Dec 12, 2014

Tafelmusik welcomes world-renowned conductor Kent Nagano for all-Beethoven concerts at Koerner Hall, Jan. 22 - 25, 2015

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With guest soloists Nathalie Paulin soprano, Laura Pudwell mezzo-soprano, 
Lawrence Wiliford tenor and Sumner Thompson baritone
and Cecilia Bernardini guest concertmaster
“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, 2003
Toronto, December 12, 2014 … World-renowned conductor Kent Nagano directs Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir in a powerful all-Beethoven programme pairing the iconic Symphony no. 5 with the Mass in C Major, featuring a stellar cast of guest soloists: soprano Nathalie Paulin, mezzo-soprano Laura Pudwell, tenor Lawrence Wiliford, and baritone Sumner Thompson. Violinist Cecilia Bernardini returns as guest concertmaster for these concerts, which take place at Koerner Hall from January 22 to January 25, 2015. Public lectures for all ticket-holders take place one hour before each concert.  
This marks the first time that Maestro Nagano, who is the Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducts Tafelmusik in Toronto. 
These Beethoven concerts renew the relationship between Tafelmusik and Maestro Nagano, which began with Tafelmusik’s 2009 “landmark performances” (Montréal Gazette) of Bach’s Mass in B Minor in collaboration with l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Maestro Nagano subsequently invited Tafelmusik to the Reate Festival in Italy, and for the inaugural gala concerts of Montréal’s Maison symphonique in 2011.
Beethoven’s powerful Symphony No. 5 is arguably the most famous symphonic work ever composed. In his programme notes for these concerts, Tafelmusik cellist Allen Whear writes, “Volumes have been written on the symbolism of the Fifth Symphony … It was seen by Romantics as a validation of their ideals, and has been interpreted as a manifestation of Beethoven’s personal struggles, but its novelty and undeniable power are demonstrable in purely musical terms.”
About the Mass in C Major composed in 1807, Whear writes, “Beethoven was not a church-going man, but held deeply felt religious convictions. The Mass in C is his first complete musical expression of these beliefs, the realization of his desire to make a personal statement of humanity and spirituality. His concern, in his own words, was ‘an emphasis not on God or princes, but on the human being entering the church,’ and this can be felt in every note.”
Tafelmusik is no stranger to the music of Beethoven and has performed all nine symphonies in Toronto under the direction of frequent collaborator, Bruno Weil. In 1999, for the first time, Toronto audiences heard Tafelmusik perform these works on the instruments for which they were written. Those ground-breaking concerts garnered acclaim from critics who noted that the “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.” (Globe and Mail
Tafelmusik has also received awards for its recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies (which comprise all but the Ninth, scheduled for future recording), as well as words of praise: “vigour with bitingly crisp tone and dynamic playing … Lyrical phrases are smooth and graceful. Bold, concentrated tone color enriches the middle movements, and clean, swift counterpoint enhances the finale.” (New Jersey Star-Ledger)
Tafelmusik released Beethoven Symphonies 1 to 4, recorded live at Koerner Hall, on the Tafelmusik Media label in 2013. Previously released recordings on the Analekta and Sony Classical labels include the JUNO Award-winning Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6, and the JUNO Award-nominated Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 (on CD and DVD). 
Renowned for interpretations of clarity, elegance and intelligence, Kent Nagano is equally at home in music of the classical, romantic and contemporary eras, introducing concert and opera audiences throughout the world to new and rediscovered music and offering fresh insights into the established repertoire.  In addition to his roles as Music Director Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and Principal Guest Conductor Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra he is in great demand as a guest conductor with the world’s finest orchestras. 
The Dutch-Italian violinist Cecilia Bernardini made her Tafelmusik debut last season in a programme of French baroque music. One of the most versatile violinists of her generation, she performs on both modern and baroque violin. Prize-winner at numerous national competitions, she has appeared as soloist in major halls, including Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Musikverein Vienna, and Konzerthaus Berlin. She is concertmaster of Dunedin Consort, and appears as leader with Ensemble Zefiro, The King’s Consort, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Bach Collegium Japan, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and The Netherlands Bachvereniging. 
Tafelscene, Tafelmusik’s 35 & Under Young Audience programme, will be hosting an intermission party with musicians on Saturday January 24.  These popular get-togethers are a chance for young audience members to mingle with their favourite musicians, while enjoying wine and snacks. For more information about Tafelscene, visit the website.