSIKAY, a small ensemble whose popularity is growing with each season, but the challenge of creating something tenfold in size boggles the mind. It would be egregious not to mention the challenge facing the podium – choral group AND an orchestra.

Bradley, Segal, MacMaster & Westman performing ‘Ode to Joy with the NAO & Chorus

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