Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The University of St. Michael’s College
in the University of Toronto presents

Vivaldi, Gloria and other music 
for the feast of St. Michael
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 7:30 p.m.
St. Basil’s Church 

Concerto Grosso in A, Op. 6, no. 11 George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)
1. Andante larghetto e staccato
2. Allegro  
3. Largo e staccato
4. Andante
5. Allegro

O Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem John Blow (1649–1708) - Hallie Fishel, soprano
Kyrie Eleison Anonymous plainchant (11th century) - Joel Allison, cantor

Gloria in D, RV 589 Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741)
1. Gloria in excelsis Deo
2. Et in terra pax 
3. Laudamus te - Hallie Fishel and Laurel-Ann Finn, sopranos 
4. Gratias agimus tibi
5. Propter magnam gloriam 
6. Domine Deus - Hallie Fishel, soprano 
7. Domine, Fili unigenite
8. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei - Annemarie Sherlock, alto
9. Qui tollis peccata mundi
10. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris - Christina Labriola, alto
11. Quoniam tu solus sanctus 
12. Cum Sancto Spiritu 

“The best music-making in Venice is to be found in the orphanages for girls, consisting entirely of orphans, of illegitimate children, or of children from families unable to pay for their education. The state educates them at their expense and has some of them trained to be good musicians. It is therefore no wonder that they sing like angels, and play violin, flute, oboe, organ, cello, and bassoon, not even stopping at the largest instruments. Some forty girls perform at each concert. I assure you there is no more delightful sight than a pretty young nun wearing a white robe and a bouquet of pomegranate flowers in her hair, leading an orchestra with incomparable grace and the proper feeling.”

This description of the music at the Conservatorio dell’Ospedale della Pietà, where Vivaldi was Maestro di Concerti, is by Charles de Brosses, Count of Tournay. The concerts given by the young women of the Pietà were a major attraction on the Venice stop of the Grand Tour taken by European gentlemen of the eighteenth century.

Given the present popularity of the Gloria in D major, it is hard to imagine that Vivaldi’s church music was completely forgotten until well into the twentieth century. His sacred music, existing in manuscripts scattered throughout Europe, was largely composed and performed as part of his duties at the Pietà and this Gloria is no exception. De Brosses goes on to say that the Pietà’s string section was better than that of the Paris Opéra, so Vivaldi must have been a great teacher as well as violinist and composer.

John Blow was 11 years old at the Restoration of the English crown in 1660. The Chapel Royal choir had been disbanded when the Puritans took power (though Cromwell pinched the chapel organ and there is a record of him enjoying two boys singing Latin motets at his home in Hampton Court) so there were so few trained boy sopranos that they were forced to use “men’s feigned voices” (falsetto singers) as trebles. This stop gap was soon remedied as boys like Blow and Pelham Humphrey were educated in the French style which the restored king had grown accustomed to in his exile at the French court. Blow’s anthem is unusual in having a single soprano soloist; most such anthems use alternating sections of bass, tenor, and alto (in fact, high tenor, not “feigned voices”), soloists, with full choir. Perhaps the soldier St. Michael, whose feast we celebrate, will not mind us praying for peace tonight and hoping to dispense with his services.

When the young Handel was sent to Rome to absorb the Italian style he composed a French style overture, with the type of rhythms that stud Blow’s anthem, to be performed by an orchestra led by Arcangelo Corelli (the composer who perfected the Concerto Grosso form). After a disastrous read through, Corelli is supposed to have said “But, my dear Saxon, this is in the French style, which I do not understand.” Handel’s Concerti Grossi retain the Italianate alternation between a little concertino group and the big ripieno group; at the same time, he trusted the English subscribers to his London print of Concerti Grossi (1739) to be able to cope with French style overtures, or at least not to be as chauvinistic as Corelli was in pretending not to understand them.

