The Arts

Toronto Symphony Orchestra – J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor

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Choral Review – Apr. 9, 10

Toronto Symphony Orchestra – J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor

Reviewed by Paula Citron

Helmuth Rilling is perhaps the greatest conductor of Bach today. At 77, the maestro still makes exquisite music, and he led the TSO’s Mass in B Minor without a score. As my guest quipped: “Rilling is thrilling!”

Mass in B Minor is a monumental, complex work, and Rilling captured every nuance of the piece’s emotional arc. There were never any gaps. He led each section right into the next so the contrasts were vivid. – the bright trumpets of the “Gloria”, following the sombre tone of the “Kyrie”.

Rilling was ably abetted by Sibylla Rubens, soprano, Ingeborg Danz, contralto, Lawrence Wiliford, tenor and Andrew Foster-Williams, bass-baritone with the University of Toronto MacMillan Singers and Bach Festival Singers.

Germany’s Danz and Britain’s Foster-Williams were particular impressive – she for her honey burnished tone and he for his commanding lush sound. The mass contains many solo instrument parts and the TSO players did themselves proud.

Mass in B Minor continues at Roy Thomson Hall on Saturday.

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Mass in B Minor
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Composed by J.S. Bach
Conducted by Helmuth Rilling
Starring Sibylla Rubens, soprano, Ingeborg Danz, contralto, Lawrence Wiliford, tenor and Andrew Foster-Williams, bass-baritone with the University of Toronto MacMillan Singers and the Bach Festival Singers
Roy Thomson Hall, Apr. 8 and 10, 2010

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