Written by Sinj Karan with inputs from Aidan C. McMurray
The Paroisse St-Leon de Westmount was host to Daniel Taylor’s Trinity Choir, as they brought their performance to the Festival Bach de Montreal. Taylor comes to Montreal, having travelled around the world. The Trinity Choir emerged out of the Theatre of Early Music (an initiative of bringing together musicians launched by Taylor in 2002), with 18 vocalists who have pursued a repertoire of choral music. The evening was perfectly set up in the grand Paroisse, dimly lit beneath its arches, the choir started with Arvo Pärt’s O Weisheit. Other highlights included John Tavener’s The Lamb and Nicolas Gombert’s Tulerunt Dominum meum.
Taylor was quite engaged with the audience throughout the performance, as he spoke about his experiences with the pieces and how they came to be part of the troupe. There was quite a bit of back and forth between more contemporary pieces and then moving to some less known early music. The mostly notable absence was that not one of Bach’s choral works were included, but some late Baroque works found their way. Inclusion of at least one of Bach’s Cantatas would have surely been a welcome addition, although the chosen repertoire was flawlessly executed. Tragically, I didn’t forget that I was denied Bach’s brilliance.
The second part began with Elizabeth Poston Jesus Christ the Apple Tree and two variants of Ave Maria by William Byrd and Robert Parsons. Taylor mentioned that for first time the choir had produced a CD of their music, which was both on display and available for purchase.
Choral music has this very uncanny ability to be spiritual and transport you to a different realm of reality. Sitting under the high rising edifice of a place of worship, built on faith, I couldn’t think of anything more inspiring as I scanned the walls and the icons, while music kept lurking through my earlobes. Religion and its expression has always fascinated me. As I have explored religious music, I have discovered that for a long part of human history music developed, thrived and was supported as part of religious practice and the innate beauty in its expression helps it survive hundreds of years on, while religion itself is in the midst of a crises of faith.
Taylor is back in Montreal early 2017 with collaborations and performances scheduled around the city.
The Festival Bach de Montreal continues till December 4th, 2016. For info, click HERE.