HAMMER BAROQUE creates an ambiance of spring Reply

Review by Judith CaldwellreviewerJudith
     Spring has arrived. Beautiful Easter music was masterfully performed in Hammer Baroque’s concert, ‘Easter in Leipzig’. A powerfully hopeful message was presented by The Spiritus Ensemble – a mix of established musicians and students from the Kitchener/Waterloo area -consisting of the choral introduction to Bach’s Cantata Six and the entire Cantatas Sixty-Six and Four.
The Ensemble consists of a 16 voice choir plus an orchestra of strings, oboes, bassoon, trumpet and organ. They created an authentic Baroque concert under Artistic Director Kenneth Hall, performed without intermission, so as not to interrupt the spiritual mood.

The HAMMER BAROQUE singers

The HAMMER BAROQUE soloist singers

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Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Soars! Reply

Review by David RichardsReviewerDave-R
Good Friday at St. Paul’s Catholic Church was the perfect day and place for a concert by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. The choir made wonderful use of the church’s magnificent acoustics, not to mention the elaborately decorated sanctuary. The concert of sacred music in such beautiful surroundings, on this special day, made the spirits soar. If Good Friday was meant to send a message of peace, hope and love to mankind, then the Mendelssohn Choir was an inspirational messenger.
William Byrd’s, Mass in Four Voices, comprised the first half of a program of sacred music.    Photo courtesy of  Brian Summers

Mendelssohn choir members rehearsing

Mendelssohn choir members rehearsing

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“And He Shall Reign” -Handel’s “Messiah” Reply

Review by Ailine Hessreviewer Ailine Hess
     A full performance of Handel’s Oratorio, “Messiah”, took place on Sunday, at Pioneer Memorial United Church in Hamilton. The orchestra and singers of Arcady under the direction of Ronald Beckett performed this masterpiece. Handel composed this work in 24 days, the libretto for the oratorio was arranged by Charles Jennens with lyrics drawn from the ‘King James Bible’ with the first performance in April 1741 In Dublin followed by a performance in London approximately a year later. The Arcady performance this evening was a similar size to the choir and the orchestra in Dublin.

The ARCADY singers performing Handel's MESSIAH

The ARCADY singers performing Handel’s MESSIAH

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“MESSIAH”; Musikay’s version Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
If the mention of Handel’s Messiah conjures up images of a huge choir trying to drown out the organ while they belt out choral pieces, then I have news for you, there is a much more nuanced and approachable version available; last evening the 13 voice choir of professional singers called Musikay plus four soloists and a nine piece orchestra – including the necessary trumpets – offered a precise and thoughtful rendition under the direction of Stephane Potvin. The soloists; soprano Catherine Arcand-Pinette, Madison Arsenault, alto; tenor Michael P. Taylor, and Maciej Bujnowicz, bass were wonderful.

The MUSIKAY choristers; Soloists and director Potvin

The MUSIKAY choristers; Soloists and director Potvin

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“MESSIAH”, the Bach-Elgar singalong version Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell reviewerJudith

As a reviewer one is asked to critique several Messiahs each year, so it is nice to find ‘different’ versions.  The Bach Elgar Choir offered a Sing Along version on Sunday afternoon which was actually good fun.  It is impossible to maintain the usual contemplative mood when the audience is required to stand and sing the choruses, especially when so many have good voices and obviously enjoy using them.  This was an interactive, user friendly Messiah sung by four soloists, a choir who had rehearsed and an audience,  all ably led by Artistic Director Alexander Cann.

Bernal; Clemenger; Ludwig & Cyfko - the BACH-ELGAR soloists

Bernal; Clemenger; Ludwig & Cyfko – the BACH-ELGAR soloists

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Bach Elgar Choir; entertaining & educational 1

Review by Judith Caldwell
Last night the Bach Elgar Choir offered an evening of choral works from two very different centuries. The first half of the concert was Italian Renaissance music from the 16th century and the second half was a 20th century Requiem of Maurice Durufle. Initially the choir were in the choir stalls and were accompanied by a brass sextet ensemble and the organ as they sang a Monteverdi piece in six parts. It was a lovely piece but the acoustics were not good and the echoes blurred the sound.

Richard Cunningham, of the Bach-Elgar Choir

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