La Scena Musicale

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The First December 6 Memorial Concert

How a performance of Mozart’s Requiem marked my musical passage
By Wah Keung Chan

Last Sunday (November 30), I attended conductor Iwan Edwards’s Farewell at Concerto Della Donna’s final concert at a standing room sold out St. Georges Church. It was good to see Iwan on the podium again, having sung for him with the St. Lawrence Choir and the MSO Chorus many times in the 1990s.

Midway through the first half, I suddenly remembered the first time I sang with him, 25 years earlier in 1989. It was days following the December 6 massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. I was a Master’s student in Mathematics at Concordia after completing a Bachelors of Engineering at McGill, with a growing passion for choral singing. After years as a member of Mary-Jane Puiu’s non-audition McGill Choral Society, I had also joined her Cantare, the youth choir of the St. Lawrence Choir.

One of the 14 female victims of the massacre was Geneviève Bergeron, a member of Cantare and graduate of FACE school, a girl who had a joie de vie and looking forward to becoming an Engineer. She had always wanted to sing Mozart’s Requiem, and her friends convinced Iwan Edwards, who was one of her teachers at FACE School, to conduct a concert in memory of her and the other victims. Students, graduates and teachers at FACE School were quickly assembled to form the choir, orchestra and soloists. Mary-Jane invited members of Cantare to join, and since several of us had sung Mozart’s Requiem with the McGill Choral Society the previous year, we readily accepted. For myself, as an Engineering graduate I was eager to participate as my sign of defiance of Marc Lépine.

After two rehearsals, the chorus of 100 marched through the halls of FACE School passing through the wings of the auditorium before taking our seats in the choral risers for the memorial concert just about one week after the massacre. In attendance were Bergeron’s family, the mayor of Montreal, and other dignitaries.

Mozart’s Ave verum corpus opened the concert. It’s a short a cappella work that is simple yet sublime. Iwan evoked some magic that night as I and every singer around me felt goose bumps immediately, yet I was able to keep my composure to the end. It was the most moving musical performance I have experienced, matched rarely as a performer or an audience member. The Requiem was equally memorable, a moving way to remember the victims.

As I continue to listen to Concerto della Donna, I wonder now if the first December 6 memorial concert has played a part in Iwan’s founding of Concerto della Donna some ten years ago, although he hasn’t made mention of it anywhere. Part of me wished that Iwan could eke out just one more Farewell concert to reprise that first concert with the same Mozart works and with the same performers. I’m sure most of us would gladly clear our schedules.

Alas, it is not to be, as nobody seems to have remembered, or had the foresight to. In 1994, for the Fifth anniversary, Iwan was passed over for the memorial concert featuring Mozart’s Requiem performed by his St. Lawrence Choir at the Notre-Dame Basilica; Agnes Grossman was chosen political correctly to conduct. For the Tenth anniversary, Mozart’s Requiem rang out at St. Joseph’s with another choir and another conductor.

But those memories of the first concert come flooding to me at Iwan’s Farewell. This experience helped shape me as a musician and a human being. Thank you Iwan, and thank you Mary-Jane.


Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

La Scena Musicale participates in Giving Tuesday!

GIVING TUESDAY
December 2, 2014: GLOBAL MOVEMENT FOR THE BENEFIT OF GENEROSITY
La Scena Musicale  is pleased to participate in Giving Tuesday, a day of mutual assistance which takes place every year.   This is a national movement that celebrates the generosity and encourages donations and volunteer activities for the benefit of any charitable or nonprofit organization.

JOIN SANDRO!

To celebrate this day of giving and encouraging music, Sandro Scola, member of the Board of Directors of La Scena Musicale, has pledged to match any donation you make to La Scena Musicale on Giving Tuesday (December 2, 2014), up to $5,000. What a great way to support La Scena in a significant way! 

Read why donating to La Scena Musicale helps promote classical music and jazz.

Please give via PayPal or visit www.lascena.ca .


