Daniel Taylor and The Theatre of Early Music
Photos, Reviews and Awards
Daniel Taylor and TEM
Nov 2015: Daniel Taylor conducting the TEM choir
with Schola Cantorum at Trinity Chapel
Nov 2015: The TEM choir with Schola Cantorum at Trinity Chapel
2013: Daniel Taylor conducting the TEM choir and Orchestra
with Schola Cantorum at Trinity Chapel,
University of Toronto
2013: Dame Emma Kirby, Daniel Taylor and the TEM choir
Quebec International Festival of Sacred Music.
2010: Daniel Taylor conducting the TEM choir
November 2011 New York
Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall
Daniel Taylor with Theatre of Early Music players
2007: Daniel Taylor conducting the TEM Choir and Orchestra
2006: Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater
TEM with dance company Coleman & Lemieux
From Kudelka’s ‘It is as it was’
Recent Press Cuttings: Top
2018 Music and Beyond Opening Gala review.
Daniel Taylor’s Theatre of Early Music performed a patrician, semi-staged version of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
Ottawa mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta was the star attraction as Dido. Taylor wisely underlined her singular energy and vocal distinctiveness:
dressing her in creamy white while keeping everyone else in black; isolating her onstage, minimizing her physical interactions with
the other singers. Instead, two contemporary dancers, the riveting Bill Coleman and Carol Prieur, served as the physical avatars for passion,
sensuality and betrayal. It was really the only approach that allowed this strange marriage to work.
Geoffrey Sirett was an enormously impressive Aeneas. Sirett adopts a less is more philosophy. His velvety, tea-stained baritone is grounded
in luxurious legato and judicious use of falsetto for expressive effect.
The rest of the ensemble was marvellous, including Larissa Koniuk’s sweetly affecting Belinda,
Benjamin Butterfield’s hilariously inappropriate drunken sailor, and Taylor’s own creepy, campy Sorcerer.
Choral movements were finely etched, with especially beautiful echo effects. The small instrumental ensemble,
led by violinist Adrian Butterfield, provided a softly shimmering backdrop for the singers.
July 5th 2018
For Complete Review :
Daniel Taylor: chant choral... sur le chemin du paradis
Daniel Taylor: choral singing ... on the way to paradise
Published February 25th 2018
ALAIN BRUNET La Presse
If so many music lovers in Quebec and Canada appreciate the range of the countertenor, it is largely thanks to Daniel Taylor.
Suave and incarnate, his high-pitched voice has bewitched us for more than two decades, and also through over one hundred albums.
In addition to being a rigorous and respected choral conductor, inspired artistic director and true aesthetic leader,
the Canadian singer is at the helm of the Trinity Choir and the choir and orchestra of the Theater of Early Music (TEM).
The approaches of these formations consist in amalgamating the most beautiful choral works of the XVth century to today,
works often forgotten and put back in light ... this time in Montreal, where he lived for two decades and where he keeps a
pied-à-terre - he now teaches at the University of Toronto, where he lives mainly to honor this task.
The program of his Sunday performance is based largely on the much appreciated material of an album launched last December
by the Trinity Choir on the Sony Classical label, the sublime "The Path to Paradise" welding the present and the
The chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours will be inhabited by composers Arvo Pärt (1935-), John Tavener (1944-2013),
John Sheppard (1515-1558) and Willam Byrd (1540-1623), among others. For Daniel Taylor and his colleagues,
this superimposition of epochs works perfectly well, although it begins with a musical quest in the fifteenth, sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries.
"This relationship with the music of the distant past, says Daniel Taylor at the end of the telephone line, comes from the
influence exerted on me by the late Christopher Jackson [founder and artistic director of the Studio de musique ancienne de
Montréal]. I knew him in my first year of university, we became friends, then traveled a lot together. In addition to being
a great musician and a great artistic director, Christopher was a man of exceptional depth, with whom we could discuss
everything: news, history, philosophy, etc. "
This relationship of Daniel Taylor with the late Christopher Jackson has also encouraged him to integrate humanity into
his artistic practice.
"What I’m looking for in the choral repertoire and in the music highlighted by the ensembles I’m associated with is
the human factor. Very old or very recent, the song can illustrate the persecution and the suffering, but also hope and
revelation. " says Daniel Taylor. This is why, moreover, he regularly includes in his concerts the music of
contemporary composers such as John Tavener and Arvo Pärt, whose rhythmic concepts are inextricably linked to the heartbeat.
Tavener and Pärt prove to be true mystics in the 21st century, and their work may well merge with a body of ancient music
whose inspiration was often (if not exclusively) religious.
But there is even more: "So many great thinkers and art designers are interested in rituals, " says Daniel Taylor.
"As far as I’m concerned, it’s really not easy to talk about this ritual dimension in a 60-minute album or in a concert,
but it’s still possible, I think. "
The great qualities of Daniel Taylor’s concerts or recordings lie in the rigor of his quest for works that are both sublime
"I dig into bookstores or libraries, the list of my discoveries grows over the years, " he says. Let’s take In
Monte Oliveti, from Orlando di Lassus [1532-1594]. I had never heard this beautiful piece before discovering it in the library.
I also visited the Mount of Olives in Israel. Arriving on the spot, however, it is not so grandiose ... In the case of this
mystical representation, the journey is more important than the arrival. "
Very often on tour, the singer and artistic director likes to lead ensembles whose members can vary around a stable core of
"I like that the interpreters, recruited mainly in Canada, remain fresh and alert while being part of the same sound
aesthetic. If we perform abroad, however, we can accommodate a number of singers from countries where we perform. ""
The sound bill is essential for Daniel Taylor. "For The Path to Paradise concept, for example, I recruited tenors who
sing particularly high, which gives the choir an overall sound consistent with what the 16th century composers in our
repertoire had in mind. This is why, moreover, we find in this choir more male voices than usual. The sopranos also play a
leading role in the choir and add to the seduction. I dare to believe that we are able to suggest a real experience and
March 1, 2018 : A touching reflection on last Sunday’s The Path to Paradise:
Quand je m’évade dans la mesure (When I escape into the measures.) :
personal notes and musical review by Josée Gagnon:
High sensitivity. Clarity of the vocal gesture. We hear the space that opens.
