English  

Glowing Dixit Dominus Review


.....Concluding its fourth annual Fall Baroque Academy, an eventful 3-day program of lectures, workshops and master classes for advanced students, the University of Toronto Faculty of Music thrilled a capacity audience last Sunday with a stirring performance of Handel’s seminal masterwork. Ringing and impassioned, a double choir and orchestra of students supplemented by an impactful cohort of seasoned soloists, choristers and players filled Trinity College Chapel with musical magic.

An eclectic selection of popular art songs and arias spanning the mid 20th century to the Baroque all dedicated to special guest, noted U of T musicologist Professor Emerita Mary Ann Parker, adorned the first half of the program. Unexpectedly stepping from the wings, Head of Early Music Historic Performance, charismatic countertenor Daniel Taylor partnered by Quebec soprano sensation Karina Gauvin contributed a delightful unscheduled piece - Handel’s delicious Scherzano sul tuo volto - Your face abounds with grace and charm from the 18th century London-based maestro’s early Italian-flavoured hit, Rinaldo. Trippingly played by a 15-member period orchestra, a goodly number of players strikingly familiar from both Tafelmusik and Theatre of Early Music gatherings, the endearing little love duet led by violinist Jeanne Lamon quite simply sparkled, setting the stage for a sequence of similarly stellar visitor appearances prior to the main event...

And then, filing into the handsome neo-Gothic nave - the 44 choristers of Dixit Dominus. Commandingly led by Taylor, choir and ensemble excelled, launching the first of nine discrete movements, Dixit Dominus Domine meo, with thoroughly arresting crispness and crunch. Part II, an extended solo for alto, Virgam virtutis, provided marked contrast, sung with great poise and tranquility by Szabó making an engaging return appearance. Handel’s gorgeous anthem for lyric soprano, Tecum principum, brilliantly written in catchy triplets, brought Karina Gauvin gloriously front and centre again. Parts IV and V propelled us to a place of profound certitude, affecting and uplifting, choir and orchestra united and assertive. The Lord has sworn an oath and will not repent it. Punctuated by a flurry of brief, vibrant solos courtesy Schola Cantorum sopranos Lindsay McIntyre and Sinéad White, mezzo Camille Rogers and guest tenor Asitha Tennekoon, Dominus a dextris tuis unleashed its crescendo of righteous fervour, bass-baritone Matthew Li imparting a particularly emphatic note of exclamation. Heathens duly dispatched in a stunning volley of sharp arpeggios and chords in Part VII, chorus driving and explosive. Student sopranos Kayla Ruiz and White gifted us with a shining, silvery rendition of, De torrente, a heartrendingly beautiful duet as moving as it is mysterious. .....Transported to the more familiar sacred geography of the Gloria, the performance soared to its conclusion on repeated upsweeps of harmony, singers and players charged with energy, the chapel filled with gladness.

Understatement was never George Frideric’s style. But drama and excitement most certainly was as Taylor and company made abundantly clear.

Ian Ritchie
Operagoing Toronto
For Complete Review : Operagoing Toronto

 

The Countertenor Madness Concert

Concert will hit all the high notes
Friday, October 5, 2018 at 7:30pm
Kingston Road United Church
975 Kingston Road, Toronto, ON M4E 1T1

photo of Dan and his 4 countertenors 2018

From left to right: César Aguilar, Ryan McDonald, Ian Sabourin, Benjamin Shaw, Daniel Taylor and Miguel Brito will perform at Countertenor Madness on Oct. 5. PHOTO: Karen E. Reeves

Countertenor (Noun) "of or being the highest male voice; having a range above that of the tenor."
Ever heard one? If not, now is your chance. The Kingston Road Village Concert Series (KRVCS) will kick off its 2018-19 concert series with a bang.
The Countertenor Madness concert on Friday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m. will showcase five countertenors in a one-of-a-kind extravaganza. It is rare enough to have one countertenor roaming around, but it is almost unheard of to have five in the same concert. This is possibly one of the only times you will hear such a unique event.
Local businesswoman Mary Gore (in partnership with her husband Bob of Robert Gore and Associates) has raised the funds necessary to bring these artists to our community, even flying tenor Jesús Cortés from Mexico for the concert.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra bassist and KRVCS Music Director Tim Dawson dreamed up this unusual event, bringing together world-renowned countertenor Daniel Taylor with four of his countertenor pupils: César Aguilar, Benjamin Shaw, Ian Sabourin and Ryan McDonald.
The concert will feature a varied program. You’ll hear some standard countertenor repertoire and a few more modern works.
All of these singers are currently pursuing graduate or postgraduate degrees at the University of Toronto. They have been recognized for their beautiful voices across Canada and around the world.
"This concert marks the first time that they have all performed together" said Mary. "Two special guests will also be appearing as part of this wonderful evening. Mexican musicians pianist Miguel Brito and tenor Jesús Cortés will present an homage to Mexico along with César Aguilar, as part of the concert."

You will not want to miss this evening of glorious music.
Tickets are $25 at the door or through : Eventbrite.com

Beach Metro News Sept 19th 2018
HTTP://WWW.BEACHMETRO.COM/2018/09/19/CONCERT-WILL-HIT-ALL-THE-HIGH-NOTES-OCT-5/

 

2018 Festival Musique et autres mondes : Revue du gala d’ouverture.

Daniel Taylor’s Theatre of Early Music performed a patrician, semi-staged version of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Ottawa mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta was the star attraction as Dido. Taylor wisely underlined her singular energy and vocal distinctiveness: dressing her in creamy white while keeping everyone else in black; isolating her onstage, minimizing her physical interactions with the other singers. Instead, two contemporary dancers, the riveting Bill Coleman and Carol Prieur, served as the physical avatars for passion, sensuality and betrayal. It was really the only approach that allowed this strange marriage to work.
Geoffrey Sirett was an enormously impressive Aeneas. Sirett adopts a less is more philosophy. His velvety, tea-stained baritone is grounded in luxurious legato and judicious use of falsetto for expressive effect.
The rest of the ensemble was marvellous, including Larissa Koniuk’s sweetly affecting Belinda, Benjamin Butterfield’s hilariously inappropriate drunken sailor, and Taylor’s own creepy, campy Sorcerer. Choral movements were finely etched, with especially beautiful echo effects. The small instrumental ensemble, led by violinist Adrian Butterfield, provided a softly shimmering backdrop for the singers.

