Toronto, Ontario, Canada


15th Season

SatAug187:00Broadway Delights
Highlights some of the influential and popular Broadway composers of the 1930s to the 1990s. To some, Broadway is modern-day operetta. Even if you are not a Broadway "fan", this program contains selections from Broadway shows with themes that deal with love, entertainment, brutality, relationships, dictatorship, religion... and all set in locations as close as your neighbourhood to far-away exotic lands.
SunSep162:00An afternoon of string quartets
Chamber music and in particular the string quartet form invented by Joseph Haydn has an enduring popularity, with new works continuing to be written. Whether it is the clarity of sound, the economy of the form, the intimacy, or the opportunities for expressing musical drama, there is sure to be something about string quartets to interest you in this program. Want to know more? Read Greg Sandow's introduction.
SunOct142:00The Sacred Minimalists: Gorecki, Pärt, Tavener
Explore the similarities (and subtle differences) found in the religious works of three composers of the so-called minimalist movement: Henryk Górecki, Arvo Pärt, and John Tavener. This intensely personal music, consisting of choral, orchestral, and chamber works, expresses a deep spirituality held by each of the composers and was inspired by sources as diverse as medieval music (in the case of Pärt) and the Greek Orthodox faith (Tavener).[Discography]
SunNov112:00Verdian Male Couples: La Forza del Destino and Don Carlo
In celebration of the Verdi centennial year (1813-1901) the Classical Music Club looks at some moments in Verdian operatic scenes in which two men are strongly and affectionately connected. We have no intention of parodying or making fun of these masterpieces; however, we will begin with some innocent questions: Why is he visiting somebody's bedroom at 4 a.m.? Why has he been stalking this man for five years or more?, etc. Over two simple broken chords two male voices stimulate each other to ecstasy and float over waves of tranquillity. Two older men confront each other with full intensity and passion. Could this be because of a relationship in their younger days?

La forza del Destino: [ Information ] [ Synopses ]
Don Carlo: [ Information ] [ Synopses ]
SunDec22:00The Messiah - G. F. Handel
How will our presenter choose to show us this work which is now linked with Christmas? He is being a little mysterious, saying only "Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue." [Discography]
SatDec158:00Christmas Party
SunJan132:00Mahler Symphony No. 5
The program celebrates the greatly anticipated return of Jukka-Pekka Saraste, former music director, to the Toronto Symphony in February 2002. Mahler's Symphony No.5 will be performed from Wednesday 6th to Monday 11th at Roy Thomson Hall. Three weeks ahead of the rare live concert opportunities, the club prepares itself for this most sensuous, rich, complex symphony of all by sampling the new DVD release performed by the Chicago Symphony under the baton of Daniel Barenboim, recorded live on their European tour in 1997 in Cologne, Germany. Barenboim here is uniquely analytical, deconstructing the elements and rebuilding them in fresh, contemporary structures and avoiding a traditional, "schmaltzy" Romantic approach.
[Mahler, silhouette] [Discography]
SunFeb102:00Radu Lupu, pianist
Roumanian Pianist, Radu Lupu is scheduled to have a recital at The Toronto Centre for Performing Arts (North York) on Saturday, February 16. They announced that Lupu will perform a piece from the core of his repertoire -- Schubert's Sonata in A major, D959. Lupu is considered one of the most significant pianists of our age, lyrical and profound at the same time. While the music lovers of Toronto look forward to re-visiting Lupu's Schubertian universe, the CMC's CD concert will explore the wide range of his pianistic activities, including chamber music and the accompaniment of singers.
[About Radu Lupu] [Discography]
SunMar17 2:00Classical Music and the Digital Frontier (revised program)
I bought my last CD on Dec. 31, 2000. Since then the only CD's to enter my home have been those given as gifts or blank ones. In this program, we will not play a single CD. We will talk about the new technological developments in music, from composition and performance, through to recording and listening. And of course, we will listen to plenty of music, preloaded, downloaded, overloaded, old and new, traditional and shocking (can music still shock?).

We will ask: What is MIDI? MP3? MPEG? CD-R? CD-R/W? Morpheus and MusicCity? How useful are these tools for the classical music lover? We will hear the results!