Joyful acuity flows through the senses. We perceive everything, sounds and silences. The mind
calms down. The posture changes. In this quality of listening, each voice is revealed
in it’s infinite accuracy. Each delivering it’s own color, essential to balance the whole. The ear captures the muffled sounds that soon give way to the storm of a
flamboyant crescendo. The sound volume penetrates us without ever crushing. It
envelopes us, it keeps us alert. As an arrival at the summit, at the end of a
long ascent, when the heart breathes and soothes, absorbed by the expanse of emptiness,
dazzled by the beauty of space, as far as the eye can see, with a full ear.
The choir director inspires this creative synergy. He invites it through his gestures. he
feeds on it and provokes it all at once. He leads the voices and our listening in a movement of perfection. It reveals the fair expression of the work at this time,
in this room, with this audience. In this atmospheric pressure and this humidity
from the end of February, it offers the perfect texture for this exceptional acoustic space. In
the pure magic of this meeting, each member of the audience becomes an accomplice of
the works that are being created that night. In the wave of sound and listening, emotions
dance, all personal, intimate but connected just as much.
Sitting straight on my wooden pew in the heart of the church, I loose myself in the movements of the conductor, Daniel Taylor. I observe this back and those hands that chant the
movement. I follow them for a long time. It's calm, precise, whole. I
escape into the measures. I enter the score. I navigate in the wave of
voices that release their arsenal of grandeur and beauty.
And the last piece ends. The encores are finished. The voices touch the silence. The
musicians are turning. Greetings. Applause. The audience is rising. Ritual. Transition.
It moves, it speaks. Each one of them put on the mantle of his life and returns step by step to
the city. Sunday night in Montreal. The city with a hundred steeples. The city of
a thousand festivals. :
I am coming back home. I write these lines. As a need to convey how art is alive.
How art transforms and animates women, men and children who experience, create, feel and welcome it.
And because art exists, maybe humanity has still a chance?
These notes were written after Daniel’s THE PATH TO PARADISE presentation.
Taylor and the Theater of Early Music, presented at Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel,
in Old Montreal, February 25, 2018, as part of the Montreal Highlights Festival.
Juno Nomination for "Tree of Life",
The Trinity Choir, directed by Daniel Taylor!
February 2018 : Congratulations on your Juno nomination
to Daniel Taylor and Trinity Choir singers,
Here is the list of Juno nominations for 2018 :
including some of the young stars (left-to-right):
Bronwyn Thies-Thompson, Rebecca Genge, Ellen McAteer,
Emma Hannan and Ryan Patrick McDonald
from the University of Toronto.
Classical Album of the Year:
Vocal or Choral Performance :
1. The Tree of Life, Daniel Taylor with The Trinity Choir
2. Crazy Girl Crazy, Barbara Hannigan with Ludwig Orchestra
3. Aeterna: Mother of Light: Isabel Bayrakdarian with Coro Vox
4. Schubert Sessions: Lieder with Guitar, Philippe Sly & John Charles Britton
5. In the Stream of Life: Songs by Sibelius, Gerald Finley with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
2018 Winner : Crazy Girl Crazy, Barbara Hannigan with Ludwig Orchestra
Fall Baroque Academy : Giulio Cesare (Highlights) Review
On an unseasonably hot September night, in an exquisite Gothic Revival chapel, an irrepressible 18th century composer sent the collective
enthusiasm of early music students soaring last Sunday, singers and instrumentalists spirited partners in a courageous concert of
daring proportions. Highlighting excerpts from George Frideric Handel’s dazzling 1724 operatic masterpiece, Giulio Cesare,
the University of Toronto Faculty of Music’s Fall Baroque Academy provided ample occasions for emerging artists to shine......
Trinity College Chapel rang with passion.
Supported by an unfailingly buoyant 12-player student ensemble, augmented by a handful of imported professionals,
sensitively conducted from the ranks by guest Music Director Jeanne Lamon, the 14 members of founder Daniel
Taylor’s remarkable Schola Cantorum took command of 11 distinct arias. Primarily featured as soloists,
occasionally in duets, singers provided context, each précising moments of salient libretto, Giulio Cesare play by play.
Asked about his perception of his role as Head of Historical Performance in a brief one-on-one post concert conversation,
a smiling Maestro Taylor said simply, "not to educate the feeling and creativity away."
Judging from the boundless energy and tireless commitment of his students, he and his Academy colleagues
must surely be overjoyed by the scope of their success. The capacity audience in attendance at Trinity College most certainly was.
Posted on September, 2017 by Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto
Complete review: http://operagoto.com/fall-baroque-academy-giulio-cesare-highlights-review/
Sometime in the early 1600s.......German composer and organist Hieronymus Praetorius wrote his Magnificat V,
one in a series of Magnificat settings for multiple voices all arranged in towering polyphony. Almost 400 years later,
contemporary Estonian symphonist Arvo Pärt blended the intricate Renaissance form with elements of Gregorian chant and
Russian Orthodox harmony to create a uniquely reshaped Magnificat, stark, solemn, strikingly reverent.
What surprises is not so much the breadth of the historical gulf separating the two works, but the depth of resonance that
unites them, a shared sense of acute spirituality expressed in vivid human overtones.
Presenting both pieces, the first foreshadowing the second, internationally acclaimed period virtuosi,
the Tallis Scholars, led by Peter Phillips launched a dazzling evening of sacred music at St. Paul’s Basilica on Saturday.
A vibrant choral sampler, the lush offerings essentially reflected parallel modes of expression over the centuries revealed in
four distinct Christian texts.
Alternating with Phillips as conductor, University of Toronto Head of Historical Performance, renowned countertenor
Daniel Taylor, joined by artists of the Choir of the Theatre of Early Music augmented and expanded the repertoire in
a glorious demonstration of exquisitely detailed programming.
More finely filigreed singing was much in evidence post intermission with four variants of Ave Maria, the first performed in a
single appearance by members of U of T Faculty of Music’s Schola Cantorum led by Taylor. Theatrically assembled in two ranks
flanking St. Paul’s great domed Victorian nave, the visibly excited cohort of student choristers gave rich balanced voice to
a heartfelt rendition of the hallowed plea written by an anonymous author.
The Nunc Dimittis, an exultant proclamation of the birth of the Infant Jesus, concluded the evening in historically varied guise.
A quasi madrigal written in glowing counterpoint by Orlando Gibbons. A short work by Spanish polyphonist Andrés de Torrentes.
A spectacular swelling iteration for double choir by the brilliant 20th century orchestral colourist, Gustav Holst.
The Tallis Scholars ended as magnificently as they had begun, utterly triumphant, gifting us with Claudio Monteverdi’s
irrepressibly joyful motet, Cantate Domino by way of an encore.