NATASHA GAUTHIER
5 juillet 2018

http://artsfile.ca/review-music-and-beyonds-kicks-off-with-a-night-of-marvellous-musical-contrasts/

Daniel Taylor: chant choral... sur le chemin du paradis

photo of Dan and choir

Si tant de mélomanes québécois et canadiens apprécient la tessiture du contre-ténor, c’est en grande partie grâce à Daniel Taylor. Suave et incarnée, sa voix haut perchée nous envoûte depuis plus de deux décennies, et ce, à travers une quarantaine d’albums.
De surcroît chef de choeur rigoureux et respecté, directeur artistique inspiré, véritable leader esthétique, le chanteur canadien est à la barre du Trinity Choir et du choeur et de l’orchestre du Theatre of Early Music (TEM). Les approches de ces formations consistent à amalgamer les plus belles oeuvres chorales du XVesiècle à aujourd’hui, oeuvres souvent oubliées et remises en lumière... cette fois à Montréal, où il a vécu deux décennies et où il garde un pied-à-terre - il enseigne désormais à l’Université de Toronto, il y réside principalement pour honorer sa tâche.
Le programme de sa prestation dominicale se fonde en bonne part sur la matière tant appréciée d’un album lancé en décembre dernier par le Trinity Choir, soit de la même famille élargie : sous étiquette Sony Classical, le sublimissime The Path to Paradise y soude le présent et le lointain passé.
La chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours sera ainsi habitée par les compositeurs Arvo Pärt (1935-), John Tavener (1944-2013), John Sheppard (1515-1558) et Willam Byrd (1540-1623), notamment. Pour Daniel Taylor et ses collègues, cette surimpression d’époques fonctionne parfaitement, bien qu’elle mise d’abord sur une quête musicale aux XVe, XVIe et XVIIe siècles.
"Cette relation avec la musique du lointain passé, explique Daniel Taylor au bout du fil, provient de l’influence qu’exerçait sur moi le regretté Christopher Jackson [fondateur et directeur artistique du Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal]. Je l’ai connu à ma première année d’université, nous sommes devenus amis, nous avons ensuite beaucoup voyagé ensemble. En plus d’être un grand musicien et un grand directeur artistique, Christopher était un homme d’une profondeur exceptionnelle, avec qui on pouvait discuter de tout : actualité, histoire, philosophie, etc. "
Cette relation de Daniel Taylor avec feu Christopher Jackson l’a également incité à intégrer l’humanité dans sa pratique artistique.
" Ce que je recherche dans le répertoire choral et dans les musiques mises en relief par les ensembles auxquels je suis associé, c’est le facteur humain. Très ancien ou très récent, le chant peut illustrer la persécution et la souffrance, mais aussi l’espoir et la révélation. " Daniel Taylor
C’est pourquoi, d’ailleurs, il intègre régulièrement dans ses concerts les musiques de compositeurs contemporains tels John Tavener et Arvo Pärt, dont les concepts rythmiques sont inextricablement liés au rythme cardiaque.
Tavener et Pärt s’avérant de véritables mystiques au XXIe siècle, leur oeuvre peut fort bien se fondre dans un corpus de musiques anciennes, dont l’inspiration était très souvent (sinon exclusivement) religieuse.
Mais il y a plus encore : "Tant de grands penseurs et concepteurs artistiques s’intéressent aux rituels, souligne Daniel Taylor. En ce qui me concerne, ce n’est vraiment pas facile d’évoquer cette dimension rituelle dans un album de 60 minutes ou dans un concert, mais cela reste possible, je crois."
Travail de recherche
Les grandes qualités des concerts ou enregistrements de Daniel Taylor résident dans la rigueur de sa quête d’oeuvres à la fois sublimes et obscures.
"Je fouille dans les librairies ou les bibliothèques, la liste de mes découvertes s’allonge au fil des ans, raconte-t-il. Prenons In Monte Oliveti, d’Orlando di Lassus [1532-1594]. Je n’avais jamais entendu cette pièce magnifique avant de la découvrir à la bibliothèque. J’ai aussi visité le mont des Oliviers en Israël. Arrivé sur place, pourtant, ce n’est pas si grandiose... Dans le cas de cette représentation mystique, le trajet importe davantage que l’arrivée. "
Très souvent en tournée, le chanteur et directeur artistique aime diriger des ensembles dont le personnel peut varier autour d’un noyau stable de collaborateurs.
"J’aime que les interprètes, recrutés surtout au Canada, restent frais et alertes tout en s’inscrivant dans une même esthétique sonore. Si nous nous produisons à l’étranger, cependant, nous pouvons y accueillir une part de chanteurs issus des pays où nous nous produisons."
La facture sonore est primordiale pour Daniel Taylor. "Pour le concept The Path to Paradise, par exemple, j’ai recruté des ténors qui chantent particulièrement haut, ce qui confère au choeur un son d’ensemble conforme à ce qu’avaient en tête les compositeurs du XVIe siècle figurant à notre répertoire. C’est pourquoi, d’ailleurs, on trouve dans ce choeur plus de voix masculines que d’ordinaire. Les sopranos jouent aussi un rôle prépondérant dans l’affaire et ajoutent à la séduction. J’ose croire que nous sommes capables de suggérer une véritable expérience et de toucher les gens."

