Classical Music Club Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

28th Season
Sun Sep 7 2:00

Vaughan Williams: London Symphony

The second symphony by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was designated by the composer himself as “A London Symphony” and is rarely referred to as “Symphony No. 2”. Composed from 1912 to 1913, the symphony was first performed in 1914. During World War I, the original four-movement score, which had been sent to a conductor in Germany, was lost. Vaughan Williams later reconstructed and modified the work several times before it reached its final form. Although Vaughan Williams insisted that the work be listened to as absolute music, it does contain musical phrases (such as the Westminster chimes) which are descriptive of various locations in London.

CD cover, RVW Symphony No. 2

During the program we will have an opportunity to listen to the original 1914 version in a recording made by the late Richard Hickox for Chandos Records in 2001. This will be supplemented by other Vaughan Williams works.


Sun Oct 12 2:00

Elgar: Dream of Gerontius

Dream of Gerontius

Widely considered to be Elgar’s finest choral work, The Dream of Gerontius is a setting of a poem by John Henry Newman, an English Roman Catholic Cardinal. It tells the story of the passage of a dying man’s soul to judgement before God. This is a fine example of the late 19th century English choral tradition and we will be listening to excerpts from several celebrated CD recordings, including those of Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Simon Rattle, and Vernon Handley.


Sun Nov 16 2:00

Rossini: William Tell

Gugliolmo Tell at Teatro Reggio di Torino, 2014

Guglielmo Tell (William Tell) is the last opera composed by the Italian bel canto master Giaochino Rossini. Premiered on August 3, 1829, at the Paris Opéra, this work is so far in advance of other operas of the time that it is often considered to be one of the reasons that Rossini composed no more operas although living for nearly forty more years. He had reached the limit of what he could tell through the operatic medium. Although containing the usual scenes, arias, and choruses that make up the flesh and blood of bel canto opera, Guglielmo Tell also manages to produce musical statements that look ahead to the operas of Verdi and even the music dramas of Wagner. Using both audio and video examples, we will sample the wonders that make up this final masterpiece of one of opera’s greatest composers.

Long Ranger


Sun Dec 7 6:00

Festive Season Party

This is a Potluck Party. Please let us know what you will be bringing in order to avoid duplicates. The kitchen is open to receive and prepare food from 5:30 P.M. and the party starts at 6:00 P.M.

Your friends are welcome. Please bring your own drinks.

We will have our Christmas CD exchange. Please wrap a CD you would like to exchange with one of the other members.


Sun Jan 18 2:00

Kent Nagano Conducts Beethoven

Kent Nagano, Music Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, has recently completed a project with Analekta to record all of the Beethoven symphonies, coupling them with other orchestral pieces such as The Creatures of Prometheus and the Incidental Music to Egmont.

To celebrate the occasion of Kent Nagano conducting Beethoven with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto, we will sample some of these recordings to gain an understanding of Maestro Nagano’s personal view of these masterworks.

	   Kent Nagano conducts Beethoven
	   Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
	   Thu Jan 22, Fri Jan 23, Sat Jan 24 at 8pm,
	   Sun Jan 25 at 3:30pm, 2015
	   Koerner Hall
	   Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
	   and Mass in C major, Op. 86

Kent Nagano


Sun Feb 15 2:00

Schubert's Symphonies

Following up on our recent program featuring Beethoven’s symphonies, this program will present a survey of the symphonies of Franz Schubert (1797-1828). One of the foundations of the current symphonic repertoire, these works are a favourite of conductors, orchestras, and audiences alike and are featured regularly on concert programs the world over. This will be an excellent opportunity to hear how conductors past and present have tackled these early Romantic masterpieces.


Sun Mar 15 2:00

Jukka-Pekka Saraste Conducts Maher

Young Finnish conductor Jukka Pekka Saraste (1956-) arrived in Toronto as music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1994. The TSO’s publicist at that time commented with excitement “We have sexy, exotic material to promote. This is first time we’ve had this kind of excitement since Seiji Ozawa!” We have unforgettable memories of great concerts in Toronto, but what has been happening since he left Toronto in 2001?