This was a concert of extraordinary dimensions, a spine tingling leap across time, astutely curated,
superbly sung, stirring and intense. In this, the holiest season in the Christian calendar, Phillips,
Taylor and artists remind us that music like faith can be powerfully transformative.
Posted by Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto, March 2017
Complete review: http://operagoto.com/category/review/
Tallis Scholars & friends: Magnificat
Tonight felt like a kind of affirmation of permanence in the face of change and disorder in the world.
The Tallis Scholars, conducted by Peter Phillips, joined forces with two University of Toronto ensembles,
Schola Cantorum and Theatre of Early Music, conducted by Daniel Taylor. While the repertoire ranged from the renaissance to our own century,
we were listening to unaccompanied choral music, using religious texts: Magnificat, Pater noster, Ave Maria and Nunc Dimittis,
all in multiple settings.
St Paul’s Basilica at Queen & Power was packed with eager listeners, attracted no doubt by Tallis Scholars’ wonderful discography,
but also perhaps aware of the new kids in town, Taylor’s two ensembles that shared the program and are now also recording for SONY.
The acoustic plus the visuals are a dream come true for musicians presenting this kind of program.
For a few of the pieces we saw the combined forces, as in Praetorius’ Magnificat V to begin or Holst’s Ninc Dimittis to close the program.
......the singing is very direct and without excess vibrato (as you’d find in styles from later periods). The notes,
especially the ones sung way up high are totally exposed, and requiring nothing less than perfection of intonation.
I shall investigate further: through the magic of recordings.
Posted March 26, 2017 by Barczablog
Complete review: https://barczablog.com/2017/03/
Three Reviews of SOLD OUT Toronto summer Music Presentation of
The Coronation of King George II
This was the most fun I’ve had at a concert since the epic minimalist concert ...in August 2013.
Then as now I believe we were seeing Toronto Summer Music Artistic Director Douglas McNabney
pushing the envelope of what’s possible in a concert.....But this time I believe we were engaging in genuine research, Daniel Taylor’s Theatre of Early Music
(TEM) challenging us to see and hear in a new way. .....
.......I loved this concert that ventured into different
territory beyond performance. We were re-enacting a public ritual from long ago, and I say "we" because the
audience weren’t merely passive viewers. Whether it was McNabney or conductor Daniel Taylor who conceived & curated this event,
they changed the usual ground-rules for a concert.
The evening was organized into a service: re-enacting a coronation, with a few modern pieces added.
Bill Coleman silently portrayed King George II, while Alan Gallichan played the Archbishop.
During Zadok the Priest, in the long gradual build-up of tension, we saw the Bishop put a crown upon
the King’s head, and then the two advanced towards us (the congregation?), leading to the shattering climax
as the chorus came in. The orchestra was a nice size to work with that fabulous chorus,
comprised of a string quartet, two oboes, two trumpets, drums and organ.
This wasn’t any old chorus, as Taylor looked out upon a small ensemble of some of the best
singers in the city, namely the Theatre of Early Music (TEM). The magnificent chorus included Ellen McAteer
(fresh from Friday night’s Rape of Lucretia) Asitha Tennekoon (heard in Tapestry Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner),
Alex Dobson, and Toronto Masque Theatre’s Larry Beckwith.......
I was struck by the sentiments stirred up at this concert. We heard wonderful music including "Worthy Is the Lamb",
but also participated in singing Parry’s "Jerusalem", admittedly an anachronism that served to personalize the event.
I wonder, would the crowd in the 18th Century have cried out "God Save the King" along with the chorus in "Zadok the Priest"?
Listening to this performance, I have to wonder. .... But notice that it’s
not wrong to be sentimental, not in this case. This isn’t a piece of art, it’s a practical composition for an event, intended
to stir up our feelings. When they sing "Alleluia" ....it’s a genuine prayer, not just a bit of singing....
...It’s a coronation anthem meant for an event like what we saw re-enacted tonight....Wow!
Posted on July 27, 2016 by Barczablog
Complete review: https://barczablog.com/2016/07/27/the-coronation-of-king-george-ii/
The Coronation Of King George II
On October 11, 1727, George II, was crowned King of England. His journey to the throne had been a rough ride. His father, George I, Elector of Hanover, imported by an opportunistic Parliament to quell the threat of a dreaded Catholic succession, had prided himself on his singular disinterest in the political and cultural affairs of his adopted nation. His son, clever and artistic, bristled at the unpopular monarch’s entrenched philistinism to the point of estrangement. When, at long last, the disagreeable old king died, George II leapt at the chance to publicly commit to the customs and values of his newly inherited realm.
George Frideric Handel, another German-born expatriate, inveterate impresario, London showman par excellence, was hired to produce and direct the coronation. It would be a royal smash hit, an 18th century blockbuster, a spectacular, supremely theatrical show of Englishness.
Sounding a regal note to the Toronto Summer Music Festival’s celebration of British music, the Choir and Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music conducted by the ensemble’s artistic director, Daniel Taylor, thrilled earlier this week with their sweeping, unbounded concert wryly entitled, The Coronation of King George II.
Parted by the turbulent passage of almost three centuries from the reality of the quintessential Georgian monarch’s legendary inauguration, no musicologist, however determined, can likely ever reconstruct the actual fabric of the ceremony given the jumbled fragments of existing unset texts. The Chapel Royal as Handel knew it, final arbiter and preserver of English court music, has been repeatedly gutted by domestic hostilities and war, its archives savaged.
Less authentic period statement than a summoning of the idea of coronation, Taylor, singers and musicians wisely sketched the past with broad strokes during the course of their recreation, emphasizing not so much a particular moment in time and place as a continuum, an artful witnessing of an entire history of orchestral and choral pageantry, Renaissance to Baroque to present-day. Rousing, gripping, frequently uplifting, the experience both charmed and enthralled, blending Gibbons and Palestrina, Purcell and Handel with pieces composed, in the case of Hubert Parry and John Tavener, 200 – 300 years after the momentous gala in Westminster Abbey. Handel may not have programmed each and every one of Taylor’s selections but he would surely have approved.
On a summer soft evening at U of T, the Faculty of Music’s Walter Hall sparkled, ringing with trumpets, soaring with organ, bright and luminous with song.
Eighteen voices strong, choristers processed in stately file through the auditorium, opening from the rear of house, lining opposing side aisles at the concert’s midway point. Surround sound effects abounded, unexpectedly visceral and dramatic. Interspersed with well-known vocalists plucked from the ranks of the Toronto opera community, Ellen McAteer, Asitha Tennekoon, Alex Dobson, Cairan Ryan, the purpose assembled choir touched the heart with its exquisite blend of warmth and passion.