Publié le 25 février 2018
ALAIN BRUNET La Presse
http://www.lapresse.ca/arts/musique/entrevues/201802/25/01-5155203-daniel-taylor-chant-choral-sur-le-chemin-du-paradis.php

 

1 Mars 2018: Une réflexion touchante sur dimanche dernier

Quand je m’évade dans la mesure
notes personnelles et discours musical de Josée Gagnon


Grande sensibilité. Clarté du geste vocal. On entend l’espace qui s’ouvre. Une acuité joyeuse coule à travers les sens. On perçoit tout, sons et silences. L’esprit se calme. La posture change. Dans cette qualité d’écoute, chacune des voix se révèle dans son infinie justesse. Chacune livrant sa couleur propre et essentielle à l’équilibre de l’ensemble. L’oreille capte les sons feutrés qui cèdent bientôt à la tempête d’un crescendo flamboyant. Le volume sonore nous pénètre sans jamais écraser. Il nous enveloppe, il nous tient en alerte. Comme une arrivée au sommet, au terme d’une longue ascension, quand le coeur respire et s’apaise, absorbé par l’étendue du vide, ébloui devant la beauté de l’espace, à perte de vue, à pleine oreille.
Le chef de choeur inspire à cette synergie créatrice. Il l’invite à travers ses gestes. Il s’en nourrit et la provoque tout à la fois. Il conduit les voix et notre écoute dans un même mouvement de perfection. Il révèle l’expression juste de l’oeuvre à ce moment-ci, dans cette salle, avec ce public. Dans cette pression atmosphérique et cette humidité de fin février, il offre la texture parfaite pour cet espace acoustique exceptionnel. Dans la pure magie de cette rencontre, chaque membre de l’auditoire devient complice des oeuvrent qui se créent ce soir-là. Dans la vague du son et de l’écoute, les émotions dansent, toutes personnelles, intimes mais reliées tout autant.
Assise droite sur mon banc de bois au fond de l’église, je m’intéresse un bon moment aux gestes du chef, Daniel Taylor. J’observe ce dos et ces mains qui scandent le mouvement. Je les suis des yeux un long moment. C’est calme, précis, entier. Je m’évade dans la mesure. J’entre dans la partition. Je navigue dans la mouvance des voix qui libèrent leur arsenal de grandeur et de beauté.
Et la dernière pièce s’achève. Le rappel se termine. Les voix touchent le silence. Les musiciens se tournent. Saluts. Applaudissements. Le public se lève. Rituel. Transition. Ça bouge, ça parle. Chacun, chacune revêtit le manteau de sa vie et retourne pas à pas dans la ville. Un dimanche soir à Montréal. La ville au cent clochers. La ville aux mille festivals.
Je rentre chez moi. J’écris ces lignes. Comme un besoin de transmettre comment l’art existe. Comment il transforme et anime femmes, hommes et enfants qui le vivent, le créent, le ressentent, l’accueillent. Et parce que l’art existe, peut-être que l’humanité a encore une chance.

Ces notes ont été écrites à la sortie du spectacle de musique THE PATH TO PARADISE,
de Daniel Taylor et le Theatre of Early Music, présenté à la Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours,
dans le Vieux-Montréal, le 25 février 2018, dans le cadre du Festival Montréal en Lumière

 

Juno Nomination pour "Tree of Life",
Trinity Choir avec Daniel Taylor!

photo of Trinity choir students

Février 2018:

Félicitations pour votre nomination à un prix Juno à Daniel Taylor et aux chanteurs du Trinity Choir, y compris certaines des jeunes étoiles (de gauche à droite):
Bronwyn Thies-Thompson, Rebecca Genge, Ellen McAteer, Emma Hannan et Ryan Patrick McDonald de l’Université de Toronto

Voici la liste des nominations aux prix Juno pour 2018 :
Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance :

1. The Tree of Life, Daniel Taylor with The Trinity Choir
2. Crazy Girl Crazy, Barbara Hannigan with Ludwig Orchestra
3. Aeterna: Mother of Light: Isabel Bayrakdarian with Coro Vox
4. Schubert Sessions: Lieder with Guitar, Philippe Sly & John Charles Britton
5. In the Stream of Life: Songs by Sibelius, Gerald Finley with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra


2018 Gagnant : Crazy Girl Crazy, Barbara Hannigan with Ludwig Orchestra

 

Fall Baroque Academy : Giulio Cesare (Highlights) Review

photo of 2017 baroque Academy concert

On an unseasonably hot September night, in an exquisite Gothic Revival chapel, an irrepressible 18th century composer sent the collective enthusiasm of early music students soaring last Sunday, singers and instrumentalists spirited partners in a courageous concert of daring proportions. Highlighting excerpts from George Frideric Handel’s dazzling 1724 operatic masterpiece, Giulio Cesare, the University of Toronto Faculty of Music’s Fall Baroque Academy provided ample occasions for emerging artists to shine...... Trinity College Chapel rang with passion.

Supported by an unfailingly buoyant 12-player student ensemble, augmented by a handful of imported professionals, sensitively conducted from the ranks by guest Music Director Jeanne Lamon, the 14 members of founder Daniel Taylor’s remarkable Schola Cantorum took command of 11 distinct arias. Primarily featured as soloists, occasionally in duets, singers provided context, each precising moments of salient libretto, Giulio Cesare play by play.

Asked about his perception of his role as Head of Historical Performance in a brief one-on-one post concert conversation, a smiling Maestro Taylor said simply, "not to educate the feeling and creativity away." Judging from the boundless energy and tireless commitment of his students, he and his Academy colleagues must surely be overjoyed by the scope of their success. The capacity audience in attendance at Trinity College most certainly was.