First Violin
Christopher Verrette, Michelle Odorico, Elizabeth Loewen

Second Violin
Patricia Ahern, Valerie Gordon, Rezan Onen Lapointe

Matt Antal, Eleanor Verrette

Laura Jones, Felix Deak

Double Bass
Calum McLeod

Philip Fournier, John Edwards

Gillian Howard

Andras Molnar

Madeline Dawson, Laurel-Ann Finn, Hallie Fishel, Anna Lubinsky, Sheila Mulrooney, Barbara North, Emily Sherlock, Jane Ubertino

Irene Chan, Cindy Dymond, Irene Gaspar, Ana Iorgulescu, Christina Labriola, Mekhriban Mamedova, Paula Owalabi, Annemarie Sherlock, Julia Warnes, Kathryn Zaleski-Cox
Jeremy Hernandez-Lum Tong, Rob Kinar, Edmund Lo, Reid Locklin, Antonio Manco

Joel Allison, Eric Charron, Paul McGrath

Rehearsal Pianist
Mekhriban Mamedova

Named after the singers and lutenists who performed in the most intimate quarters of the Stuart monarchs’ palace, The Musicians In Ordinary for the Lutes and Voices dedicate themselves to the performance of early solo song and vocal chamber music. Soprano Hallie Fishel and lutenist John Edwards have been described as “winning performers of winning music.” A fixture on the Toronto early music scene for over 10 years, in 2012 MIO became Ensemble in Residence at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. They have concertized across North America and lecture regularly at universities and museums. Institutions where MIO have performed range from the scholarly to those for a more general public and include the Shakespeare Society of America, the Renaissance Society of America, the Shakespeare Association of America, Grinnell College, the Universities of Alberta, Toronto and at California at San Diego, the Kingston Opera Guild, Syracuse, Trent and York Universities and the Bata Shoe Museum. They have been Ensemble in Residence at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. 

Tenor Robert Kinar studied in Montreal and at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he completed a Master’s degree in Performance Practice. Since locating to Toronto, Robert has appeared with various groups in the region including the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Masque Theatre, Tallis Choir, and the Elora Festival Singers. He recently sang the role of Evangelist for the Grand River Chorus’s performance of Bach’s St. John Passion, and the lead role for the premiere of Andrew Ager’s new opera Führerbunker. Robert has also enjoyed solo performances with Video Games Live and the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds tour. In his spare time he maintains a small vocal studio, works in the TV and Film industry, and is brushing up on his keyboard/continuo playing.

Canadian bass-baritone Joel Allison hails from the Ottawa valley and obtained his BMus in vocal performance from the University of Ottawa. He has relocated to Toronto to pursue a Diploma in Opera Performance from the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Daniel Taylor. Upcoming performances with the Opera Studio at the University of Toronto include Mr. Gobineau in The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti, and John Shears in Paul Bunyan by Benjamin Britten. Recent engagements include the role of Adam in Haydn’s Creation with the Peterborough Singers; premiering a new song cycle by Andrew Ager at the University of Ottawa; the title role in Telemann’s Don Quixote with the Seventeen Voyces; the role of Aeneas in the University of Ottawa’s production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas; the bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem for the Strings of St. John’s; and appearances as soloist with the Talisker Players for the past two seasons. Joel is an alumnus of the Ontario Youth Choir and the Tafelmusik Summer Baroque Institute. 

Christopher Verrette has been a member of the violin section of Tafelmusik since 1993 and is a frequent soloist and leader with the orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University. He contributed to the development of early music in the American Midwest, as a founding member of the Chicago Baroque Ensemble and Ensemble Voltaire, and as a guest director with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. He collaborates with many ensembles around North America, performing music from seven centuries on violin, viola, rebec, vielle, and viola d’amore. He was concertmaster in a recording of rarely heard classical symphonies for an anthology by Indiana University Press and recently collaborated with Sylvia Tyson on the companion recording to her novel, Joyner’s Dream.

St. Michael’s Schola Cantorum is an auditioned ensemble drawn from students, staff, alumni/ae, faculty, and friends of USMC, and members of St. Basil’s parish choir. We sing three concerts per year, at Michaelmas, during Advent, and Lent. Michael O’Connor is the founding Director of St. Michael’s Schola Cantorum. He teaches in the college programs at St. Michael’s and also directs the St. Mike’s Singing Club. His academic scholarship and practical music-making overlap in the theory and practice of liturgical music.