DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Concert review: Pax Christi Chorale reigns in Elgar's glorious Kingdom

By John Terauds on May 6, 2012

This afternoon, a packed house at Koerner Hall was treated to a rare and stirring performance of Edward Elgar’s oratorio The Kingdom by the Pax Christi Chorale, in honour of its 25th anniversary.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds

The choir, augmented by its youth division, four soloists and orchestra, did justice to the glories of Elgar’s complex music. He was as much a star of the concert as its interpreters — a fact acknowledged by conductor Stephanie Martin as she held the scarlet leather-bound score aloft during the prolonged and noisy standing ovation.

It’s a shame that we don’t hear great English choral works from the Victorian and Edwardian eras more often, because they contain so much to impress any listener.

Lovers of opera can appreciate the grand scale and sweep of the dramatic arc of a well-turned text and orchestration. People who prefer art song or arias can bask in prolonged solos. Devotees of choral music have plenty of richly texured choruses to savour. And listeners who like music with a larger-than-life, quasi-cinematic scope can get carried away on crescendos of sound.

Elgar’s Kingdom is populated with all of this, as well as powerful message of faith for those inclined to heed its text, carefully chosen by the composer from the Christian New Testament.

Although everyone on stage deserved the ovation, special mention needs to go to the soloists, tenor Keith Klassen, mezzo soprano Krisztina Szabó and visiting British baritone Roderick Williams, whose richly oaked voice and impeccably turned phrasing turned every solo into a golden moment.

Toronto soprano Shannon Mercer bought a compelling luminosity to a prolonged solo in “The sun goeth down,” at the close of the fourth of The Kingdom‘s five parts, or movements.

And then there’s the remarkable work of Pax Christi artistic director Stephanie Martin, who teased out Elgar’s complex leitmotifs with utter clarity as she held an iron command over the hour-and-a-half of music from beginning to end.

Perhaps it helped that she was working with an orchestra approximately half the size of what Elgar had at his disposal at the oratorio’s 1906 premiere. But at no point did the music ever sound as if it we were missing a single timbre or texture.

Here was the full glory of a grand old choral tradition, delivered with great polish and total conviction. Plus we could go home with Elgar melodic motifs swimming around with the warm memories.

More, please.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Against the Grain Go Baroque For The 2017–18 Season

By Michael Vincent on September 26, 2017

Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre has announced the long-awaited details on their 2017–18 season this afternoon, including two surprises that we didn't see coming. 
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

HOT TAKE | A Look Into The Musical Past Of Governor General Julie Payette

By Michael Vincent on October 3, 2017

Baroque music lovers now have one of their own in Ottawa.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

THE SCOOP | Tafelmusik To Take Elisa Citterio On Her First Canadian Road Trip

By Michael Vincent on October 11, 2017

Tafelmusik Music Director Elisa Citterio makes her national touring debut with a road trip to Québec, New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.