Posted on September, 2017 by Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto

Complete review: http://operagoto.com/fall-baroque-academy-giulio-cesare-highlights-review/

 

 

Magnificat Review

photo of Dan and Peter Phillips

Sometime in the early 1600s.......German composer and organist Hieronymus Praetorius wrote his Magnificat V, one in a series of Magnificat settings for multiple voices all arranged in towering polyphony. Almost 400 years later, contemporary Estonian symphonist Arvo Pärt blended the intricate Renaissance form with elements of Gregorian chant and Russian Orthodox harmony to create a uniquely reshaped Magnificat, stark, solemn, strikingly reverent.
What surprises is not so much the breadth of the historical gulf separating the two works, but the depth of resonance that unites them, a shared sense of acute spirituality expressed in vivid human overtones.

Presenting both pieces, the first foreshadowing the second, internationally acclaimed period virtuosi, the Tallis Scholars, led by Peter Phillips launched a dazzling evening of sacred music at St. Paul’s Basilica on Saturday. A vibrant choral sampler, the lush offerings essentially reflected parallel modes of expression over the centuries revealed in four distinct Christian texts.
Alternating with Phillips as conductor, University of Toronto Head of Historical Performance, renowned countertenor Daniel Taylor, joined by artists of the Choir of the Theatre of Early Music augmented and expanded the repertoire in a glorious demonstration of exquisitely detailed programming.

More finely filigreed singing was much in evidence post intermission with four variants of Ave Maria, the first performed in a single appearance by members of U of T Faculty of Music’s Schola Cantorum led by Taylor. Theatrically assembled in two ranks flanking St. Paul’s great domed Victorian nave, the visibly excited cohort of student choristers gave rich balanced voice to a heartfelt rendition of the hallowed plea written by an anonymous author.

The Nunc Dimittis, an exultant proclamation of the birth of the Infant Jesus, concluded the evening in historically varied guise. A quasi madrigal written in glowing counterpoint by Orlando Gibbons. A short work by Spanish polyphonist Andrés de Torrentes. A spectacular swelling iteration for double choir by the brilliant 20th century orchestral colourist, Gustav Holst.
The Tallis Scholars ended as magnificently as they had begun, utterly triumphant, gifting us with Claudio Monteverdi’s irrepressibly joyful motet, Cantate Domino by way of an encore.
This was a concert of extraordinary dimensions, a spine tingling leap across time, astutely curated, superbly sung, stirring and intense. In this, the holiest season in the Christian calendar, Phillips, Taylor and artists remind us that music like faith can be powerfully transformative.

Publié par Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto, Mars 2017

Revue de concert originale: http://operagoto.com/category/review/

 

 

Tallis Scholars & friends: Magnificat

Tonight felt like a kind of affirmation of permanence in the face of change and disorder in the world.
The Tallis Scholars, conducted by Peter Phillips, joined forces with two University of Toronto ensembles, Schola Cantorum and Theatre of Early Music, conducted by Daniel Taylor. While the repertoire ranged from the renaissance to our own century, we were listening to unaccompanied choral music, using religious texts: Magnificat, Pater noster, Ave Maria and Nunc Dimittis, all in multiple settings.

St Paul’s Basilica at Queen & Power was packed with eager listeners, attracted no doubt by Tallis Scholars’ wonderful discography, but also perhaps aware of the new kids in town, Taylor’s two ensembles that shared the program and are now also recording for SONY. The acoustic plus the visuals are a dream come true for musicians presenting this kind of program.

For a few of the pieces we saw the combined forces, as in Praetorius’ Magnificat V to begin or Holst’s Ninc Dimittis to close the program. ......the singing is very direct and without excess vibrato (as you’d find in styles from later periods). The notes, especially the ones sung way up high are totally exposed, and requiring nothing less than perfection of intonation. I shall investigate further: through the magic of recordings.

Publié mars, 2017 par Barczablog

Revue de concert originale: https://barczablog.com/2017/03/

 

 

Nomination au prix Juno pour
Four Thousand Winter, The Trinity Choir avec Daniel Taylor

photo of Trinity choir students

7 février 2017: Daniel Taylor écrit:

" Un cri à mes chanteurs du Trinity Choir
(y compris certaines des jeunes étoiles (de gauche à droite):
Bronwyn Thies-Thompson, Rebecca Genge, Ellen McAteer, Emma Hannan et Ryan Patrick McDonald de l’Université de Toronto)
pour la nomination Juno! "

Voici la liste des nominations aux prix Juno pour 2017 :
Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance :

Bach: Magnificat BWV 243, Arion Baroque Orchestre, Alexandre Weimann
Four Thousand Winter, The Trinity Choir, Daniel Taylor
L’Aiglon, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano
Dark Star Requiem, Tapestry Opera, Gryphon Trio, Elmer Iseler Singers
Handel Messiah, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Sir Andrew Davis

2017 Juno Winner : L’Aiglon, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano

 

 

Trois Revues de Le couronnement du roi George II
Présentation de Toronto Summer Music

photo of DT  with TEM - coronation concert

This was the most fun I’ve had at a concert since the epic minimalist concert ...in August 2013. Then as now I believe we were seeing Toronto Summer Music Artistic Director Douglas McNabney pushing the envelope of what’s possible in a concert.....But this time I believe we were engaging in genuine research, Daniel Taylor’s Theatre of Early Music (TEM) challenging us to see and hear in a new way. .....

