Classical Music Club Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

26th Season
Sun Sep 16 2:00

Remembering Glenn Gould

2012 marks the 80th anniversary of Glenn Gould’s birth and the 30th anniversary of his death. Toronto is celebrating the life of a man who was arguably one of the most exciting musical visionaries of the 20th century. The city is alive with a number of other festivities this September and we are pleased to present a program highlighting a few recordings which are considered landmarks of the industry. In addition, there will be some special surprise features. Join us and share your own memories and experiences of Glenn Gould.


Sun Oct 21 2:00

Ástor Piazzola (1961-1992)

Astor Piazzola

Tango, which began its life in the brothels of Buenos Aires, lives vibrantly today thanks to the efforts of Ástor Piazzolla (1921–92), an Argentine composer and bandoneón player. Incorporating elements of both classical music and jazz, he revolutionized traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango. Piazzolla’s music fascinated so many other fellow-musicians across many genres, including respected artists from the classical music world such as Yo-Yo Ma and Gidon Kremer, who performed and recorded his work. Indeed, original Piazzolla works have been commissioned by or for them. Our program will consist of audio and video recordings with performances by Piazzolla himself as well as by artists who have made his works a central part of their repertoires.


Sun Nov 18 2:00

In Memoriam Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012)

Dietrich-Fischer Dieskau was one of the greatest and most influential singers of the 20th century. Few singers have managed the range and versatility of his repertoire. Each of his interpretations is characterized by a very individual precision and deep insight. But, while many of his operatic and oratorio interpretations are unsurpassed, it is in the field of the German lied that Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau made his deepest mark. He, more than any other singer, with the possible exception of Elisabeth Schwartzkopf, can be credited with making the art song as popular as opera and oratorio, and enabling the present generation of singers to build their careers on the art song repertoire. This programme will present a small cross-section of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s interpretative art.



Christmas Party

Gay Christmas Wreath

Each year, the Classical Music Club Toronto holds a Christmas party for members and their guests. We hold the party to a FRIDAY night because Saturdays in December tend to be fully booked for many of the Classical Music Club Toronto members.

Details of location and how to RSVP are provided to members via electronic or traditional mail. This is a 'Pot Luck' party. To avoid duplicates, in your RSVP indicate the food you intend to bring. Your friends are welcome. Please bring your own drinks.

ANNUAL CD EXCHANGE: Please wrap a CD you would like to share with other members.


Sun Jan 20 2:00

Giuseppe Verdi: Bicentennial Celebration (Part 1)

2013 is the bicentennial of two great operatic giants—Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. On the global scale, the international celebrations have already started, such as La Scala’s season opening on December 7, 2012, with Wagner’s Lohengrin. CMC is not an exception. We offer two programs each for these composers whose works will forever remain the best of opera theatre.

Giuseppe Verdi lived through the period of the Risorgimento, the independence and unity movement in Italy. The accompanying wars burned cities and killed thousands of people at the same time Verdi’s operas were premiered. We will look into operas, such as I Vespri Siciliani and Simon Boccanegra, which are performed relatively less often but have recently been revived as standard repertory. Stimulating stagings will also reveal the hot-blooded, patriotic nature of Verdi’s music which in the 21st century is brought to a high level of universal humanism.


Sun Feb 24 2:00

Pinchas & the Concerto (Program 3)

Experience some of the greatest music ever written for the violin through the ears of one of the finest violinits of our time as Pinchas Zukerman gives studio demonstrations and discusses these works with Eric Friesen. In this series of five programs, each program will feature two one-hour presentations. In the first half of Program 3 we will hear Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 61. The first movement is played by Pinchas Zukerman with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Meta. The second movement is played by Isaac Stern with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein. In the third movement, we have again Pinchas Zukerman with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Meta.