We will surf the net live, and listen to streamed classical music over a broadband connection. We will download a classical music video clip and watch it on TV. We will hear music so recent it cannot be found on CD. We will hear music Beethoven never published and no one ever recorded. We will then listen to downloaded MIDI files played on a Korg keyboard. What would the Mozart's Queen of the Night aria sound like scored for brass? A banjo? A sampled moan and scream? What would Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier sound like on a harpsichord WITHOUT equal-temperament? What if he'd used an Indonesian Pelog scale?

What will happen to classical music as we push the digital frontier? It will be fun to explore ....
SunApr7 2:00Queen of Queens, Cleopatra (Händel, Berlioz, Barber)
The lover of great Roman heroes, both Caeser and Mark Anthony, the last queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, the legendary beauty of beauties whose nose might have changed history ... Cleopatra! Before her majestic and enigmatic beauty, the mighty queens Elizabeth or Catherine would run away in shame. Composers of all eras and countries were also the slaves of this Egyprian temptress. The program covers operas by Haendel and Samuel Barber, Berlioz's cantata, and Liz Taylor's 1963 film score by Alex North.
[Canadian Opera Company - "Julius Caesar" - April]
[Chicago Field Museum - "Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth"]
SunMay 5 2:00Wagner's Birthday Celebration: Tannhäuser
This controversial Munich National Theatre production by David Alden (an American director based in London, familiar to Toronto operagoers for his direction of The Flying Dutchman at COC) was recorded in 1994, and released on DVD in 2001 by Image Entertainment. This strong and visually detailed production is filled with symbols from Wagner's original libretto and Alden's directorial imagination. The timeless setting allows costuming from a wide range of styles including modern, formal evening gowns for the women to medieval suits of armour for the men. The Wagner family history is revealed in which Tannhäuser=Wagner, Venus=his wife, Cosima. Certainly it is not one of those predictable, tired-looking "Museum Piece" productions, but some have described the staging as simply ugly or disturbing. The musical achievement is much less criticized and Zubin Mehta leads a strong cast -- René Kollo (Tannhäuser), Bernd Weikl (Wolfram), Waltraud Meier (Venus), and Nadine Secunde (Elisabeth). Where will you stand in this controversy?
[Review of DVD on]
[Reviews of DVD on]
SatMay 254:00Centennial Series: 1902 Premieres - Part 1
Mahler: Symphony No.3
(NOTE: Day and time is unusual.)
Abbado leaves Berlin
The Music Director's baton of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra will be passed from Claudio Abbado to Sir Simon Rattle this coming September. A great era will come to its conclusion. Deutsche Grammophon is running an international campaign celbrating the collaboration of Claudio Abbado and The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra by releasing four of his new live recordings with the orchestra: Mahler's No.3 , No.7, No. 9, and The Berlin Album, an anthology from the Philharmonie Saal. Some of the CDs are already available at the HMV Downtown and selling like hotcakes.

Mahler's No.3 is the only CD recorded not in Berlin, but in London, England. The original sound source was the BBC broadcasting tape. The British media raved about this concert at full voltage of admiration. Previously in 1982, in his Vienna days, Abbado created his first recording of No.3 with The Vienna Philharmonic which many of you must have listened to and enjoyed over the years. We will hear what an additional seventeen years for the man and his music-making reveals in this new recording.

With the special meeting on May 25th The Classical Music Club Toronto will celebrate the launch of a new series devoted to work which premiered in 1902, followed by Sibelius' Symphony No.2 and Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.3 was premiered on June 9th , 1902, in Krefeld, Germany, conducted by the composer himself.
SatJun 84:00Summer of Russian Music I -
Bring Your Own 'Rach3'
(Note the unusual time.)
BYOR (Bring Your Own Recording/Rach Three)... if you have one. Share your favorite CD of Rach Three from your collection or be an innocent and pure member of a selection jury. (You are not obligated to bring a recording to this event.)

Piano concerto No. 3 by Sergei Rachmaninov, A.K.A. "Rach Three" gained sudden popularity in the mid 90s. Sam the Record Man used to have a huge Rachmaninov No.3 section, but it had a big empty hole since people rushed to hunt for these CDs. Whoever the pianists were, consumers did not seem to care. The film "Shine" (1996) by the Australian filmmaker Scott Hicks was the cause of the craze. The film was inspired by the troubled but ultimately triumphant real-life story of classical pianist David Helfgott, who subsequently toured North America; you might have listened to him LIVE in Toronto.