.......I loved this concert that ventured into different territory beyond performance. We were re-enacting a public ritual from long ago, and I say "we" because the audience weren’t merely passive viewers. Whether it was McNabney or conductor Daniel Taylor who conceived & curated this event, they changed the usual ground-rules for a concert.

photo of Bill Coleman  Coronation concert The evening was organized into a service: re-enacting a coronation, with a few modern pieces added. Bill Coleman silently portrayed King George II, while Alan Gallichan played the Archbishop. During Zadok the Priest, in the long gradual build-up of tension, we saw the Bishop put a crown upon the King’s head, and then the two advanced towards us (the congregation?), leading to the shattering climax as the chorus came in. The orchestra was a nice size to work with that fabulous chorus, comprised of a string quartet, two oboes, two trumpets, drums and organ.

This wasn’t any old chorus, as Taylor looked out upon a small ensemble of some of the best singers in the city, namely the Theatre of Early Music (TEM). The magnificent chorus included Ellen McAteer (fresh from Friday night’s Rape of Lucretia) Asitha Tennekoon (heard in Tapestry Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner), Alex Dobson, and Toronto Masque Theatre’s Larry Beckwith.......

I was struck by the sentiments stirred up at this concert. We heard wonderful music including "Worthy Is the Lamb", but also participated in singing Parry’s "Jerusalem", admittedly an anachronism that served to personalize the event. I wonder, would the crowd in the 18th Century have cried out "God Save the King" along with the chorus in "Zadok the Priest"? Listening to this performance, I have to wonder. .... But notice that it’s not wrong to be sentimental, not in this case. This isn’t a piece of art, it’s a practical composition for an event, intended to stir up our feelings. When they sing "Alleluia" ....it’s a genuine prayer, not just a bit of singing....
...It’s a coronation anthem meant for an event like what we saw re-enacted tonight....Wow!

photo of DT  with TEM - coronation concert

Publié le 27 juillet, 2016 par Barczablog

Revue de concert originale: https://barczablog.com/2016/07/27/the-coronation-of-king-george-ii/

 

 

The Coronation Of King George II

On October 11, 1727, George II, was crowned King of England. His journey to the throne had been a rough ride. His father, George I, Elector of Hanover, imported by an opportunistic Parliament to quell the threat of a dreaded Catholic succession, had prided himself on his singular disinterest in the political and cultural affairs of his adopted nation. His son, clever and artistic, bristled at the unpopular monarch’s entrenched philistinism to the point of estrangement. When, at long last, the disagreeable old king died, George II leapt at the chance to publicly commit to the customs and values of his newly inherited realm.
George Frideric Handel, another German-born expatriate, inveterate impresario, London showman par excellence, was hired to produce and direct the coronation. It would be a royal smash hit, an 18th century blockbuster, a spectacular, supremely theatrical show of Englishness.
Sounding a regal note to the Toronto Summer Music Festival’s celebration of British music, the Choir and Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music conducted by the ensemble’s artistic director, Daniel Taylor, thrilled earlier this week with their sweeping, unbounded concert wryly entitled, The Coronation of King George II.
Parted by the turbulent passage of almost three centuries from the reality of the quintessential Georgian monarch’s legendary inauguration, no musicologist, however determined, can likely ever reconstruct the actual fabric of the ceremony given the jumbled fragments of existing unset texts. The Chapel Royal as Handel knew it, final arbiter and preserver of English court music, has been repeatedly gutted by domestic hostilities and war, its archives savaged. Less authentic period statement than a summoning of the idea of coronation, Taylor, singers and musicians wisely sketched the past with broad strokes during the course of their recreation, emphasizing not so much a particular moment in time and place as a continuum, an artful witnessing of an entire history of orchestral and choral pageantry, Renaissance to Baroque to present-day. Rousing, gripping, frequently uplifting, the experience both charmed and enthralled, blending Gibbons and Palestrina, Purcell and Handel with pieces composed, in the case of Hubert Parry and John Tavener, 200 – 300 years after the momentous gala in Westminster Abbey. Handel may not have programmed each and every one of Taylor’s selections but he would surely have approved.
On a summer soft evening at U of T, the Faculty of Music’s Walter Hall sparkled, ringing with trumpets, soaring with organ, bright and luminous with song.
Eighteen voices strong, choristers processed in stately file through the auditorium, opening from the rear of house, lining opposing side aisles at the concert’s midway point. Surround sound effects abounded, unexpectedly visceral and dramatic. Interspersed with well-known vocalists plucked from the ranks of the Toronto opera community — Ellen McAteer, Asitha Tennekoon, Alex Dobson, Cairan Ryan — the purpose assembled choir touched the heart with its exquisite blend of warmth and passion.
Setting the tone for the evening’s instrumental proceedings, Parry’s I was Glad still ringing through the hall, period oboes, organ and strings... quickly merged into a delightfully no-nonsense Overture and March from Handel’s Ode to St. Cecilia’s Day. Moving through the attentive audience to join the Theatre of Early Music’s refreshingly uninhibited players on stage, chorus and orchestra assembled for the great, swelling coronation anthem, The King Shall Rejoice, Taylor leading with great charisma and exuberance.
A very tangible, physical sense of occasion held sway throughout the exquisitely intense 1-hour performance that followed heightened, in no small measure, by the robed presence of Rev. Alan Gallichan of Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, assuming the role of Archbishop of Canterbury. Startling, exuding an air of pronounced drama, costumed actor Bill Coleman, commanded attention as the King in faux white lead make-up and full wig.
As solemn as it was joyful, the scope of imagination and invention underlying this impossibly fanciful, utterly engaging Coronation of King George II was nothing less than extraordinary, a dream of monarchy set to magical music. Gibbons’ Drop, Drop Slow Tears, ethereal and a cappella, mesmerized. The stark beauty of Purcell’s Hear My Prayer, O Lord haunted. Parry’s mighty hymn, Jerusalem, a towering classic shaped into a potent communal encounter by Taylor, inspired and moved, a great plainspoken cry of hope and joy sung by audience and choristers alike. Then suddenly it was over, Handel’s iconic Zadok the Priest potent and resonant as it should be, Worthy the Lamb from Messiah concluding the all-too-brief program. “God save the King!”, cried the Archbishop. “God save the King!”, we echoed.
A stirring concert, a visionary offering. A glorious crowning touch to a fine 2016 Festival.
- Ian Ritchie, Opera going Toronto, July 2016

