Our 29th season ranged from the Middle Ages to the 19th century (as late as Brahms with a brief foray into 20th-century Canada in December), with the customary emphasis on the Baroque, in view of audience interest and the presence of a fine harpsichord. We included music by the ever-popular composer J. S. Bach, but also introduced lesser-known composers such as Boismortier and Benda. In this season of “The Brilliance of Borealis” we became absorbed with the alliterative allure of composers and themes beginning with “b”: “From Bach to Boccherini”, “From Beethoven to Brahms”, “Musica Bohemica”, “Musica Britannica”, “Brass and organ” (for December), etc. Music was heard from Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Italy, France, England, and Canada, giving more national variety than ever before.
For variety of instrumental timbre, we included clarinet and bassoon in solo roles. The subtle timbre of Baroque flute, introduced in March 2007, was heard again in March 2008. The 2007-2008 concert line-up was deliberately varied in terms of style, resources, and chronological period. Our season opener presented Baroque and early Classic music for flute, cello and harpsichord written by our “Five B’s”: J.S. Bach, Boismortier, two different members of the Bohemian Benda family, and Boccherini. October’s “Musica Bohemica: Music of Bohemia” represented Baroque, Classic and early Romantic styles, featuring solo flute, clarinet, and bassoon, along with strings, in a varied and interesting programme. We were honoured to have the Czech ambassador to Canada as our special guest. He addressed the audience and brought a CD of Czech music for everyone! November’s “Music of Paris” concert included intimate music for flute, oboe, violins and continuo by Baroque French composers Couperin, Philidor and Blavet, as well as a “Paris Quartet” by Telemann. We combined the sonorities of organ, brass ( a treat) and choir for our concert of festive Mediaeval, Renaissance and Baroque music for Advent and Christmas, from Gregorian chant onwards. The Lakehead University Chamber Choir, directed by Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans (a specialist in early music) and a brass quartet of TBSO key players alternated with organist Ganiatsos, who played some works from her recent concert in Venice. The audience joined in the singing of Praetorius chorales.
The triumphant return of the distinguished Penderecki String Quartet drew a large, appreciative, enthusiastic, crowd and received a rave review, as expected. The exquisite programme included Schubert’s “Quartettsatz”, Beethoven’s “Harp” Quartet Op.74, and Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet. TBSO’s principal clarinettist Peter Shackleton was dazzling. The ecstatic ovation led to an encore, the final virtuosic movement of the Weber clarinet quintet, played with great panache.
We again thank the Ontario Arts Council, including the OAC Touring and Collaborations division, for making this exhilarating concert possible. We concluded our 29th season with “Musica Britannica: England’s Joy”: very unusual historic programming, with 17th & 18th-century songs, sonatas, and country-dance tunes from the theatre, concert rooms & Vauxhall pleasure gardens, by Purcell, Handel, Boyce, Arne, and lesser-known composers. The enthusiastic audience enjoyed the programme’s moments of light-spiritedness and humour, and loved the dulcet tones of the baroque flute, exquisitely played by Van Wyck. We performed in Baroque pitch (a challenge), with Baroque bows, and included 5 local, non-symphony musicians, who welcomed the opportunity to perform with Consortium. Another successful season has ended, but everyone is keenly anticipating our upcoming anniversary year!