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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

SCRUTINY | Tafelmusik Crowns Its Fall With Lively Marriage Of Instruments And Voices

By John Terauds on November 30, 2017

(Photo: John Terauds)
Can’t wait for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal wedding? Tafelmusik’s got you covered with Four Weddings, a Funeral, and a Coronation (Photo: John Terauds)

Four Weddings, a Funeral, and a Coronation. Tafelmusik Orchestra and Chamber Choir, led by Elisa Citterio and Ivars Taurins. Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St Paul’s Centre, to Dec. 3.

Royal occasions demand extra from everyone and everything, including the music, and Tafelmusik is pulling out its finest in a concert featuring both the orchestra and Tafelmusik Chamber Choir this week.

The program is titled Four Weddings, a Funeral, and a Coronation. It’s not an obvious musical combination, even if it riffs on the popular movie comedy from the 1990s. But the choice of pieces on the program is, in reality, inspired.

All of the compositions are not just big and pompous. They are graceful, exquisitely crafted works that receive their full due at the hands of the musicians and their two leaders, violinist Elisa Citterio and Tafelmusik Chamber Orchestra’s founding music director, Ivars Taurins.

Most of what we heard at the first performance at Trinity-St Paul’s Centre’s Jeanne Lamon Hall on Wednesday night came from England and France, and a lot of it came from early in the Baroque era. All of it was performed well.

The period-instrument orchestra itself sounds no different under Citterio than it did under Jeanne Lamon — and there’s nothing wrong with that. The playing was tight and expertly nuanced.

The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir under Taurins is as disciplined and expressive as ever. The quality of the voices is such that they can be pulled out individually as needed to sing solo passages.

The longest piece on the program, at about 30 minutes, is Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s magnificent Messe des morts, from 1695. Taurins and his forces have it a light, graceful touch.

The wedding pieces, both sung and instrumental, by Baroque masters Jean-Baptiste Lully, Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel, were superbly executed, and all contained a wealth of engrossing musical moments. John Blow was responsible for a verse anthem, based on Psalm 89, from the coronation of King James II.

Citterio even threw in a nod to current wedding-music tastes by assembling a trio of violins plus continuo, in a light-and-lively rendition of Johann Pachelbel’s famous Canon.

It was great to see the leader of the orchestra working together with Taurins — something that rarely happened before Citterio’s arrival. The results are well worth checking out.

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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
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
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