Reviewed by Paula Citron
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s Good Friday concert, Sacred Music for a Sacred Space, was held at St. Paul’s Basilica, one of the most beautiful churches in the city with wonderfully resonant acoustics.
Conductor Noel Edison chose selections from mostly living composers, but nothing too discordant. The music, as befits the occasion, was solemn and reflective – but there was variety.
Cellist John Marshman joined the Mendelssohn Singers in John Taverner’s Svyati. Saxophonist John Johnson leant his improvisational skills to Cristobal de Morales’ Parce Mihi Domine, while organist Michael Bloss accompanied Arvo Pärt’s The Beatitudes, both for the full choir.
Edison also played with the sound. The smaller Mendelssohn Singers sang in the upstairs loft at the back of the church. In the second half, the full TMC stood in a “U” shape across the front of the church and down the side aisles, then collected at the front for the final three pieces.
It was a sublime concert both aurally and visually.
Sacred Music for a Sacred Space
Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Mendelssohn Singers
Conducted by Noel Edison
With special guests John Marshman, cello, John Johnson, saxophone and Michael Bloss, organ
St. Paul’s Basilica, Good Friday, Apr. 2, 2010