Nov 6, 2012

French Baroque Christmas Dec 5 to 9

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Under the direction of Ivars Taurins, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir welcome the Christmas season with French Baroque Christmas, a series of concerts from December 5 to 9 featuring music by Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

Tafelmusik’s first choral concert of the year will feature two works by the 17th- century French master: Charpentier’s Christmas oratorio In nativitatem Domini canticum, and Messe à 8 voix et instruments, a mass for double choir and orchestra. Both works are both associated with the Jesuit Church of Saint-Louis in Paris, renowned for the splendour of its liturgy, the magnificence of the interior, and the elaborate music by the leading musicians of the day.

Messe à 8 voix et instruments is one of Charpentier’s earliest mass settings, and is scored for two four-part choirs and orchestras. It was inspired by his studies in Rome, where this polychoral texture was common. For Charpentier, it is the perfect vehicle for his love of sumptuous harmony. The orchestras and choirs alternate not only with each other, but also with small ensembles of solo singers and instruments.

In nativitatem Domini canticum is a more intimate work depicting the Nativity story, with text adapted from the Gospel of Saint Luke. The first part establishes a sense of anticipation about the mystery of Christmas, ending with a magical depiction of night.  The second part opens with a powerful evocation of the Annunciation and ends with the chorus Exultemus, jubilemus.

The French Baroque Christmas concerts will be followed later in December by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah.   

French Baroque Christmas

Dates + Times  
Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
Wed Dec 5 at 7pm,
Thu Dec 6, Fri Dec 7 & Sat Dec 8 at 8pm
Sun Dec 9 at 3:30pm

Ticket Prices 
Regular: $39 – $89
65+: $35 - $79
35 & Under: $20 - $79

Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West (one block west of Spadina)

Box Office:  416.964.6337 |   

Website: /

Full programme
Marc-Antoine Charpentier: 
In nativitatem Domini canticum
Messe à 8 voix et instruments 


Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, led by Music Director Jeanne Lamon and founded in 1979, is one of the world’s leading period performance ensembles. The orchestra performs over 50 concerts a year at home in Toronto, tours extensively around the world, has released over 80 CDs and has received nine JUNO Awards and a Grammy Award nomination. Tafelmusik Media, the choir and orchestra’s multi-platform recording label, was launched in January 2012. Tafelmusik is the Baroque Orchestra-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto where it hosts its annual Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute.  The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. The 2012/13 touring season brings Tafelmusik’s two most recent multi-media concerts, The Galileo Project and House of Dreams, to audiences across North America.