 

 

Crowning George II

For the occasion Mr. Taylor had assembled a small band of strings, trumpets, oboes and drums and both a chamber organ and the newly repaired organ of Walter Hall were brought into play. There was a choir of twenty including some pretty classy singers. Good use was made of the space to create different effects. Parry’s I Was Glad was sung with the choir in the back corners of the hall with the organ at stage right. Later on Tavener’s Hymn to the Mother of God was sung by the choir split down the sides of auditorium. This was highly effective and it made the most of a very beautiful piece; for me the musical highlight of the night.
There were fanfares from suitably wonky period trumpets and drum rolls and lots of liturgical call and response of the "We are miserable sinners O Lord " , "Yes we are really miserable " variety.
Then there was Handel; Zadok the Priest and The King Shall Rejoice (natch) and Purcell (Remember Not, Lord and Hear My Prayer, O Lord and Gibbons (Drop, Drop Slow Tears) and Palestrina (Jesu, Rex Admirabilis) all sung very beautifully a capella. The "congregation " (us) got to belt out Jerusalem before the choir kicked in with Zadok for the actual coronation followed by lots of "Long live the king! "s and a final blast of Worthy is the Lamb and the Amen from Messiah.
Somehow it struck the right balance between gravity and levity and a good time was had by all.
John's Opera Ramblings, July 2016

 

 

La Vallée des Pleurs / The Vale of Tears

Le dernier disque récital du TEM et Schola Cantorum sous étiquette Analekta.

Vale of Tears CD cover


Analekta
AN 29144
15 Septembre 15 2015

Pour écouter La Vallée des Pleurs,
commander un CD en ligne ou
télécharger les fichiers en format mp3,
cliquez ici : Commandez maintenant

La Vallée des Pleurs / The Vale of Tears

1. Praetorius: "Hört auf mit Weinen und Klagen"

Schütz: Musikalische Exequien, Op. 7
2. Concerto in the form of a German Requiem Mass
3. Motet: "Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe"
4. Canticle of B. Simeonis: "Herr, nun lässest Du Deinen Diener"

5. Praetorius: "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin"

J.S. Bach: O heilige Geist- und Wasserbad, Cantata BWV 165
6. Aria (soprano): "O heilige Geist- und Wasserbad"
7. Recit. (bass): "Die sündige Geburt verdammter Adamserben"
8. Aria (alto): "Jesu, der aus großer Liebe"
9. Recit. (bass): "Ich habe ja, mein Seelenbräutigam"
10. Aria (tenor): "Jesu, meines Todes Tod"
11. Chorale: "Sein Wort, sein Tauf, sein Nachtmahl"

Schola Cantorum et le The Theatre of Early Music:
Daniel Taylor, Chef


 

La Scena Musicale, Montréal, Novembre 2015

"De toute évidence, Daniel Taylor adore la voix humaine. Le choix méticuleux des chanteurs qui l’entourent est admirable. Il apporte à ces merveilles vocales une direction sensible, un sens musical empreint d’une profondeur indéniable. Cette vallée des pleurs se transforme en rivière dont la coulée atteint son but, près d’un siècle plus tard, avec la cantate BWV 165 de Bach. La cantate, axée sur le baptême du croyant, se termine sur une exécution limpide et pure, sans doute la plus belle interprétation de cette œuvre discrète du grand Bach.
Un disque essentiel que l’on garde près de son cœur.
"

 

Theatre of Early Music, Schola Cantorum, Dan Taylor, The Vale of Tears

Article posted on CBC web site by Robert Rowat - Sept 2015

On the heels of their Juno-nominated 2014 album The Heart's Refuge, the Theatre of Early Music, Schola Cantorum and director Daniel Taylor are back with another exciting release on the Analekta label, The Vale of Tears.

The Theatre of Early Music is Taylor’s collective of early music specialists committed to reconstructing music for historical events, and that’s exactly what we have in The Vale of Tears. Here, the event in question is a funeral for Heinrich Posthumous Reuß, a member of the noble class in Dresden where another Heinrich, Schütz, was Kapellmeister. Schütz composed his Musikalische Exequien in 1635 to honour Reuß, and it is has endured as his most famous work. It’s complemented on The Vale of Tears by J.S. Bach’s cantata O heilige Geist- und Wasserbad, which draws on some of the same texts and chorale sources as Schütz’s work and two hymns by Michael Praetorius that were performed at Reuß’s burial service. It’s a substantial choral program for Schola Cantorum, a vocal ensemble comprised of students from the Univeristy of Toronto’s faculty of music, where Taylor is head of historical performance. But in the few years since he established the group, it has blossomed into a virtuosic choir capable of tackling the most challenging baroque repertoire.

We reached Taylor by email to find about more about his most recent project.

Music from the early baroque period doesn’t get as much attention as music from the high baroque. Why is that?
It could be said that, aside from Monteverdi, many of the composers from the early baroque period have been neglected. Perhaps until recently, ensembles have not taken risks in their programming, so often it’s Fireworks or the Brandenburgs, in part because of the reduced funding provided by the federal government to the arts. The Theatre of Early Music made its first effort to remedy that with our Juno-nominated album dedicated to early German composers including Kuhnau and J.C. Bach. Kuhnau was a composer I first brought to the Quebec and Canadian public thanks to Christopher Jackson’s invitation to direct the Choir of the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal. In many ways, Christopher proved to be a mentor and inspiration to me and my work that would follow. It’s encouraging to see groups such as Arion now programming Kuhnau, it is a compliment to my musicians and to their dedication as well as to Christopher’s unerring commitment to early music.