Setting the tone for the evening’s instrumental proceedings, Parry’s I was Glad still ringing through the hall, period oboes, organ and strings... quickly merged into a delightfully no-nonsense Overture and March from Handel’s Ode to St. Cecilia’s Day. Moving through the attentive audience to join the Theatre of Early Music’s refreshingly uninhibited players on stage, chorus and orchestra assembled for the great, swelling coronation anthem, The King Shall Rejoice, Taylor leading with great charisma and exuberance.
A very tangible, physical sense of occasion held sway throughout the exquisitely intense 1-hour performance that followed heightened, in no small measure, by the robed presence of Rev. Alan Gallichan of Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, assuming the role of Archbishop of Canterbury. Startling, exuding an air of pronounced drama, costumed actor Bill Coleman, commanded attention as the King in faux white lead make-up and full wig.
As solemn as it was joyful, the scope of imagination and invention underlying this impossibly fanciful, utterly engaging Coronation of King George II was nothing less than extraordinary, a dream of monarchy set to magical music. Gibbons’ Drop, Drop Slow Tears, ethereal and a cappella, mesmerized. The stark beauty of Purcell’s Hear My Prayer, O Lord haunted. Parry’s mighty hymn, Jerusalem, a towering classic shaped into a potent communal encounter by Taylor, inspired and moved, a great plainspoken cry of hope and joy sung by audience and choristers alike.
Then suddenly it was over, Handel’s iconic Zadok the Priest potent and resonant as it should be, Worthy the Lamb from Messiah concluding the all-too-brief program. "God save the King!", cried the Archbishop. "God save the King!", we echoed.
A stirring concert, a visionary offering. A glorious crowning touch to a fine 2016 Festival.
- Ian Ritchie, Opera going Toronto, July 2016
Crowning George II
For the occasion Mr. Taylor had assembled a small band of strings, trumpets, oboes and drums and both a chamber organ and the
newly repaired organ of Walter Hall were brought into play. There was a choir of twenty including some pretty classy singers.
Good use was made of the space to create different effects. Parry’s I Was Glad was sung with the choir in the back corners of the hall
with the organ at stage right. Later on Tavener’s Hymn to the Mother of God was sung by the choir split down the sides of auditorium.
This was highly effective and it made the most of a very beautiful piece; for me the musical highlight of the night.
There were fanfares from suitably wonky period trumpets and drum rolls and lots of liturgical call and response of the "We are miserable sinners O Lord " , "Yes we are really miserable "
Then there was Handel; Zadok the Priest and The King Shall Rejoice (natch) and Purcell (Remember Not, Lord and Hear My Prayer,
O Lord and Gibbons (Drop, Drop Slow Tears) and Palestrina (Jesu, Rex Admirabilis) all sung very beautifully a capella.
The "congregation " (us) got to belt out Jerusalem before the choir kicked in with Zadok for the actual coronation
followed by lots of "Long live the king! "s and a final blast of Worthy is the Lamb and the Amen from Messiah.
Somehow it struck the right balance between gravity and levity and a good time was had by all.
John's Opera Ramblings, July 2016
Analekta: The Vale of Tears / La Vallée des Pleurs
Latest release for The Theatre of Early Music with Schola Cantorum
September 15 2015
To listen to The Vale of Tears or
to order a CD on line
or download MP3 from Analekta
please click here: Order Now
The Vale of Tears/ La Vallée des Pleurs
1. Praetorius: "Hört auf mit Weinen und Klagen"
Schütz: Musikalische Exequien, Op. 7
2. Concerto in the form of a German Requiem Mass
3. Motet: "Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe"
4. Canticle of B. Simeonis: "Herr, nun lässest Du Deinen Diener"
5. Praetorius: "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin"
J.S. Bach: O heilige Geist- und Wasserbad, Cantata BWV 165
6. Aria (soprano): "O heilige Geist- und Wasserbad"
7. Recit. (bass): "Die sündige Geburt verdammter Adamserben"
8. Aria (alto): "Jesu, der aus großer Liebe"
9. Recit. (bass): "Ich habe ja, mein Seelenbräutigam"
10. Aria (tenor): "Jesu, meines Todes Tod"
11. Chorale: "Sein Wort, sein Tauf, sein Nachtmahl"
Schola Cantorum and The Theatre of Early Music:
Daniel Taylor, Director
La Scena Musicale, Montreal, November 2015
"It’s clear that Daniel Taylor adores the human voice. He has meticulously chosen the singers he works
with and shepherds these talents with sensitivity and a deep understanding of the music.
This vale of tears turns into a river that flows forth, nearly a century later, into Bach’s Cantata BWV 165.
This baptismal cantata ends in a chorale of limpidity and purity.
This must be the finest performance of this stand-alone work by the great composer. Soul-uplifting and essential."
Theatre of Early Music, Schola Cantorum, Dan Taylor, The Vale of Tears
Article posted on CBC web site by Robert Rowat - Sept 2015
On the heels of their Juno-nominated 2014 album The Heart's Refuge, the Theatre of Early Music, Schola Cantorum and
director Daniel Taylor are back with another exciting release on the Analekta label, The Vale of Tears.
The Theatre of Early Music is Taylor’s collective of early music specialists committed to reconstructing music for historical events,
and that’s exactly what we have in The Vale of Tears. Here, the event in question is a funeral for Heinrich Posthumous Reuß,
a member of the noble class in Dresden where another Heinrich, Schütz, was Kapellmeister.
Schütz composed his Musikalische Exequien in 1635 to honour Reuß, and it is has endured as his most famous work.
It’s complemented on The Vale of Tears by J.S. Bach’s cantata O heilige Geist- und Wasserbad, which draws on some of the same texts and
chorale sources as Schütz’s work and two hymns by Michael Praetorius that were performed at Reuß’s burial service.
It’s a substantial choral program for Schola Cantorum, a vocal ensemble comprised of students from the Univeristy of Toronto’s faculty of music, where Taylor is head of historical performance.
But in the few years since he established the group, it has blossomed into a virtuosic choir capable of tackling the most challenging baroque repertoire.
We reached Taylor by email to find about more about his most recent project.
Music from the early baroque period doesn’t get as much attention as music from the high baroque. Why is that?
It could be said that, aside from Monteverdi, many of the composers from the early baroque period have been neglected. Perhaps until recently, ensembles have not taken risks in their programming, so often it’s Fireworks or the Brandenburgs, in part because of the reduced funding provided by the federal government to the arts.