Pinchas Zukerman and Eric Friesen

After the break, we will hear the Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 77. The opening of the first movement is played by David Oistrakh with the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by George Szell. The first movement cadenza will be played once by Pinchas Zukerman with the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Daniel Barenboim, then again by Fritz Kreisler in a 1927 recording. The second movement will be played by Pinchas Zukerman with the Orchestra de Paris, conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Finally, the third movement will be played by Gil Shaham with the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Claudio Abbado.


Sun Mar 17 2:00

Nikolaus Harnoncourt


Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt was born in Berlin, Germany in 1929 and was raised in Graz, Austria. He is particularly known for his historically informed performances (HIP). At the start of his career, he worked as a cellist in the Vienna Symphony, playing a wide range of repertory from Bach to Stravinsky. Harnoncourt wondered: Why do the performances become so boring every time they play pieces by the composers Bach and before? Why does the music of earlier periods appear unexciting while other art forms such as painting and literature from the same period keep their charm for the contemporary public?

First, he founded his own period instrument ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien in 1953, and became a pioneer of the Early Music movement. Around 1970, Harnoncourt started to conduct opera and concert performances, soon leading renowned international symphony orchestras, and appearing at major concert halls, operatic venues, and festivals. His repertoire has since widened to include composers of the 19th and 20th century.

Through his recordings Harnoncourt struck us by his refreshing, immediate expression. It was a true shock to encounter his recordings of Mozart symphonies, No. 25 in particular, with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Another example of his impressive work is the Monteverdi series with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle at Zürich Opera. The trilogy toured around Europe in the late 1970s and its huge success resulted in the wonderful UNITEL video recordings. These performances abound in the edgy contrast between the joy of life and deadly grief, tremendous sensuality and comic humor. Through his interpretation all these pieces are suddenly filled with a richness we previously had not considered to be a part of “pure” compositions. It may have been a process of regaining and rediscovering the humanity in the music.

The program includes his video appearances in the Mozart year 2006.


Sun Apr 21 2:00

Brahms's German Requiem

Those who know the New Testament well will recognize the first line of the German Requiem (“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”) as the second Beatitude from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. However, neither the word “Jesus” nor “Christ” appears in the Biblical texts chosen by Brahms himself for this great work. Brahms must have known his Protestant Bible very well, selecting passages from the Old Testament (the Prophets, Psalms, Revelation) and the New Testament Gospels to suit his thematic purposes. This is not the traditional Catholic Mass for the Dead (recited or sung in Latin); rather, it is a message of comfort for the living (“those who mourn”) sung in German. Brahms wrote: “As for the title, I must admit I should like to leave out the word ‘German’ and refer instead to ‘Mankind’.” He thought of this work as a Human Requiem.

By avoiding direct reference to Christ, Brahms is able to comment profoundly on the universal subjects of life and death, of joy and sorrow in a non-liturgical way. The work, divided into 7 movements, displays a high degree of structural symmetry. According to one critic, there is a division into two basic parts: “Movements I-III give voice principally to mourning and the lament over the transience of earthly existence, while sections V-VII show the transformation of mourning into faith and the joyous certainty of eternal life.” The 4th movement, which is a description of Paradise (“How lovely is Thy dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts”), is serene yet energetic, and serves as the tranquil heart of the entire work. Textural and musical parallels and contrasts also exist between sections I and VII, II and VI, III and V.

For the presentation, we will begin with a performance of the one the Four Serious Songs (the third) which are among the last pieces Brahms wrote. This song about Death shows Brahms’s ingenious use of modulation from a minor to a major key, which is emblematic here (as in the Requiem) of the upward movement from dark to light and of ultimate Victory over Death. The Brahms Alto Rhapsody was written one year after the first complete performance of the German Requiem and it too has thematic similarities to the larger work: “In broad terms, the ‘Rhapsody’ may be seen as a journey from C minor to C major, transmuting the pain and despair of lost love into the hope of divine comfort.”


