This year’s Toronto Summer Music Festival runs from July 12th to August 4th and, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 is war themed, though to be honest it wears it pretty lightly. As always there is one big vocal star. This year it’s German tenor Christoph Prégardien. He has a recital at Walter Hall with Julius Drake at 7.30pm on July 17th. He also pops up on the 20th at the same time and place to sing Schubert’s Die Forelle with Stephen Philcox in a program that features chamber music by Schubert, Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff. There’s no word on public masterclasses but he’s around for a few days so I suspect that something will emerge.
The Summer Music Academy’s Art of Song program for young singers is back. The reGENERATION recital is on July 14th at 1pm and 4pm in Walter Hall.
On July 16th at 7.30pm at, you guessed it, Walter Hall there’s a chance to hear
the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal conducted by Artistic Director Andrew McAnerney in a program featuring three 16th century settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. They are by Thomas Tallis, Cristóbal de Morales, and Roland de Lassus.
Moving away from classical vocal there are several more concerts of interest. I’m quite excited by a staging of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat at Koerner Hall on July 19th. It features the TSO Chamber Soloists with narrator Derek Boyer. Jenn Nichols will be dancing (and choreographing) and Alaina Viau designs and direct. The original theatrical version of Copland’s Appalachian Spring is a bonus.
I’m seriously intrigued by Sounding Thunder which plays at Walter Hall on the 23rd at 7.30pm. It’s described as “a multi-disciplinary musical journey into the life of the renowned Ojibwe WWI sniper and decorated officer of the Canadian military, Francis Pegahmagabow. Composed by Tim Corlis and written by Ojibwe poet Armand Garnet Ruffo, Sounding Thunder draws upon the memoirs of Pegahmagabow himself, family memories, and historical sources… It uses film, chamber music, dance and drumming to explore Pegahmagabow’s early years immersed in the world of the Anishinaabe spirits, his extraordinary accomplishments in the trenches of WWI, and finally his political life as Chief of the Wausauksing Ojibwe and founder of the early Indigenous political moment in Canada”. Created and staged by the Festival of the Sound.
The TSM Late Night Encore on July 19th at 10.30pm at Koerner Hall includes Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time with violinist Jonathan Crow, cellist Julie Albers, clarinettist Miles Jaques, and pianist Natasha Paremski.
There’s lots more chamber music; much of it 20th century and later. There’s also jazz, gospel, big band and various “fusion” approaches. The “Last Night of the Proms” approach to the August 4th finale has thankfully been dropped too. Full details at www.torontosummermusic.com.