The Theatre of Early Music made its first effort to remedy that with our Juno-nominated album dedicated to early German composers including Kuhnau and J.C. Bach. Kuhnau was a composer I first brought to the Quebec and Canadian public thanks to Christopher Jackson’s invitation to direct the Choir of the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal.
In many ways, Christopher proved to be a mentor and inspiration to me and my work that would follow. It’s encouraging to see groups such as Arion now programming Kuhnau, it is a compliment to my musicians and to their dedication as well as to Christopher’s unerring commitment to early music.
This album gives us a faithful representation of the kind of music we’d hear at a solemn occasion in 17th-century Germany. Does this sort of historic immersion drive your projects with the Theatre of Early Music?
Absolutely. My interest in liturgical reconstructions is driven by my belief that the art itself is already perfect in form; this, to be clear, this is not about having a
"brand name" or leaving my own fingerprints all over the scores, but in allowing the original beauty of the work to be shown.
It must be like the feeling of revelation that they had when they restored the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, this is very much a sacred process guided by the musicians.
You’ve been directing U of T’s Schola Cantorum for three years now. What are the challenges you face making music at a professional level with a student ensemble?
There is a moment that I usually wait for in each rehearsal, that moment during which I see the students singing with joy (priority number 1!) suddenly realize that I am going to make very specific professional artistic demands of them, they are, after all (as one of the reviewers noted recently) an ensemble of the elite singers in this country, and with opportunity comes tremendous discipline and very, very hard work.
Their first concert was with the greatest choir in the world, the Tallis Scholars, and since then they have appeared with members of the Monteverdi Choir, the Gabrieli Consort and the Kammerchor Stuttgart. Combined with the rich array of courses offered through the University of Toronto’s choral program developed by Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, our program is unrivaled in Canada.
Tell us what the recording sessions were like.
Recording sessions were intense and yet the singers and I found them to be greatly rewarding. For some of these young people,
this was their first professional recording yet instead of hearing doubt or hesitation, you can hear their excitement.
To be sure, the Musikalische Exequien is a complex piece and there were certainly times when I asked myself why I had set such a monumental
task before all of us. However, they answered this challenge by lifting the music to a higher level.
Juno Nomination for The Heart's Refuge!
Jan 26th 2015: Daniel Taylor writes:
" What an accomplishment for our students at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music in Historical Performance and
Voice in partnership with the Choir and Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music! "
Here is the list of Juno nominations for 2015 :
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: VOCAL OR CHORAL PERFORMANCE:
Schubert: Winterreise Gerald Finley & Julius Drake (Hyperion) (WINNER IN CATEGORY 2015)
Handel & Porpora: The London Years Julie Boulianne, Clavecin en concert & Luc Beauséjour (Analekta)
Mozart: Opera & Concert Arias Karina Gauvin, Les Violons du Roy & Bernard Labadie (Audiogram)
Terra Tremuit Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal (ATMA)
The Heart's Refuge Theatre of Early Music, Schola Cantorum & Daniel Taylor (Analekta)
To see all Juno Awards for 2015 click here: Juno Awards
September 9 2014
#1 on the Classical Soundscan
Canada WholeNote Magazine
To listen to The Heart’s Refuge or
to order a CD on line
or download MP3 from Analekta
please click here: Order Now
The Heart’s Refuge / Le Refuge du cœur
1. Buxtehude, Dietrich (1637 - 1707)
Jesu, meines Lebens, BuxWV 62 (Aria)
2. Bach, Johann Cristoph (1642 - 1703)
Es ist nun aus mit menem Leben (Aria)
3. Schmelzer, Johann Heinrich (1680)
Harmonia a 5
4. Kuhnau, Johann (1660 - 1722)
Gott, sei mir gnädig nach diener
5. Bruhns, Nicolaus (1665 - 1697)
Ich Liege und schlafe mit Frieden
Schola Cantorum and The Theatre of Early Music:
Daniel Taylor, Director
Dripping with beauty and style, they establish their seriousness from the off - Buxtehude's passacaglia meditating on
Christ's sacrifice and continue it through Johann Christoph Bach's aching strophic death aria.
The choir shows its youth in a light and pleasing sound. This snapshot of 17th-century German sacred music is a heartwarming and worthy one.
Gramophone February 2015
The most recent recording of the Theatre of Early Music (TEM) and the Schola Cantorum entitled The refuge of heart,
published by Analekta, offers images of peace and serenity like many pearls on a unlikely necklace.
Of course, great baroque music is made up of a large and varied repertoire and perhaps we should not be surprised
to hear such beautiful interpretations. But what sets this album apart from many others is the care taken by the
conductor and artistic director of the Theatre of Early Music Daniel Taylor and his research and selection of composers and works.
This may be first time on one recording that the well-known figures of Dietrich Buxtehude and Johann Christoph Bach
(cousin of the father of Johann Sebastian Bach) are paired with rare compositions by lesser-known composers Johann Kuhnau,
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and Nicolaus Bruhns.
The purity and depth of what is offered to the listener is made even better by the impressive cast of soloists:
the mezzo-soprano Rebecca Claborn, countertenor Kyle Guilfoyle, tenor Isaiah Bell and bass Alexander Dobson deliver
inspired performances and the impression of a contagious spirituality.
In perfect harmony with the chorus and soloists, musicians of the TEM show guided restraint required
for this type of repertoire in which the voice and text must occupy the largest share of the listeners focus -
the particular sound of old instruments is offered here in all its flavour. The thoughtful, unhurried work
immediately transports us elsewhere and for quite sometime. Such music, such purity!
Thank you Mr. Taylor!
Whether one is a believer or not, it’s always with an attitude of deep meditation that we surrender to
listening to the music of the German masters of the Baroque era. With a new album from the Analekta catalog,
entitled Refuge of the Heart, featuring the Theatre of Early Music (TEM) and Schola Cantorum under the direction of
Daniel Taylor, we dive a little deeper inside the heart and soul of contemporaries of one of the most turbulent times in
history, that of the 30 Years War (seventeenth century). True to its mission to rediscover old music,
TEM and its founder and artistic director, Daniel Taylor, revealing here five gorgeous cantatas by German
composers of the Baroque era, all together in one album. Dietrich Buxtehude (1637 - 1707), Johann Christoph Bach (1642 - 1703),
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (1623 - 1680), Johann Kuhnau (1660 - 1722) and Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697).