"Rach Three" was described in Hicks' movie as the most majestic, challenging and spectacular piece of the entire piano repertoire. Damn right! Incomparable beauty and overripe splendour, which includes something nearly decadent, yet positively uplifting. So many recordings are out there, making pianists look like ants surrounding a sugar cube on the ground. Artists are attracted by the masterpiece, so are music lovers. The record companies traditionally make new stars' debut discs with Rach Three and piano lovers always had admired the light of “Rach Three” long before the film "Shine."

It was Rachmaninov himself who intentionally composed a work full of showy effects in "Rach Three" for his first concert tour as a pianist to America in 1909. This piece composed for the New World eloquently showed off the pianism of the late Romantics. But he elevated this exhibitionistic work to the most intricate, artificial piece of craftmanship, so transparent and sensitive, like a massive work of glass.

The Third was premiered on November 28th, 1909 with Rachmaninov himself at the keyboard, joined by the Symphony Society of New York at the New Theatre, New York, under Walter Damrosch. On January 16th, 1910, he repeated the Third at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic under Gustav Mahler. It was reported that both master musicians had great respect and admiration for each other.

Rach Three has been growing in the spotlight from the beginning, supported by international talents in collaboration. Rachmaninov was not the first and only pianist/composer who wrote virtuoso-type concerti for his own self-promotion. But it is the cross-cultural aspect which added an extraordinary scale and radiance to the piece. Russian pianists do not seem to be necessarily always successful in this highly cosmopolitan masterpiece, which even transcends geographic borders and the genre limits of classical music.

See you at the meeting.
[ More about Sergei Rachmaninoff and his third piano concerto ]
[ The Rachmaninoff web ring ]
[ Rachmaninoff lover's home page. ]
SatJul 137:00Summer of Russian Music II -
Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherazade
One of the most spectacular orchestral fantasies ever composed -- Rimsky-Korsakov's SHEHERAZADE. Adventures and Romance: The Arabian Nights unfold in the colourful sound of rich orchestration, celebrating our hot, hot summer. Oh, we can see the splash of water on Sinbad's bare chest; we can hear the languid sighs of the handsome Kalendar Prince... Feel the carreses under the starry sky. The program also includes other Russian music inspired by fairy tales.
[ Portraits and photos of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov ]
[ About Sheherazade ]
[ Discography ]
SatAug 37:00Centennial Series - 1902 Premieres:
Nordic Chill in August

Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 premiered on March 8, 1902 in Helsinki, Finland.

As we 'boldly go/march' into August, we'll celebrate the event with a blast from Finland. Sibelius' 2nd received its premiere in 1902 and has gained tremendous popularity. We'll journey through this classic with different performances. Rest assured that it'll stir up some biased opinion. Doing only the 2nd will not do full justice to Sibelius; as a result, I'll throw in a few 'excerpts' of 'my' favourite Sibelius. Never a dull moment, I guarantee. If we have enough time before the wine & cheese, I'll honour a request from my Sibelius collection at the meeting. Audiophiles, historians and 'regulars' will all be delighted. Trust me.
See you there.
[ Sibelius, Finland's Voice in the World ]
ThuAug15 6:00Roy Thompson Hall "Open House"
This will be the first chance to see the result of the renovation and acoustics improvement. We will meet at the entrance, King and Simcoe streets. After the tour, we will go for a quick bite of supper in the theatre district before gathering to help stuff and stamp envelopes for the club.
SatAug17 7:00Summer of Russian Music III -
Bring Your Own Russian Music
The last of our three-part summer series "Summer of Russian Music" will take the form of one of the club's long-standing traditions: BYOR. Except this time, "R" does not mean recordings, but Russian. Probably it is most fitting to choose Russian music for long evenings in the summer. Each member will have a ten minute slot. Bring something that is special to you, either Russian composers' works or performances by Russian musicians, anything Russian from your collection. Surprise us! It is not a competition so relax. Perhaps you can tell us your own stories or memories behind your selection or that of another member.

[Click on image to see it full-size]

Past Years:

Last Updated: Sunday October 1, 2023 at 1:59 pm