Last night’s TSO concert was a collaboration with Barbara Hannigan’s Equilibrium Young Artists project with EQ providing the quartet of soloists for Mozart’s Requiem. But before we got to the Requiem there was a performance of Mozart’s Symphony no. 39 in E-flat Major. It was enjoyable. A somewhat reduced scale TSO played as well as they usually do when Sir Andrew Davis is on the podium and he took us through an irreproachable reading of the works essential tuneful and easy to listen to four movements. It made a pleasant “overture”.
But the Requiem was the main event. I’m probably overthinking this but it did seem to exemplify the problems of doing Mozart in a big hall. The choir was the 100+ strong Toronto Mendelssohn Choir which is a big choir with a big choir sound albeit crisp and sprightly when appropriate. The soloists; Jenavieve Moore (soprano), Jillian Bonner (mezzo), Charles Sy (tenor) and Trevor Eliot Bowes (bass) are all very good young singers with voices perfectly appropriate for Mozart. Bowes is probably actually a bit heftier than that when he chooses to be. But they are not “Wagnerian”. Sensibly Sir Andrew dropped the back desks of the strings for the parts for the solo quartet and they got sensitive accompaniment which is way better than what used to be the standard at the TSO; covering the singers! It did though give something of a feel of two different pieces stitched together. I don’t think there’s a good answer to how to do a Mozart vocal piece in a 2600 seat hall and I can’t fault the choices that were made and it’s just the same problem as listening to the Met do Mozart or Handel. Maybe I should just have sat back and enjoyed a very good performance.
This programme is being repeated tonight and Saturday at 8pm and Friday at 7.30pm.
Photo credit: Jag Gundu.