Classical Music Club Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

32nd Season
Sun Sep 23 2:00

Marc-André Hamelin

To begin the Club’s 32nd season, we will concentrate on the pianistic virtuosity of Marc-André Hamelin. Born in 1961 in Montreal, Hamelin is known for his interpretation of a wide variety of composers. He is also well–known for his attention to lesser–known composers especially of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and for performing works by pianist–composers such as Leopold Godowsky and Franz Liszt. Alex Ross in The New Yorker referred to his “monstrously brilliant technique and his questing, deep-thinking approach”. We will sample a number of recordings from his impressive catalogue.

Hamelin will be performing at the Jane Mallet Theatere, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E. 416-366-7723. Tickets $47.50 - $52, students $10.

Programme: Bach-Busoni: Chaconne; Feinberg: Sonata No. 3 Op.3; Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Cypresses; Chopin: Polonaise-Fantaisie in A-Flat Op. 60; Chopin: Scherzo No.4 in E Op.54


Sun Oct 7 2:00

Schubert’s 1818 Compositions

Throughout his composing career Schubert was always prolific. His catalogue numbers over 1500 individual pieces. Focusing on a 12–month period exactly 200 years ago, we will examine a cross–section of his works in genres including piano sonatas and marches as well as a selection of Lieder.


Sun Nov 11 2:00

Debussy in Historically Informed Performance

The music of the early decades of the 20th century is being subjected to the kind of scrutiny that happened several years ago to the music of the early baroque and classical period. Orchestras, particularly French ones, are re-examining the works of Debussy, Stravinsky, and Ravel, performing them using instruments of that earlier period and performance practices of that earlier time. The results are often surprising -- sometimes less glossy and Romantic then the way we are used to hearing these works performed today. Pianists have also approached the works of Debussy using instruments of that period, again with surprising results.



Sun Dec 9 2:00

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Part 2)

As a follow-up to our December 2018 program, we will again focus on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125. Composed between 1822 and 1824, it was first performed in Vienna on May 7, 1824. The symphony opened up new era of orchestral music in its structure, length, addition of the chorus, and global theme. One of the features of the modern era of recording has been the number of orchestras who perform this work using reduced forces of the mid–19th century and instruments of that period. We will listen to recordings on both modern instruments and by historically informed performing ensembles.

As we noted last year, this symphony has very often been performed on special occasions, including season openings or finales, and the inaugural opening of concert venues. Interestingly, it is a popular feature of symphony concerts during the Christmas season in Japan, in a way similar to performances of Handel’s Messiah in North America.


Sun Jan 27 2:00

Christine Goerke’s Elektra


Dramatic soprano Christine Goerke returns to Toronto to perform in Richard Strauss’s Elektra with the Canadian Opera Company. This soprano’s repertoire includes many of the major dramatic soprano roles in the repertoire which we will include in the program.


Sun Feb 24 2:00

Masaaki Suzuki’s Bach

A major recording project of the 21st century was completed in 2014: a 55-volume set of the complete church cantatas of Bach by the Bach Collegium Japan led by its founder and conductor Masaaki Suzuki. For many years Maestro Suzuki has been one of the most internationally respected and sought-after Bach specialists. Next month, on March 21-24, Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra will welcome Suzuki onto the podium for their performances of the St. Mathew Passion. To commemorate this Toronto visit, we will share a selection of audio and video performances from his vast recorded legacy. .

Tafelmusic - St. Matthew Passion


Sun Mar 17 2:00

Diabelli Variations Bicentennial

The 33 Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli, Op. 120 (commonly known as the Diabelli Variations) was written between 1819 and 1823 by Ludwig van Beethoven on a waltz composed by Anton Diabelli. Often considered to be one of the greatest sets of variations for keyboard along with J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, the work has been called “the greatest set of variations ever written” (Donald Tovey), “the greatest of all piano works” (Alfred Brendel), and “a microcosm of Beethoven’s art” (Hans von Bülow). In celebration of the bicentennial of this piece in 2019 we will examine a selection of video and audio recordings.


Sun Apr 14 2:00

Peter Serkin, Pianist

Originally, the program scheduled for today was to be a survey of the pianistic viruosity of Murray Perahia presented in conjunction with his appearance in Toronto on May 1. Unfortunately, Mr. Perahia had to cancel his appearance and the Royal Conservatory of Music has scheduled Peter Serkin for that date. Hopefully, Mr. Perahia will be able to return to Toronto at a future date.

Meanwhile, the Club now has an opportunity to enjoy the work of an equally virtuosic American. Although Peter Serkin was born as an heir of the European tradition being the son of the great pianist Rudolf Serkin and the grandson of influential violinist Adolph Busch, he grew up to become an Amercian hippie wandering in Tibet. Peter began studying at the age of 11 at the Curtis Institute of Music, and in the following year made his concert debut at the Marlboro Festival, but his interest turned to contemporary music as one of the founding members of the avant–garde group TASHI.

Perhaps a typical feature of New York–based classical musicians, as with Perahia, a deeply rooted sense of tradition and touches of contemporary sensitive twists magically live together in Peter Serkin’s performances. Let’s hear his brilliant jazz–like wit being sprinkled on top of the magnificent base of his solid sound structure.


Sun May 19 2:00

Verdi’s Otello

One of the highlights of the 2018/19 opera season in Toronto has been the Canadian Opera Company’s wonderful production of Verdi’s Otello. This opera is always a challenge to present because the three main characters (Otello, Desdemona, and Iago) must be performed by singers who are at the peak of singing excellence, a rare occurrence. This is certainly the case for the Toronto cast of Russell Thomas, Tamara Wilson, and Gerald Finley. But three top singers is just the beginning. You also need a creative team to construct this very special universe. How lucky we are to have such a combination of talents here in Toronto. To celebrate this occasion, we will be presenting a selection of audio and video recordings featuring Del Monaco, Vickers, Tebaldi, Gobbi, and Cappuccilli, with Carlos Kleiber and Herbert von Karajan as conductors.


Summer Season

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

Sat Jun 22 7:00

Welcome, Maestro Gimeno!

The incoming music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents a series of concerts at Roy Thomson Hall from June 28 to 30. To give you a taste of the maestro in action, we will listen to a selection of his audio recordings with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra. There are also a number of videos available on YouTube which we will sample. Composers will include Shostakovich, Debussy, Ravel, Bruckner, and Stravinsky.


Sat Jul 20 7:00

Let’s Go Fishing! Bicentennial of Schubert’s Trout Quintet

The year 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of one of Franz Schubert’s most popular pieces, his Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667, composed when he was only 22 years of age. This work has been a favourite with chamber music enthusiasts, both players and audiences alike, since its first appearance. We will examine recordings featuring Jos Van Immerseel, Alfred Brendel, L’Archibudelli, Emil Gilels, the Amadeus Quartet, Alexander Schneider, and Peter Serkin. Rounding out the program will be the Lied “Die Forelle” (“The Trout”) on which Schubert based the later chamber piece as well as works with an aquatic or fishy connection by other composers.


Sat Aug 24 7:00


Bring Your Own Recordings

Members are invited to bring their own CDs, Blu-Rays and DVDs which they would like to share with other members of the club. Please limit the length of your selection to about ten minutes, permitting everyone to have a chance.


Past Years:

Last Updated: Sunday October 1, 2023 at 1:44 pm