This album gives us a faithful representation of the kind of music we’d hear at a solemn occasion in 17th-century Germany. Does this sort of historic immersion drive your projects with the Theatre of Early Music?
Absolutely. My interest in liturgical reconstructions is driven by my belief that the art itself is already perfect in form; this, to be clear, this is not about having a "brand name" or leaving my own fingerprints all over the scores, but in allowing the original beauty of the work to be shown. It must be like the feeling of revelation that they had when they restored the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, this is very much a sacred process guided by the musicians.

You’ve been directing U of T’s Schola Cantorum for three years now. What are the challenges you face making music at a professional level with a student ensemble?
There is a moment that I usually wait for in each rehearsal, that moment during which I see the students singing with joy (priority number 1!) suddenly realize that I am going to make very specific professional artistic demands of them, they are, after all (as one of the reviewers noted recently) an ensemble of the elite singers in this country, and with opportunity comes tremendous discipline and very, very hard work. Their first concert was with the greatest choir in the world, the Tallis Scholars, and since then they have appeared with members of the Monteverdi Choir, the Gabrieli Consort and the Kammerchor Stuttgart. Combined with the rich array of courses offered through the University of Toronto’s choral program developed by Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, our program is unrivaled in Canada.

Tell us what the recording sessions were like.
Recording sessions were intense and yet the singers and I found them to be greatly rewarding. For some of these young people, this was their first professional recording yet instead of hearing doubt or hesitation, you can hear their excitement. To be sure, the Musikalische Exequien is a complex piece and there were certainly times when I asked myself why I had set such a monumental task before all of us. However, they answered this challenge by lifting the music to a higher level.

 

Le Refuge du cœur / The Heart's Refuge - Nomination au prix Juno !

26 janvier 2015: Daniel Taylor écrit:
" Quel accomplissement pour nos étudiants du département de musique ancienne à l’Université de Toronto Faculté de musique en partenariat avec le Chœur et Orchestre du Theatre of Early Music! "

Voici la liste des nominations aux prix Juno pour 2015 :
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: VOCAL OR CHORAL PERFORMANCE:

Schubert: Winterreise Gerald Finley & Julius Drake (Hyperion) GAGNANT POUR 2015
Handel & Porpora: The London Years Julie Boulianne, Clavecin en concert & Luc Beauséjour (Analekta)
Mozart: Opera & Concert Arias Karina Gauvin, Les Violons du Roy & Bernard Labadie (Audiogram)
Terra Tremuit Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal (ATMA)
The Heart's Refuge Theatre of Early Music, Schola Cantorum & Daniel Taylor (Analekta)

Pour voir tous les prix Juno pour 2015, veuillez cliquer ici: les prix Juno pour 2015

CD cover


Analekta
AN 29143
9 Septembre 2014

#1 sur le Classical Soundscan
Canada WholeNote Magazine

Pour écouter Le Refuge du cœur,
commander un CD en ligne ou
télécharger les fichiers en format mp3,
cliquez ici : Commandez maintenant

Le Refuge du cœur / The Heart’s Refuge

1. Buxtehude, Dietrich (1637 - 1707)
Jesu, meines Lebens, BuxWV 62 (Aria)

2. Bach, Johann Cristoph (1642 - 1703)
Es ist nun aus mit menem Leben (Aria)

3. Schmelzer, Johann Heinrich (1680)
Harmonia a 5

4. Kuhnau, Johann (1660 - 1722)
Gott, sei mir gnädig nach diener

5. Bruhns, Nicolaus (1665 - 1697)
Ich Liege und schlafe mit Frieden

Schola Cantorum et le Theatre of Early Music:
Daniel Taylor, Chef


Voici quelques critiques

Dripping with beauty and style, they establish their seriousness from the off - Buxtehude's passacaglia meditating on Christ's sacrifice and continue it through Johann Christoph Bach's aching strophic death aria. The choir shows its youth in a light and pleasing sound. This snapshot of 17th-century German sacred music is a heartwarming and worthy one.
Gramophone février 2015

Que l’on soit ou non croyant, c’est toujours avec une attitude de profond recueillement que nous nous abandonnons à l’écoute de la musique des maîtres germaniques de l’époque Baroque. Avec un nouvel album au catalogue d’ANALEKTA, intitulé Le Refuge du cœur, les ensembles Theatre of Early Music (TEM) et Schola Cantorum, sous la direction du chef (et contre-ténor parmi les plus en demande à travers le monde), Daniel Taylor, nous plongent encore un peu plus profondément à l’intérieur du cœur et de l’âme des contemporains d’une époque parmi les plus tourmentées de l’histoire, celle de la Guerre de 30 ans (XVIIe siècle). Fidèle à sa mission de faire redécouvrir les musiques anciennes, le TEM ainsi que son fondateur et directeur artistique, Daniel Taylor, dévoilent ici des cantates magnifiques de 5 compositeurs allemands de l’époque baroque, tous réunis dans un même album. Dietrich Buxtehude (1637 - 1707), Johann Christoph Bach (1642 - 1703), Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (1623 - 1680), Johann Kuhnau (1660 - 1722) et Nicolaus Bruhns (1665 - 1697).

La plupart en langue allemande, ces cantates furent remaniées à partir des formes initialement mises sur pied et sans cesse renouvelées par les grands maîtres italiens du Baroque, quelques décennies auparavant. Le style distinctif de l’ensemble, joint à l’expertise et l’enthousiasme de Taylor, mènent à des lectures captivantes et authentiques de ces œuvres, témoignages musicaux des agonies, des tourments, mais également, des consolations de ce siècle déchiré par la répression et les conflits internes.