These German cantatas were constantly renewed by the great Italian masters of the Baroque.
The ensemble’s distinctive style, coupled with the expertise and enthusiasm of Taylor, leads to
exciting and authentic readings of these works in a musical testimony of agony, torment,
but also offering consolation for this century’s torn repression and internal conflict.
This repertoire covers a breadth in time of 4 centuries. Between 1618 and 1648,
a series of devastating wars decimated half the population of Europe. If believers found refuge in their faith and their
hope for a better world, the composers of the time found an endless source of inspiration. During the seventeenth century,
Lutheran musicians created a magnificent repertoire of sacred music. The texts emphasize Christ’s message in an original and
varied way. Death and deliverance ... the suffering of Jesus ... the distress of the soul are shown by ingenious methods of
musical imagery: motifs are repeated to emphasise their message in the mind of the believer;
very simple melodies have been refined to create a deep sense of peace and harmony ; a rapid succession of contrasts;
voices change from soprano to bass successively to evoke the descent into the tomb..
All this reflects the emotional landscape for those that were brought face to face with the horrors of war and destruction.
A non-profit organization, the TEM's mission is to allow early music to shine in all its glory.
The excellent musicians share their passion alongside prestigious guests, through their series of
concerts in Canada and through touring nationally and internationally (France, Argentina, Brazil,
England and Asia in particular). Under the baton of Taylor, the Schola Cantorum of the
University of Toronto - the elite of students of all levels - are guided by a desire to make known early music in
its original version, joining the TEM to offer us a brilliant and authentic presentation. Restoring the
works of great masters so that they regain lustre in our eyes, Daniel Taylor and musicians from TEM are
meticulous in their work, this is an offering that reveals every dimension of humanity.
Listen to this album, it is like rediscovering an old world in a new light.
Translation from french of Marie-Josée Boucher : original : info-culture.biz
2014 - 2010 : Top
Heavy and happy is the music that crowns a king
PETER ROBB, Ottawa Citizen
November 26, 2014
Since the coronation of William the Conqueror at Westminster Abbey in 1066, every British monarch has been crowned in a service full of glorious music.
Ottawa-native counter tenor Daniel Taylor tells Peter Robb a little bit about the service and a performance of the music he is
delivering on Dec. 3.
Q. What an interesting project. Where/when did the idea germinate?
A. The coronation of the Queen took place 60 years ago on June 2, 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey. The Diamond Jubilee marked the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. On the BBC, a shining example of what the CBC could be with proper management and effective government support, 30 million British citizens tuned in to watch a Coronation Festival. Last year, at the residence of the governor general, I was awarded the Queen’s Medal in recognition for my work in the arts. A few days later, I listened to the Gabrieli Consort’s Venetian Coronation and days later to the King Consort’s stunning rendition of Parry’s I Was Glad- it reminded me how much music can move us. In our current political climate, in a time when there still exists inequality in our society, when child poverty continues to go unnoticed by our ruling government, as our population ages I feel more and more the need to bring music to people.
Q. Please tell me about how you researched the music and the ceremony?
A. I traveled to Westminster Abbey, to St. George’s Chapel in Windsor and to the Chapel Royal. I spoke at length with the well-known British Period-Orchestra conductors Paul McCreesh and Robert King. We know that there are no indisputable documents that detail a specific order of service for the Coronations. We can be sure that the Clerk of the Cheque’s account of the service is fairly accurate in indicating that there was an introductory anthem as well as a setting of a work by Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Tallis confirming the tradition of returning to compositions of the past composers with works found in the music library of the Chapel Royal. Thus this concert/ceremony honors the ‘old’ music and music from the greatest of the English composers in a reconstruction of the pageant.
One of King George I’s last acts before his death on June 11, 1727 was to sign an act of naturalization of George Frederick Handel. Handel’s first subsequent commission was to write music for the coronation of King George II which took place on Oct. 11, 1727. To celebrate the ascension to the throne, a magnificent service full of pomp and ceremony was planned. The commissioning of new music was usually entrusted to the Composer and Organist of the Royal Chapel, however with the unexpected death of William Croft, the King appointed "Mr. Handel, the famous composer to the opera."
We will be playing Handel’s coronation anthems Zadok the Priest and The King Shall Rejoice. Their festive character brought the works great popularity, the performances being hugely successful and have been played ever since, Handel re-used excerpts notably in Deborah and Ester. Zadok the Priest has been sung at every subsequent coronation and was traditionally performed, as it will be in our concert, during the anointment of the King. (At Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 music by Gibbons, Purcell, Tallis and Handel, including Zadok the Priest, was played.)
Q. Any interesting stories to tell about the coronation music that you uncovered?
A. It is to some extent that we owe some thanks to Sir Frederick Bridge for his decision to shed a light on the best of the British composers.
Bridge, the English composer and organist, became known to historians for organizing great state occasions including Queen Victoria’s
jubilee in 1887, the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 and the Coronation of George V in 1902. On receiving his commission as Director
Music, Bridge courageously decided to make a coronation a celebration of 400 years of English music including works by Orlando Gibbons,
Henry Purcell and Thomas Tallis alongside compositions of the day. New works commissioned included Hubert Parry’s setting of Psalm 122, I Was Glad, which has been used at every subsequent coronation, it was made famous in modern times when it was performed at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Q. Tell me about your upcoming performance.
A. The concert is played on period instruments and combines choristers from the Theatre of Early Music, the University of Toronto Schola Cantorum and the York University Chamber Choir. Just as Choirs were combined for the major events, so do we bring together 60 young choristers and musicians. We open with the tolling of the bells, a trumpet fanfare and cries of Vivat either side of the procession of the drums — it’s fantastic stuff.
A regal affair with Daniel Taylor, Lisette Canton and the Theatre of Early Music
Performed at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa
Reviewed Wednesday night, Dec 3rd 2014 by Natasha Gauthier, the Ottawa Citizen
"Royal pomp was on offer Wednesday evening at Christ Church Cathedral - complete with trumpets, drums, a jowly bishop and a boy king - as Daniel Taylor and Lisette Canton co-conducted the Theatre of Early Music and assorted guests in a program of music fit for a coronation.
The TEM choir was augmented by members of University of Toronto’s Schola Cantorum, which Taylor directs, and the York University Chamber Choir, led by Ottawa’s Lisette Canton.
Presented as a mock crowning ceremony, the concert opened with a sonata for two violins by French Baroque composer Jean-Marie Leclair. It was jauntily played by Cynthia Roberts and Adrian Butterfield...
