PROGRAM SCHEDULE 2015-2016
Vaughan Williams: Sea Symphony
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872—1958) is generally considered to be the
successor in the line of British symphonic composers begun by
William Boyce (1710—79) and continued through Sir Edward Elgar (1857—1934).
In all, Vaughan Williams composed nine works in this genre with his first,
known as “A Sea Symphony”, regarded as one of the most important
works in both the symphonic and choral tradition of the UK. Composed in 1909
and employing a large orchestra as well as full four-part chorus, small
chorus, and two soloists (soprano and baritone), the work is a setting of
various poems by the American poet Walt Whitman on the theme of the sea in
all its many moods. The opening movement is a salute to “sailors of
all nations” and begins with a bracing representation of the power
of the ocean. A nocturne forms the second movement in which the baritone
sings of his loneliness on the beach alone at night and of his awe at the
power of creation. The third movement is an excited scherzo depicting the
waves at play and is scored for chorus and orchestra alone. The final
extended movement begins with the moment of creation and ends with a vision
of an individual and his soul (represented by the baritone and soprano
soloists) metaphorically sailing off into the vast ocean representing
There are a number of famous recordings of this piece and we will
sample several of these interpretations in the first half of the program
followed by a full performance in the second.
Bach Collegium Japan
Masaaki Suzuki is a Japanese organist, harpsichordist and conductor,
and the founder and musical director of the Bach Collegium Japan. He was
born in Kobe to parents who were both Christians and amateur musicians.
Masaaki Suzuki began playing organ professionally at church services at
the age of 12. He earned degrees in composition and organ at the Tokyo
National University of Fine Arts and Music, then earned Soloist Diplomas
at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, where he studied harpsichord
and organ with Ton Koopman and Piet Kee and improvisation with Klaas Bolt.
From 1981 to 1983 he was a harpsichord instructor at the Staatliche
Hochschule für Musik in Duisburg, Germany. In 1983 he returned to Japan,
where he began teaching at Kobe Shoin Women's University. In 1990 he
founded Bach Collegium Japan, composed of an orchestra and a chorus
specializing in Baroque music, playing on period instruments. The group
began giving concerts regularly in 1992, and made its first recordings
three years later, when they began recording Bach's complete cantatas
for the Swedish label BIS Records. They completed the 55-volume series
of church cantatas in 2013.
Peter Jablonski, Pianist
Peter Jablonski was born in Lyckeby, Sweden to a Polish father and Swedish
mother and studied percussion and piano at Malmö Conservatory from 1982 to
1986. At the age of nine he performed as a drummer at the Village Vanguard
Jazz Club in New York. He debuted as a pianist in Sweden at the age of 12,
with Mozart Concerto No. 17 K 453. In 1989 he moved to the United Kingdom,
where he studied composition, conducting and piano at the Royal College of
Music in London. Signed to Decca Records in 1991, he made his debuts at
Washington's Kennedy Center in 1992 and at London's Royal Festival Hall
in 1993. In 2008 he made his conducting debut with the Cracow Philharmonic.
The Washington Post wrote about Jablonski: “It may happen once a season
or once in a lifetime. Along comes a talent, not merely your run-of-the-mill
virtuoso, but someone, something extraordinary that makes you rethink a
piece of music you thought you’ve known forever.” A man of many talents
makes his relatively late-blooming Toronto debut. Our program traces
the remarkable development and maturity of his artistry.
Peter Jablonski is performing in Toronto.
Festive Season Party
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) was one of those composers whose long
creative life spanned a number of periods of classical music.
In addition to his composing career he was also an accomplished
organist, conductor and pianist. His compositions are in almost
every genre: orchestral, operatic, chamber, song, and even an
early film score from 1908! As a teacher he numbered
Maurice Ravel and Gabriel Fauré among his distinguished students.
The focus of the program will be on his five piano concertos
but we will also have the opportunity to enjoy excerpts from
his other works.
Bach: Goldberg Variations
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations attracts so many
keyboard players. For many contemporary pianists the Goldberg is a
challenging recording project which can be considered as an artistic
statement or an evening of live performance demanding tremendous
strength and technique as well as structural insight. After its
publication in 1742, the Goldberg has been long forgotten until the
20th century. Alongside Wanda Landowska, Glenn Gould should be remembered
as the torchbearer in the establishment of the current status of this
masterpiece. Music lovers in Toronto can appreciate a local bond when
we see the opening bars of the Aria theme on Gould’s tombstone in
Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
On the occasion of this precious live performance opportunity in a few
weeks in Toronto, our presentation lights up not only the harpsichord
and piano, but also includes arrangements beyond solo keyboard, such
as a two-piano version and one for string ensemble. Bach’s spectacular
universe of sound experiment contains limitless possibilities.
Bach’s showpiece is performed live in Toronto
by French harpsichordist Benjamin Alard:
Thu Mar 31, Fri Apr 1, Sat Apr 2, 2016 at 8pm,
Sun Apr 3 at 3:30pm at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
Tue Apr 5, 2016 at 8pm George Weston Recital Hall
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar”
THIS PROGRAMME HAS BEEN CANCELLED
Strauss: Alpine Symphony
THIS PROGRAMME HAS BEEN CANCELLED
Please note that summer programs are Saturdays at 7:00 P.M.
We are pleased to present this program which was postponed from January 24.
While not as rich a source as that of other European countries, the French
symphonic tradition yields many unexpected treasures. Our program will
explore the more familiar examples such as Saint-Saëns and Franck but
also works by Bizet, Roussel, and Gounod. There is a wonderful variety
of delightful surprises in store.
Bayreuth Wagner Festival
In 2007, Toshi and I were lucky enough to secure tickets to the Bayreuth Festival
and an unforgettable opportunity to see the Ring Cycle there. After ten years of
unsuccessfully applying, the opera gods again smiled on us and we were able to get
tickets to three performances in early August. In addition, we managed to get tickets to
Die Meistersinger in Munich the weekend before. We are pleased to share with you video and
audio excerpts from the four operas we will be seeing — Die Meistersinger
von Nürnberg, Der fliegende Holländer, Tristan und Isolde,
and Parsifal. Join and help us in preparation for the Wagner Expedition
Welcome to our annual opportunity for members to participate
without the requirement of planning an entire program. Just bring
along CD or DVD selections that you’d like to share with other
club members (up to about 10-15 minutes in length). Here’s a
chance to go through your collection, make some discoveries
(or rediscoveries), and bring them along to the meeting. This
will be an opportunity to update ourselves about the most recent
recordings (especially important in a time when classical music
releases seem to be fewer and fewer every month) and to get to
know each CMC member’s musical passion.