Labels:

La Scena Musicale est heureuse de participer à Mardi je donne

MARDI JE DONNE
2 DÉCEMBRE 2014: UN MOUVEMENT GLOBAL AU BÉNÉFICE DE LA GÉNÉROSITÉ

[English Version]

La Scena Musicale est heureuse de participer à Mardi je donne, cette grande journée de l’entraide qui a lieu tous les ans. C’est un mouvement national qui célèbre la générosité et encourage le don et les activités de bénévolat au bénéfice de tout organisme caritatif ou sans but lucratif.

JOIGNEZ-VOUS À SANDRO !

Pour célébrer cette journée du don et encourager la musique, Sandro Scola, membre du conseil d’administration de La Scena Musicale, a généreusement choisi de doubler toute donation que vous ferez à La Scena Musicale en ce jour du Mardi je donne, jusqu’à concurrence de 5 000 $. Quelle belle occasion d'encourager La Scena de façon significative! 

Découvrez pourquoi un don à La Scena Musicale aide à promouvoir la musique classique et le jazz.

Merci de donner via PayPal.




Labels:

Monday, 1 December 2014

Cette semaine à Montréal : le 1 au 7 décembre

Philippe Bourque, directeur du Chœur Saint-Laurent
Le Festival Bach Montréal – du 23 novembre au 7 décembre
La 8e édition du Festival Bach de Montréal présentera 21 spectacles dans neuf salles. C'est à la Maison que sera présenté le concert de clôture (3, 4, 7 décembre) qui a été confié à l'OSM, sous la direction de Masaaki Suzuki.
En décembre, le festival présente un mariage instrumental rare avec les artistes israéliens Avi Avital à la mandoline et Shalev Ad-El au clavecin (1er). Le public aura l'occasion de feuilleter le Petit livre d'Anna-Magdalena Bach, en compagnie du musicologue Gilles Cantagrel, avec la complicité de six musiciens montréalais (2). Décembre est aussi le moment rêvé pour entendre de grandes œuvres vocales : Le Couronnement du roi Georges II, avec Daniel Taylor et le Theater of Early Music (2), Le Messie de Haendel, avec les Violons du Roy, dirigé par Trevor Pinnock (5) et l'Oratorio de Noël avec le Chœur Saint-Laurent, sous la direction de Philippe Bourque (6). www.festivalbachmontreal.com
- Renée Banville


Cette semaine au Chapelle Historique
Le premier concert de la série du nouveau compositeur résident Jimmie LeBlanc nous fait connaître le pianiste et compositeur Andy Costello dans l'œuvre Masques de Schumann. 4 décembre, 20 h.
En concert-bénéfice au profit du Prix d'Europe, les pianistes Jean Saulnier et Serhiy Salov interprètent à deux pianos des œuvres de Rachmaninov. 3 décembre, 20 h. 

Place à la musique de chambre française. La violoniste Julie Triquet, la violoncelliste Julie Trudeau et le pianiste Olivier Godin interprètent trois trios de Debussy, Chausson et Ravel. 7 décembre, 15 h 30. www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/chapellebonpasteur
- Renée Banville

En décembre, de grandes voix à L’OSM
Sous la direction du célèbre chef d’orchestre japonais Masaaki Suzuki, Hélène Guilmette, soprano, Robin Blaze, contre-ténor, Colin Balzer, ténor, et Christian Immler, baryton, seront « les grandes voix de Bach et de Mendelssohn ». Il s’agit du concert de clôture du Festival Bach de Montréal, avec le chœur de l’OSM, dirigé par Andrew Megill, et John Grew, organiste. Parmi les œuvres vocales au programme, mentionnons le Psaume 115 de Mendelssohn, Nicht unserm Namen, Herr, et le Magnificat enmajeur de Bach. Maison symphonique – 3 et 4 décembre à 20 h, 7 décembre à 14 h 30. www.osm.ca
- Justin Bernard