After a drum procession and a trumpet fanfare the performance began in earnest with Hubert Parry’s soul-shaking anthem I Was Glad, directed by Taylor. He conducts from a deeply spiritual place and coaxed a fresh, mentholated sound out of the largely student choirs, with crisp if not entirely Westminster diction. Organist Matthew Larkin provided grand, spacious accompaniment.
Canton took over to direct Handel’s Coronation Anthem, The King Shall Rejoice. Canton’s style is quite different from Taylor’s: more extroverted and rhythmically driven; clearer to follow perhaps, but also less obsessive about details in the text.
Gibbon’s stunningly simple, open-hearted anthem Drop, Drop Slow Tears and Elizabeth Poston’s lovely carol Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, both conducted by Taylor, were the emotional and musical highlights of the concert, crystalline in their transparency and softly glowing with humility. The singers showed admirable focus despite loudly popping speakers and hacking audience members.
The coronation on Queen Street concluded with two kingly Handel works. Taylor took Zadok the Priest - the most famous of the four Coronation Anthems -
at a more sedate tempo than many early music specialists. It had nobility........they rallied to crown the concert with a golden chord at the very end.
TEM well received at the 61st Tilford Bach Festival in Surrey, England
61st Tilford Bach Festival
By Ian Sargeant
Sunday, 26th May, 2013
All Saints’ Church
Tilford, Surrey, England
The London Handel Orchestra
Conductor Adrian Butterfield
Choir of the Theatre of Early Music
J.S. Bach Cantatas for Trinity Sunday:
"The final concert of each festival has traditionally been choral works by JS Bach and this year was no exception.
This year’s programme started quietly with the cantata BWV165 O heilges Geist - und Wasserbad (O holy font of Spirit and Water), a cantata for Trinity Sunday, being performed on that day. The London Handel Orchestra, under the direction of TBS Musical Director Adrian Butterfield, together with the choir and soloists from the Choir of the Theatre of Early Music (visiting from Toronto), delivered a warmly appreciated rendition of this piece.
The second piece was also a cantata for Trinity Sunday, written in 1726, one year later than the previous work and using a larger orchestra and larger chorus. The audience had its first taste of percussion and brass with the arrival of three natural trumpets.
Bach’s selective use of trumpets greatly enhances their impact when they are deployed and, at this concert, the effect was very stimulating during the remainder of the concert.
The second cantata, BWV 165 Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott (Praise be the Lord, my God) was a more powerful piece and introduced the audience to more of the soloists from Toronto whose interpretation and delivery was excellent throughout.
The interval allowed the audience to enjoy their drinks outside in sunny weather with a growing feeling of expectancy for a second half that promised much.
Bach’s Magnificat BWV 243 is demanding and extremely well known to TBS regulars. As the full visiting choir entered the small church, the audience tensed in anticipation of hearing one of their favourite works performed by a relatively unknown assembly of musicians led by their new(ish) Musical Director, Adrian Butterfield.
There was no disappointment. The singers and orchestra delivered an excellent performance that shook the foundations of the small village church. There was good attack in the choruses and excellent solo singing.
The final chorus Gloria Patri was everything the audience were then hoping for with, once again, superb trumpets that didn’t falter with all performers stretched to their limits. Adrian Butterfield has now delivered two excellent festivals for local music lovers."
Handel’s Anthems beautifully handled by skilled musicians
By Richard Todd, The Ottawa Citizen, December 10, 2012
Handel’s Coronation Anthems
Theatre of Early Music and Schola Cantorum
Daniel Taylor, conductor
Knox Presbyterian Church - Saturday December 8th
"Handel’s four Coronation Anthems are not in any sense Christmas music, but they sound so celebratory that with different words
they might pass readily as music of the season. They were the backbone of a concert given Saturday evening at Knox Presbyterian
Church by Daniel Taylor’s Theatre of Early Music and a choir made up mainly of members of Toronto’s Schola Cantorum.
The all-Handel program began with the Overture to the Water Music played conductorless by the TEM’s superb baroque orchestra.
The quality of the playing and idiomatic styling were to be the rule for the entire program. Although it’s unfair to everyone
else, in a way, the beautiful oboe playing of Matthew Jennejohn and Geoffrey Burgess needs to be singled out.
The first of the Anthems was perhaps the most familiar, "Zadok the Priest." After several measures of orchestral introduction,
the chorus came in with a most impressive double-forte, especially remarkable for an ensemble of 25 voices.
The singing that followed was uniformly excellent, boasting all of the core technical values including balance, blend, precision and intonation.
Next came "How beautiful are the feet of them who preach the Gospel of peace" from Messiah, nicely sung by soprano Agnes Zsigovics.
Zsigovics is familiar to most followers of vocal music in these parts, and her rendition on Saturday did not disappoint.
Then there was the anthem "The King Shall Rejoice" sung by the chorus. Once again the performance was entirely apt and beautiful.
The second half of the program began with tenor Michiel Schrey singing an aria from Handel’s oratorio Israel in Egypt,
"The Enemy Said." Like Zsigovics, Schrey has sung here frequently and hasn’t even begun to wear out his welcome.
In fact, if you want a hint as to why the chorus was so good, you have only to look at its roster, which includes not
only the likes of Schrey and Zsigovics, but also bass-baritone Alexander Dobson, whose rendition of The "Trumpet Shall
Sound" was one of the evening’s highlights. His singing wasn’t all that made it special though, the fellow who sounded
the baroque trumpet, Alexis Basque, was superb as well.
The final anthem, "My Heart is Inditing," was the most elaborate of the four. In the first place it has
four movements, making it the longest of them. Also, it is the only one to employ chorus and soloists.
It integrates them well and made for an especially pleasing conclusion to the concert."
Ottawa Music & Beyond Festival Reviews
Opening Night Gala Concert
"....It began with Daniel Taylor and his Theatre of Early Music, chorus and orchestra, who presented Handel’s anthem,
Zadok the Priest. It was a splendid performance; one can scarcely imagine a stronger way to open a festival."
Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen July 5th, 2012
The Royal Treatment - Ottawa audience graced by performance of Handel’s Water Music
"Ten musicians from the Theatre of Early Music, strings, woodwinds and horns, played a suite of pieces from Water Music while
cruising from Dow’s Lake along the canal to behind the National Arts Centre and back again, as an inspired new part of the Music
and Beyond Festival. The round trip, at about two hours, was longer than the program, so the musicians played it over and over again.
