Apr 15, 2015
Tafelmusik premieres Alison Mackay’s new multi-media creation J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation, May 6 to 12 with narrator Richard Greenblatt
“Near-miraculously linked in thought and intention, the players of Tafelmusik sound as if born to the job. In purely musical terms, the Toronto-based players
– The West Australian (2015 review of Alison Mackay’s House of Dreams)
Toronto (Canada), April 15, 2015 … Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is thrilled to present the premiere performances of J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation — a celebration of the genius of Bach and the latest multi-media creation by Alison Mackay, the creator of Tafelmusik’s phenomenally successful productions seen around the world, The Galileo Project and House of Dreams. Directed by Jeanne Lamon and narrated by actor Richard Greenblatt, J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation combines text, music, and stunning projected images and video to explore the world of the artisans — papermakers, violin carvers, string spinners, and performers — who helped J.S. Bach realize his musical genius. This all-Bach programme is performed by Tafelmusik musicians entirely from memory. Concerts take place May 6 to 10 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, Jeanne Lamon Hall; and May 12 at George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts.
J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation blends 21st- century technology with an exploration of the tradition and skill of old world craftspeople and artisans. Like its predecessors The Galileo Project, and House of Dreams — described by the Toronto Star as “… much more than a concert … an experience that transcends its many components to create a special, all-encompassing experience that makes one forget time and place for two bliss-filled hours,” Mackay’s latest creation redefines the concert experience.
“The concert is a celebration of the genius of Bach with a special emphasis on the instrumental music which he created for his family, his students, and his colleagues,” says Mackay. “In words and images, the performance also honours the work of the artisans and tradespeople whose labour and expertise made the performances of Bach’s music possible. In examining the origins and anatomy of Bach’s orchestra, we hope to shed light on the inner workings of our own.”
J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation was conceived, programmed, and scripted by Alison Mackay, with music direction by Jeanne Lamon; stage direction by Marshall Pynkoski; production design by Glenn Davidson; projection design by Raha Javanfar; and film editing by Jane MacRae. The all-Bach programme includes the Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 in G Major; movements from the Orchestral Suites 1 and 3, and from the Sonata for two violins and continuo in G Major; the Allemande from the Partita for violin in D Minor; the Adagio from the Sonata for violin in C Major; excerpts from the Goldberg Variations; and instrumental excerpts from five cantatas.
Alison Mackay has played violone and double bass with Tafelmusik since 1979. She has developed a series of creative programmes for Tafelmusik including The Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun, Chariots of Fire, In the Garden of Delights, Metamorphosis, Bach in Leipzig, The Galileo Project and House of Dreams. Her children’s story The Quest for Arundo Donax has been recorded for Analekta and won a JUNO Award for Best Children’s Recording. Under her leadership, Tafelmusik has sponsored two city-wide arts festivals: the 2005 Metamorphosis Festival of music, art, dance, film, and theatre inspired by Ovid's stories, and the 2008 Sacred Spaces, Sacred Circles Festival, a celebration of architecture and arts in the culturally diverse worship spaces of Toronto. She is the recipient of the 2013 Betty Webster Award for her contribution to orchestral life in Canada.
Actor, director, writer, and musician Richard Greenblatt was born in Montreal and studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. He has directed well over 100 productions for theatres across the country, the vast majority being Canadian and/or original plays, including numerous ground-breaking and award-winning plays for young audiences. He has acted in theatre, film, television and radio across Canada and abroad. He wrote and/or co- wrote 2 Pianos 4 Hands, Sibs, The Theory of Relatives, i.d., Letters from Lehrer, and Care. Earlier this year he directed Diane Flacks' Waiting Room at Tarragon, R-E-B-E-C-C-A by Sara Farb at Theatre Passe Muraille, and a new work at Humber College. He is the recipient of several Dora and Chalmers Awards.
Mackay’s previous creative multi-media programmes House of Dreams and The Galileo Project have opened doors around the world, attracting invitations from presenters in Australia, New Zealand, China, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, and Mexico, as well as across the United States and Canada. The resounding success of these programmes abroad has led to repeat invitations to such prestigious venues as Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Mackay’s award-winning programmes have also become an important element in the orchestra’s multi-platform recording label Tafelmusik Media, launched in January 2012. A DVD/CD recording of The Galileo Project was among the first releases on Tafelmusik Media, and was nominated for a 2013 JUNO Award. Filmed in Toronto, London, and Venice, House of Dreams was released in 2013, adding to Tafelmusik’s discography of more than 80 recordings that have helped the orchestra build and maintain its excellent reputation around the world.
A large part of Tafelmusik’s recording legacy consists of dozens of CDs on the SONY Classical label. In recognition of this critically acclaimed body of work, on May 5, Sony Classical will reissue all of its Tafelmusik recordings in a new box set of 47 CDs. Originally released between 1989 and 1998, all of Tafelmusik’s SONY recordings of baroque and classical repertoire including works by Bach, Biber, Handel, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart, among others, are being released together for the first time in a single set.