Le Messie de Haendel, l’œuvre phare du temps des fêtes

Après un premier concert à Québec, les Violons du Roy et la Chapelle de Québec viendront donner une deuxième représentation du Messie à Montréal. L’orchestre et le chœur, dirigés par le chef britannique Trevor Pinnock, ont fait appel aux solistes suivants : Miriam Allan, soprano, Allyson McHardy, mezzo-soprano, Allan Clayton, ténor, et Andrew Foster-Williams, baryton-basse. Maison symphonique de Montréal – 5 décembre, 19 h 30. À Québec : salle Raoul-Jobin, Palais Montcalm – 4 et 7 décembre, 20 h. www.violonsduroy.com
- Justin Bernard


Amours, délices et ... cordes
Le Forum des fabricants, c’est un salon de musique regroupant une quarantaine de luthiers, spécialistes d'instruments à archet. Instigateur de cet événement en 2013, l'Atelier Wilder and Davis comptera sur la participation de facteurs d'instruments des deux côtés de la frontière et de la France lors d'un événement d'un jour (samedi 6 décembre, Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur). Violons, altos et violoncelles seront en montre, sans oublier une panoplie d'archets. Outre des démonstrations, deux concerts sont aussi prévus, soit un récital classique d'Andrew Kwan et de Jonathan Crow et une prestation de musique improvisée avec, entre autres, Malcolm Goldstein. Conçu autant pour les étudiants, les professeurs et les mélomanes amoureux de cette noble famille d'instruments, le forum est une excellente occasion pour venir rencontrer des maîtres fabricants. Information : Atelier Wilder Davis, www.wilderdavis.com
- Marc Chénard
 

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

This Week in Montreal: December 1 to 7

Philippe Bourque, director of the St. Lawrence Choir

The Montreal Bach Festival: Nov 23 to Dec 7
In December, the festival presents a rare instrumental duo performed by Israeli artists Avi Avital on mandolin and Shalev Ad-El on harpsichord (1st). Audiences will have the chance to peruse the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach with musicologist Gilles Cantagrel and six Montreal musicians (2). December is also that magical time when the greatest large vocal works are performed; hear The Coronation of King George II with Daniel Taylor and the Theatre of Early Music (2), Handel’s Messiah with the Violons du Roy directed by Trevor Pinnock (5), or the Christmas Oratorio with the St. Lawrence Choir directed by Philippe Bourque (6). www.festivalbachmontreal.com
- Renée Banville
 
Stirring Sounds at the OSM in December
Under the baton of renowned Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki, soprano Hélène Guilmette, countertenor Robin Blaze, tenor Colin Balzer, and baritone Christian Immler perform the “Stirring Sounds of Bach and Mendelssohn”. This is the closing concert of the Montreal Bach Festival, with the OSM Choir, directed by Andrew Megill, and organist John Grew. Notable among the vocal works on the program are Mendelssohn’s Psalm 115, Op. 31, Nicht unserm Namen, Herr and Bach’s Magnificat in D major. Maison symphonique, Dec 3 and 4 at 8 pm and Dec 7 at 2:30 pm. www.osm.ca
- Justin Bernard
 
This Week at the Chapelle Historique
The first concert of in-house composer Jimmie LeBlanc’s series introduces us to pianist and composer Andy Costello in Schumann’s Masques. December 4, 8 pm.
As part of the European Award’s benefit concert, pianists Jean Saulnier and Serhiy Salov perform Rachmaninoff’s works on two pianos. December 3, 8 pm. www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/chapellebonpasteur
- Renée Banville

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, 30 November 2014

This Week in Toronto (Dec. 1 - 7)