Saraste served as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2002-2005), followed by a position as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (2006-2013). Saraste has been Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne since 2010.

These tenures at European orchestras resulted in a rich catalogue of recordings. Just to mention a few, Jukka-Pekka and the WDR Symphony released their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 on the Profil Hänssler label. The symphony was recorded live in the Cologne Philharmonie. Their previous recordings include Mahler’s Ninth Symphony and Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande, as well as Brahms’ First and Third Symphonies. With the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, there is a monumental recording of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony.

On the occasion of his return engagement with the TSO (April 8 & 9, 2015, Roy Thomson Hall) our program looks into Saraste’s successful career development and artistic maturity.


Sun Apr 12 2:00

Scriabin Centennial

Believed to be a synesthetic (i.e., one who experiences sound sensations as colour), Scriabin developed a theory of musical colour. Although this was not a new concept — Newton had assigned each of the colours of the visible s pectrum to one of the seven notes of the major scale — Scriabin expanded this theory by associating a specific colour with each of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale. One of his works, Prometheus: Poem of Fire, actually calls for a clavier à lumières (keyboard with lights). In an attempt to recreate the effect of this instrument, some concert performances bathe the auditorium in projected coloured lights corresponding to the colours notated in the score. This colour concept led him to create many works in which Schoenberg’s atonal music system is anticipated.

Scriabin’s musical expression was limited to a handful of orchestral works and many piano works. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of his death on April 27, the program will feature examples from each of these areas and will conclude with recorded excerpts from his unrealized work, Mysterium, which was to have been a grand week-long performance including music, scent, dance, and light in the foothills of the Himalayas Mountains that was somehow to bring about the dissolution of the world in bliss.


Sun May 17 2:00

Verdi's Requiem


Summer Season

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

Sat Jun 6 7:00



Nothing to be scared of! This is an evening filled with the gorgeously sensual music of Alban Berg (1885–1935) in his anniversary year. Berg’s last piece, the unfinished opera Lulu, is filled with eroticism and violence; it is a masterpiece of this overripe, end-of-century era. Lulu is a composition which is already stepping into the realm of contemporary music, but no other opera can possibly exceed Lulu as a true prima donna opera. Starting with Teresa Stratas, who premiered the three-act completed version, Canadian sopranos such as Rebecca Caine and Barbara Hannigan have taken the title role internationally in recent performances of Lulu. We will examine other singers who had the courage to tackle this super-challenging character in recent Blu-ray recordings with Christine Schäfer and Patricia Petibon.


Sat Jul 18 7:00

Mozart: String Quartets & Quintets

Mozart published his “Haydn Quartets” in 1785 and something fundamentally changed in classical music. This was one of the first purely artistic attempts in music, while other compositions were still acting as the accompaniment to wealthy dinners and providing materials for commercial concert series. The six “Haydn” String Quartets were written in Vienna during the years 1782 to 1785 without performance plans and dedicated to Joseph Haydn. On January 15 and February 12, 1785. Haydn first heard the quartets in private gatherings at Mozart’s home. After hearing them all, Haydn made a now-famous remark to Mozart’s father Leopold, who was visiting from Salzburg: “Before God, and as an honest man, I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name. He has taste, and, what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition.”

Profound indeed. Here in this set, Mozart bravely uses dissonance, chromatic scales, and astounding rhythms. The Haydn set is filled with musical experiments and achieves philosophical depth simultaneously.

Mozart exceeded his own artistic height In his great year of 1787 when the first two superb late String Quintets (in C major, K.515, and in G minor, K.516) came to life. Then, in 1789—1790, the two wonders of chamber music, namely the Quintet in D major, K. 593, and the Quintet in his beloved E-flat, K. 614, made their splendid appearance. The universe Mozart created here was so much beyond his time and unveils a world of timeless enigma.

Join us on a summer evening with the best of the chamber works by Mozart.


Sat Aug 8 7:00



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Last Updated: Sunday October 1, 2023 at 1:51 pm