More cancellations

summer-has-been-cancelled-sorryThe Toronto Summer Music Festival is off.  Not a surprise but it’s the furthest forward I’ve yet seen for cancellations.  I think it indicates that there will be a fair amount of lead time required before anybody can schedule anything for sure which likely doesn’t bode well for the Fall seasons.  Also off is Tapestry’s Rocking Horse Winner; at least as far as live performances with audience are concerned.  Rehearsals are going ahead remotely so we’ll see what Michael Mori and co. manage to pull out of the hat this time!

Little Chamber Music Isolation Commissions

Today I want to draw your attention to Little Chamber Music and their Isolation Commissions.  For $200, you get to choose an artist who will film a 4min video of themselves performing at home, something that reflects the impact our extraordinary social situation is having on their artistic practice. It might be an improvisation, a favourite piece, a work that brings comfort, a work in progress….that’s up to the artist.

Smaller donations are very welcome! Several people have asked if they can contribute to the general fund for commissions; each time they reach $200 they will pick a great artist from our community who is in a vulnerable position.

Right now there are ten videos up on the website and all the information on how to donate, get a tax receipt etc is at the bottom of the page. So whether you are in a position to help or just want some consolation, do visit the site. Meanwhile here’s Alex and Jimin Dobson with some Bach for Holy Week.

And in other news… Arts Anyway the third episode aka episode 3 is up on Youtube. And three shall be the number of the episode…


A New England Requiem

Layout 1I’ve previously enjoyed both choral music and song from Scott Perkins so I was very interested to get hold of a disk of his sacred choral works which is anchored by his A New England Requiem.  In the modern fashion this mixes text from the liturgy with poetry from various sources.  It’s quite ethereal music and distinctly churchy; more Tavener than Elgar (though really nothing like either)!  The theme is definitely “peace and rest”.  There’s no Dies irae or anything like that!  The scoring is imaginative and good use is made of the organ’s lower ranges.  The singing is very beautiful as is the playing which comes from the sixteen players plus organ and twenty six voices of the Da Capo players & Choir with Tom Mueller on the organ and Brett Allan Judson conducting. A soprano soloist from the choir, Jasmine Gish is used in places.  She has an almost vibratoless sound which suits nicely.

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Beckwith on Beethoven

Beethoven_door_LyserLarry Beckwith of Confluence Concerts has been using the plague quarantine to listen to the Beethoven string quartets.  He’s written up his thoughts on each piece and linked to his chosen recording on Youtube.  Here’s what he had to say:

Beginning on Friday, March 20, 2020 and continuing for seventeen days in succession – as the city was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic – I turned to a project I intended to engage in at some point in 2020: listening to and reflecting upon the magnificent string quartets of Ludwig van Beethoven, who was born 250 years ago. Those reflections can be found on the Confluence Concerts Blog at

It’s as thoughtful as anyone who knows Larry would expect and the blog post for each quartet includes links to the appropriate Youtube recording.


Alexander Hajek webstreams

Alexander’s recording of yesterday’s livestream is up on his Facebook page.  It’s a compilation of Italian songs from the renaissance on down and he accompanies himself on piano.  The video quality is not great but the sound is fine and it’s fine singing.  If you scroll down a bit there’s also another stream of him singing Schubert’s Winterreise.

For technical reasons these are NOT on Youtube.