My Toronto concert picks for the week of Dec. 1 to 7  - Joseph So

Early December is arguably the busiest time on the classical music calendar in Toronto.  It's a time when one can catch "regular" programming as well as works geared to the Holiday Season. (By mid December however, the concerts are predominantly religious-themed.) Top on the list for voice fans is the concert performance of Rossini's William Tell conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and the whole orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Regio di Torino. It is being presented by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as part of its Masterworks series.  When it was announced two months ago that Maestro Noseda has resigned from Teatro Regio, many of us really didn't think this North American tour would take place.  So it's the great good fortune of Toronto opera lovers that it is still happening on Friday Dec. 5th 7 pm, to be followed by an appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York on Sunday Dec. 7th, with a slightly different cast. William Tell is of course Rossini's last opera and one of his most significant "serious" works, in musical values as well as in length.  I saw a staged version of this in Munich in July that was somewhat cut but it still lasted three and a half hours including intermission! That production was really out in left field, but the music was of course glorious. The Toronto concert performance will feature American soprano Angela Meade as Mathilde, and Luca Salsi stepping in to replace Dalibor Jenis in the title role.  This is a performance not to be missed.   http://roythomson.com/eventdetail/TSOWilliamTell


Conductor Gianandrea Noseda (Photo Sussie Ahlburg)

Luca Salsi sings the title role in William Tell

The great violinist and Toronto audience favourite Itzhak Perlman is coming this week for a recital at Roy Thomson Hall. On the program are works by Vivaldi, Schumann, Beethoven, and Ravel. With him is pianist Rohan De Silva. According to the RTH website, only limited stage seating is available, so don't delay.  http://roythomson.com/eventdetail/Perlman

Violinist Itzhak Perlman (Photo: Akira Kinoshita)


Pianist Alice Sara Ott

The music director of the great Philadelphia Orchestra is Canada's own Yannick Nezet-Seguin, but most of us are probably not familiar with their associate conductor, Cristian Macelaru, who assists Nezet-Seguin and conducts the non-subscription performances. He is the guest maestro with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra this week in a program of Tchaikovsky gems. German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott is the soloist in a Tchaikovsky warhorse, the Piano Concerto No. 1. Also on the program is Nutcracker Act 2 (no dancing as far as I know), and a piece unfamiliar to me called the Jurisprudence March. Certainly a popular program and with Nutcracker, suitably festive. Wednesday Dec. 3 and Saturday Dec. 6 at 8 pm.  On Sunday Dec. 7 is a children's concert - the screen of an animated film, The Bear, with live accompaniment by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Amado. Singers are soprano Alex Hetherington, tenor Owen McCausland, and bass-baritone Mark S. Doss.  Tom Allen is the narrator.  Also appearing are the Cawthra Park Chamber Choir and Tha Spot Holiday Dancers.  http://tso.ca/

Lydia Adams and the Elmer Iseler Singers (Photo: Bo Huang)

While the bulk of holiday programming really gets underway next week, a few early birds can be heard now, such as this Messiah with the Elmer Iseler Singers and a fine quartet of soloists - soprano Virginia Hatfield, mezzo Marion Newman, tenor David Pomeroy, and bass-baritone Giles Tomkins. The Amadeus Choir under Lydia Adams supplies the big choral sound. Dec. 5th 8 pm at the Metropolitan United Church on Queen Street East. http://www.elmeriselersingers.com/

The Pax Christi Chorale under Artistic Director Stephanie Martin is presenting Winter Nights, a Christmas celebratory concert featuring Part II of Bach's Christmas Oratorio and the Advent Cantata Nun komm der Heiden Heiland.  Two weeks ago I was in Leipzig and went to the Thomaskirche where Bach worked as the kapellmeister.  November is just a bit early yet for the Holiday Season decorations but already they were busy putting up the Christmas tree!  I have to say it was quite the special atmosphere there, to be in that church, seeing where Bach spent his life.  Here's a photo I took of the altar and Bach's grave in front. 
J.S. Bach's Thomaskirche, Leipzig in November 2014

Soloists are soprano Michele Bogdanowicz, tenor Sean Clark and baritone Doug MacNaughton
Two performances, Saturday Dec. 6 at 7:30 pm and Sunday Dec. 7 at 3 pm, at the Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road in midtown. http://www.paxchristichorale.org/winter-nights/


Labels: , , , , , , , , ,