LSM Newswire

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tafelmusik Performs its first Beethoven 9th Symphony

For immediate release: March 16, 2011

Tafelmusik’s Beethoven Cycle Culminates with Symphony No. 9
“Tafelmusik has finally caught up with a composer whose music they seem, in retrospect,
destined to play.
— The Globe and Mail

Tafelmusik Orchestra and Chamber Choir
Directed by Bruno Weil
With guest soloists:
Sigrid Plundrich, soprano
Anita Krause, mezzo-soprano
Rufus Müller, tenor
Christòpheren Nomura, baritone

Date + Times: Thursday April 7, Friday April 8, Saturday April 9 at 8:00 pm
Sunday April 10 at 3:30 pm

Ticket Prices: $45 - $95
Face the Musik for 30 and under: $25 and up

Venue: Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning,
The Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor Street West

Box Office: Koerner Hall: 416.408.0208/

Website: /

Suddenly everything in the piece made sense; suddenly the scrumptious colours, which one never hears in a modern orchestra, emerged from the score like those of a lovingly restored painting.”
—The National Post

Tafelmusik comes full circle! The concerts on April 7 to 10, 2011 at Koerner Hall represent a milestone in Tafelmusik’s history, when the combined forces of the orchestra and chamber choir led by Bruno Weil perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on period instruments for the first time. These concerts are the culmination of a critically-acclaimed cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies, and promise to “transport the listener into aural heaven.” (National Post). The programme opens with a cappella choral works by Mendelssohn, Brahms and Arvo Pärt, directed by Tafelmusik Chamber Choir Director Ivars Taurins.

Since 1998, under the direction of Maestro Weil, Tafelmusik has recorded four of the Beethoven symphonies on the Analekta and Sony Classical labels, including the JUNO Award-winning Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 CD, and the JUNO Award-nominated Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 CD and DVD. Maestro Weil has also directed Tafelmusik in international performances of Beethoven symphonies at the Klang und Raum Festival in Irsee, Germany, where they will reprise their performance of the Symphony No. 9 in September 2011. Tafelmusik’s Beethoven interpretations have been much admired by the international press, including the U.K.’s Gramophone Magazine:

Tafelmusik need no introduction when it comes to transparency of articulation and balance. Here, however, they travel through Classical territory with remarkable precision, vitality and tonal focus. Beethoven benefits mightily from the silken strings, woodsy winds, clarion brasses and pinpoint timpani. After these ultra-fresh experiences, can we ever hear modern-instrument performances without feeling that something is missing? Possibly, but Weil and his players convince us that Beethoven can sound as radical in the 21st century as he must have done in the 19th.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is one of the pinnacles of the symphonic repertoire and marks the first time in the history of Western music that the human voice (in the form of four vocal soloists and a choir) was woven into the texture of a symphonic score. The final movement’s famous “Ode to Joy” celebrating the unity of mankind is set to text by the poet Friedrich Schiller, and has become a global anthem for universal brotherhood. Remarking on reaching this musical summit with Tafelmusik, Bruno Weil says, “I have always thought that this is particularly a great Beethoven orchestra because Beethoven needs the passion of every individual player; everybody has to do it with a full heart and devotion.

Tafelmusik first performed a Beethoven symphony (No. 2) in 1993 under the direction of Bruno Weil in Toronto. The concert was a revelation and for the first time, Toronto audiences heard Tafelmusik perform these works on the instruments for which they were written. The Beethoven symphony cycle began in earnest in 1998 with a performance of the Symphony No.1 led by Maestro Weil in Irsee, with a repeat performance in February 1999 at Toronto’s Massey Hall.

Acclaim for Tafelmusik’s live Beethoven concerts and CD/DVD recordings has continued to build for more than a decade, with critics remarking on the Orchestra’s ability to reveal new textures in these well-known works: “Pungent natural horns, soft-edged woodwinds, and the fragile earthiness that comes from gut strings tuned to a lower-than-modern pitch made Tafelmusik’s spirited readings feel like a tour of so many secret gardens.” (The Globe and Mail)

Maestro Weil says, “We approach these Beethoven concerts as if they were the very first performance, as though the music had been composed yesterday. This is the real thing — there’s no sense of routine with Tafelmusik musicians and everybody’s giving their all for this music, playing with a full heart and a full soul and spirit. That is the secret to a great performance.”

Full programme includes:
Mendelssohn Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe
Brahms Missa canonica: Sanctus, Agnus dei, Benedictus, Dona nobis pacem
Pärt Nunc dimittis
Beethoven Symphony No. 9



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