Sun May 26 2:00

Wagner: Bicentennial Celebration (Part 1)

The operatic works of Richard Wagner can be divided into three periods: an early period (1833–42), a middle period (1843–51) and a late period (1852–82). These periods are roughly defined by changes in the nature of his operas. The early period is characterized by works which can be described as pre-Romantic. Following Rienzi (1842) his operas certainly were created in the same mould as other Romantic composers, for example Weber, Lortzing, and Meyerbeer. With Lohengrin (1850), Wagner’s development led him to compose what he himself termed “music dramas” turning away from the “old-fashioned” formulas of separate numbered arias, duets, and choruses to a more through-composed structure in which drama and music became united.

The program will focus on examining the change that came about with Lohengrin which I consider to be a major turning point in Wagner’s operatic output. Examples from the pre-Romantic period as well as from the Romantic or middle period will lead to a more detailed look at Lohengrin as the precursor of the great music dramas to come.


Summer Season

Please note that summer programs are Saturdays at 7:00 P.M.

Sat Jun 15 7:00

Duo Pianos

The piano is such a powerfully expressive instrument that it can create a universe all on its own. A chamber ensemble can be fundamentally changed as soon as a piano joins the team. Sometimes it takes a string quartet to withstand a single piano. Even an orchestra can be reformed by having a piano in it. When this musical giant teams up together with another partner of its own kind, again they depart in a totally different direction from a simple solo piano recital. Together they can conjure up a unique world which can be filled with inter-relationships, battles, friendships, and diversity.

Our program reveals the rich world of the piano duo through the recordings of Perahia & Lupu, Friedrich Gulda & Chick Corea, and the beautiful Labèque sisters (who are visiting us very soon in the Toronto Summer Music Festival).


Sun Jun 30 All day

Pride Day 2013 CMC Booth

Drop by our club´s booth on Pride Day, June 30, 2013

We´re with the community organisations

Club members will be there to answer your questions

And we will have some previously enjoyed CDs for sale.

Pride Toronto Official Web site

Sat Jul 13 7:00


Scene from Aida by Verdi

On the Egyptian banner-holder’s masculine arm his golden bracelet shines against the cobalt-blue desert sky. “Aida trumpets” soar up to the stone columns and pyramids …Technicolor-Hollywood campiness is one side of the excitement of Verdi’s opera Aida.

But Aida is such a unique opera which was composed on an original libretto; there were no historical incidents, no legends, no theatre plays behind this opera. The entire tale of Aida was the result of a leap of imagination, pure fantasy inspired by two human skulls unearthed together in an Egyptian ruin. The fantasy created by European sensitivity of the 19th century expands the meaning of the masterpiece timelessly to a universal anti-war message.

When the opera proceeds to Acts 3 and 4, the most heartbreaking, truthful cries of war victims in any art form can be heard and the beauty of humanity conquering the dilemmas of war is accomplished in pianissimi. Aida magically invites to submit to the heat of a summer evening.


Sat Aug 17 7:00

Pinchas & the Violin (Part 4)

Experience some of the greatest music ever written for the violin through the ears of one of the finest violinits of our time as Pinchas Zukerman gives studio demonstrations and discusses these works with Eric Friesen. In this series of five programs, each program will feature two one-hour presentations. In the first half of Program 4 we will hear the Alban Berg Violin Concerto - To the Memory of an Angel, first movement part one, played by Philippe Hirshhorn, violin, Pierre Bartholomée conductor with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liege; first movement complete played by Pinchas Zukerman, violin, Pierre Boulez conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra; second part opening, played by Pinchas Zukerman, violin, Pierre Boulez conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra; second movement complete played by Pinchas Zukerman, violin, Pierre Boulez conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Pinchas Zukerman and Eric Friesen

After the break, we will hear the Elgar Violin Concerto, Opus 61, first movement partial played by Yehudi Menuhin, violin, Sir Edward Elgar conducting with the London Symphony Orchestra in an historic 1932 recording; second movement played by Pinchas Zukerman, violin, Daniel Barenboim conductor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; third movement played by Pinchas zukerman, violin, Leonard Slatkin conductor with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.


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Last Updated: Sunday October 1, 2023 at 1:54 pm