C’est un bond dans le temps de 4 siècles que nous proposent ici les musiciens du TEM et leur chef. Entre 1618 et 1648, une série de conflits dévastateurs déciment la moitié de la population du continent européen. Si les croyants trouvent refuge en leur foi et en leur espérance en un monde meilleur, les compositeurs de l’époque trouvent là une source intarissable d’inspiration. Au cours du XVIIe siècle, les musiciens luthériens vont constituer un magnifique répertoire de musique sacrée. Les textes mettent en valeur le message du Christ de façon originale et variée. La mort et la délivrance; la souffrance de Jésus; le désarroi de l’âme sont illustrés par d’ingénieux procédés d’imagerie musicale : un motif inexorablement répété pour marteler le message dans l’esprit du croyant ; des mélodies très sobres dans une harmonisation raffinée pour créer un profond sentiment de paix; une succession rapide de contrastes; des voix qui passent du soprano à la basse successivement pour évoquer la descente au tombeau..

Tout cela traduit bien la charge émotive qui habitait ces créateurs face aux affres de la guerre et de la destruction. Devenu un organisme sans but lucratif en 2002, le TEM se donne pour mission de faire rayonner la musique ancienne dans toute sa splendeur, en remettant au goût du jour ses pratiques musicales et la sonorité de ses instruments. Les excellents musiciens de l’ensemble diffusent et partagent leur passion grâce aussi, à des invités prestigieux (Nancy Argenta, Robin Blaze, James Bowman, Benjamin Butterfield, Michael Chance, Charles Daniels, Alexander Dobson, Karina Gauvin, James Gilchrist, Michael George, Peter Harvey, Dame Emma Kirkby, Suzie LeBlanc, Daniel Lichti, Carolyn Sampson, Michiel Schrey, Stephen Varcoe et Deborah York) et par le biais de tournées à l’échelle nationale et internationale (France, en Argentine, au Brésil, en Angleterre et en Chine notamment). Sous la baguette du chef, les choristes d’élite de la Schola Cantorum de l’Université de Toronto, des étudiants de tous niveaux, animés eux aussi par l’ardent désir de faire connaître la musique ancienne dans sa mouture originale, se joignent au TEM, pour nous offrir une brillante et authentique prestation. Un peu comme lorsque l’on restaure une œuvre d’un grand maître pour qu’elle retrouve tout son lustre à nos yeux, Daniel Taylor et les musiciens du TEM font un travail minutieux pour rendre à ces œuvres toute leur dimension à la fois humaine et historique.

Écouter cet album, c’est un peu comme redécouvrir un monde ancien sous un jour nouveau.
Marie-Josée Boucher : info-culture.biz

 

Le baroque allemand du 17e siècle est souvent synonyme d’austérité. La musique était avant tout destinée à la ferveur religieuse. Encore en développement, elle trouva, une génération plus tard, un certain J.S.Bach qui l’amènera à un niveau supérieur. Pourtant, de cette apparente facilité, de ces couleurs sombres et intériorisées, il y a ici une magnifique invitation à la beauté du moment présent.

Baigné d’une douceur incomparable, tant dans la prise de son que dans la déclamation des chœurs, ce disque fait l’effet d’une consolation entière. La cantate "C’en est maintenant fini de ma vie" de J.Chr.Bach (un cousin du père de Bach) est d’une simplicité désarmante, subtilement harmonisée. Ces strophes répétées inlassablement dans le silence, comme des mantras, produisent chez l’auditeur un abandon total, une paix résignée. Les paroles "Welt, gute nacht" (Monde, bonne nuit) presque chuchotées dans la pénombre, possèdent quelque chose de sublime et d’émouvant.

En cela, il faut souligner le travail méticuleux et sensible de Daniel Taylor. Grand chantre lui-même, dévoué à l’art vocal, il a amené son ensemble tout près des textes liturgiques. De cette proximité, l’auditeur moderne y trouvera sûrement un sens qui lui fera le plus grand Le baroque allemand du 17e siècle est souvent synonyme d’austérité. La musique était avant tout destinée à la ferveur religieuse. Encore en développement bien.

http://leparnassemusical.com/2014/09/10/the-hearts-refuge-theater-of-early-music-schola-cantorum-daniel-taylor-2/

 

The most recent recording of the Theatre of Early Music (TEM) and the Schola Cantorum entitled The refuge of heart, published by Analekta, offers images of peace and serenity like many pearls on a unlikely necklace.

Of course, great baroque music is made up of a large and varied repertoire and perhaps we should not be surprised to hear such beautiful interpretations. But what sets this album apart from many others is the care taken by the conductor and artistic director of the Theatre of Early Music Daniel Taylor and his research and selection of composers and works. This may be first time on one recording that the well-known figures of Dietrich Buxtehude and Johann Christoph Bach (cousin of the father of Johann Sebastian Bach) are paired with rare compositions by lesser-known composers Johann Kuhnau, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and Nicolaus Bruhns.

The purity and depth of what is offered to the listener is made even better by the impressive cast of soloists: the mezzo-soprano Rebecca Claborn, countertenor Kyle Guilfoyle, tenor Isaiah Bell and bass Alexander Dobson deliver inspired performances and the impression of a contagious spirituality.

In perfect harmony with the chorus and soloists, musicians of the TEM show guided restraint required for this type of repertoire in which the voice and text must occupy the largest share of the listeners focus - the particular sound of old instruments is offered here in all its flavour. The thoughtful, unhurried work immediately transports us elsewhere and for quite sometime. Such music, such purity!
Thank you Mr. Taylor!

www.pieuvre.ca

 

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