Confluence announces virtual 2020/21 season

Confluence Concerts have announced a five concert and two special event virtual 2020/21 season with their usual eclectic and enticing mix of repertoire.

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September 23rd 2020 – Something to Live for; A Billy Strayhorn Celebration

A detailed look at the story of the great 20th century classical and jazz pianist and composer. Best known for his long-time collaboration with Duke Ellington, Strayhorn composed Take the A Train, Lush Life, Something to Live For, Chelsea Bridge, and A Flower is a Lovesome Thing.

Curated and arranged by Andrew Downing

Featuring Larry Beckwith, Alexa Belgrave, Leighton Harrell, Aline Honzy, Drew Jurecka, Marion Newman, Patricia O’Callaghan, Alex Samaras, Suba Sankaran and more.

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Let’s Stay Together

Last night’s virtual salon by Confluence; Let’s Stay Together, featured an extremely, if unsurprisingly, eclectic selection of music and poetry and some serious techno-wizardry.  Two numbers featuring Suba Shankaran and her technical whizz husband Dylan Bell exemplified the techy side.  Come Together was an overdubbed. live looped, east meets west version of the Lennon and McCartney number in which the pair built up layers of sound incrementally.  Meditation Round, which rounded out the evening, was a moving new work by Suba dealing with how we need to move forward, not back, as life, perhaps, returns to some sort of normality.  There was an almost 16th century quality to the music and the performance in which pretty much everyone took part remotely.  Brilliant mixing and post production here backing up an extremely affecting work.

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At the River

It was the last concert of Confluence’s inaugural season last night.  The theme was “At the River” and the venue the rather splendid (if somewhat popish) St. Thomas’ Anglican on Huron Street.  It rather epitomized what I have come to expect, and love, from this series.  The musical styles on display were eclectic; classical, folk song, pop/rock, jazz with East and South Indian, Middle Eastern and Indigenous elements all well to the fore.  There was also some poetry including an unintentionally hilarious piece in praise of the idyllic Don River.  There was also a large and accomplished ensemble and a lot of joy and sheer fun.

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Innocent revels

purcellWhat do you get when you take nine multi-talented musicians from a variety of musical backgrounds and give them a Purcell toy box to play in?  You get the latest concert in the Confluence series; ‘Tis Nature’s Voice: Henry Purcell Reimagined.  It’s an amazingly fun evening that completely blows the cobwebs off the often stuffy Toronto baroque music scene.  I can’t do a number by number account because I completely lost track.  I was having way too much fun.

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Upcoming events

Ridiculously short notice I know but VOICEBOX/Opera in Concert’ are closing their season with Verdi’s Stiffelio this afternoon at the St. Lawrence Centre.  This 1850 workconcerns an adultery in the house of a Protestant minister and was so severely censored by the Italian authorities that Verdi withdrew it in 1856 and it’s rarely seen.  VOICEBOX will present the scholarly edition prepared from the Carrara family MS in the early 90’s.  It’s a concert performance with piano accompaniment featuring Ernesto Ramirez,  Laura Albino and Geoffrey Sirett.

On Wednesday there’s a rare performance of Gagliano’s La Dafne by Capella Intima and the Toronto Continuo Collective.  An ensemble of dramatic voices accompanied by lutes, theorbos, harpsichord and viola da gamba will present Ovid’s tale of Apollo and Daphne.  It’s at noon and forms part of the COC’s free concert series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.

Finally, on March 3rd Toronto Masque Theatre is presenting a soirée on the history of the masque form.  There will be panel discussions and performances by soprano Patricia O’Callaghan, guitarist Ken Whiteley and others.  It’s at 7.30pm at  21 Shaftesbury Avenue, Toronto.  Tickets are by donation ($20 suggested) and seating is limited so registration is required either online at torontomasquetheatre.com or by calling 416-410-4561.