The sun, meanwhile, never changed its tune, beating down in steady time on the musicians, who were all dressed in black and stacked
like rum barrels in the one shaded part of the vessel.
No tickets were sold for the voyage, so the audience was ashore, on both sides of the canal. A large group of spectators on foot,
inline skates and bicycles - a musical pelaton - moved along in pace with the ship. There were people in kayaks and on stand-up
paddle boards and there were big cruisers..... The skull-and-crossbones flapped overhead as the musicians soldiered on,
playing Handel’s wonderfully compact and prim music. The woodwinds and horns raised one another into a brilliant, reedy
thing that does indeed sound like it was written to be played on water. It is also, for me at least, somehow essentially
British, even if Handel was not."
By Peter Simpson, The Ottawa Citizen July 8, 2012
Baroque Opera Soirée
"The Baroque Opera Soirée featured an all-Handel program performed by an all-star group of singers and instrumentalists.
It also featured actress Megan Follows reading passages from the Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad......they were interesting in themselves.
Follows’ delivery was a little dry, but that suited the material well.
The musical offerings were drawn from a handful of Handel’s oratorios (in English) and operas (in Italian.)
The singers included sopranos Nancy Argenta, Karina Gauvin and Agnes Zsigovics, countertenor Daniel Taylor,
tenor Charles Daniels and baritone James Westman. A set of excerpts from the oratorio Solomon telling the story of
the two women claiming to be the mother of one baby was nicely rendered by Argenta, Gauvin and Taylor.
The next set was drawn from four different oratorios. All were well done, with Zsigovics’ rendition of The Pilgrim’s Home from
Theodora being particularly moving. Westman’s rich baritone voice was ideal for Where’ere You Walk from Semele.....
Then along came Daniels singing Waft her Angels from Jeptha. It is a glorious aria, and it received a glorious performance.
The second half of the program was even better than the first, beginning with a finely blended duet with Argenta and
Taylor and an aria from Rinaldo sung by Argenta alone. Other highlights included Westman’s rendition of Ombra mai fu and
especially Daniels’ Love Sounds the Alarm from Acis and Galatea.
As always, the Theatre or Early Music orchestra played beautifully throughout the evening."
Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen July 9th, 2012
Dido and Aeneas: Sublime, passionate performances bring opera to life
"Dido and Aeneas is heralded by many as the very first opera and despite the lack of costumes or sets, it leapt to life before our eyes.
This matchless ensemble was a joy from beginning to end. It was incredible to find that while each soloist was unique, possessing a timbre, expression
and tone all their own, they combined as a chorus into a superbly blended unit. Taylor moved seamlessly from conductor to countertenor soloist
(in the role of the evil Sorceress.) He subtly led a seven-piece baroque orchestra (including lute) that was impressively authentic to the period.
Aeneas was fittingly tall, dark and handsome; British-Canadian baritone Alexander Dobson truly living the part. Moving with dramatic
conviction, he wooed Dido with his impressive range -- a delightfully rich low register and surprisingly sweet ease up top as well.
His flawless enunciation made the lyrics jump off the stage.
Taylor transformed himself from conductor to Sorceress by unleashing his mop of wavy hair and adopting a wild-eyed facial expression.
With deliberation and intense audacity, he put forth his distinctive voice in the soprano range, but with timbre and texture that are
purely Taylor. His divinely voiced cohorts, witches Meara Conway, soprano, and Meg Bragle, mezzo, were deliciously conniving,
chuckling over their conspiracy.
Agnes Zsigovics as the Second Woman brought the same ringing tone she employed in her earlier solo, Pilgrim’s Home from Handel’s
Theodora. Her clean, assertive style sets her apart.
The epitome of control, the chorus ended this mesmerizing performance with a gossamer sadness that left the audience silent,
until they erupted into a much-deserved standing ovation."
from Concert Review by By Gwenda Nemerofsky
From the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 9, 2012
An outstanding evening of early opera music
"Daniel Taylor, who directed the enterprise, also assumed the role of the eminently nasty sorceress and was most convincing with the
sinister colour that his voice assumed - rather chilling, in fact. The glee with which witches Meara Conway and Meg Bragle greeted each
of the sorceress’s evil plans was delightful.
The lesser roles were well served, mostly by members of the chorus, about which more needs to be said. Before the opera there was a set of
three a cappella items by Tallis and Purcell. The performances were exemplary with fine blending and balance, solid intonation and admirable ensemble.
The choral contributions to the Dido and Aeneas were of similar mettle, although they were accompanied.
The orchestra of seven baroque instrumentalists did extremely well. The musicians’ sense of style and the vitality of
their playing were entirely irresistible."
The Ottawa Citizen February 16, 2012
Didon et Énée: un petit miracle
"Preuve que l’on peut faire des miracles sans dépenser des millions quand on a du talent,
ils ont donné un spectacle vivant et passionnant sans le moindre décor, costume ni accessoire.
En première partie, on présentait des airs de Handel, Purcell et Tallis. Le chœur, chantant
trois pièces a cappella avec énormément de nuances et de précision, est saisissant. .
La distribution est excellente. Les musiciens qui les accompagnent, satisfaisants. Sans posséder une
immense voix, Alexander Dobson fait un énée séducteur et crédible, et on ne se lasserait jamais d’écouter
Grace Davidson, cristalline et juste en Belinda. .
Au second acte, voilà que Daniel Taylor détache sa queue de cheval, ébouriffe sa tignasse, quitte sa place
de chef et saute sur scène où il se métamorphose en une magicienne hilare, gesticulant de temps à autre vers
le chœur en un curieux dédoublement de personnalité chef-chanteur. Il a l’air de jubiler. L’exploit donne
une impression quelque peu mégalomaniaque, mais ça fonctionne! Car nonobstant ses diversions capillaires,
il chante avec panache, sa conception de l’oeuvre est cohérente et il dirige d’une main de maître. ."
Caroline Rodgers, La Presse, février 2012
Didon et Énée : un enchantement!
Rarement a-t-on entendu un petit ensemble d’une telle qualité. L’orchestre de 11 musiciens, jouant à l’ancienne,
regroupe des jeunes musiciens de grand talent. La seule tête grise dans le groupe est l’organiste montréalais et
spécialiste de musique ancienne Christopher Jackson au clavecin. Ils accompagnent à la perfection un groupe de
jeunes chanteurs aux voix exceptionnelles, excellents interprètes de la musique médiévale et bons comédiens.
On sent que tous ces artistes, plusieurs réunis pour la première fois, sont unis par un grand amour de la musique
et qu’ils ont du plaisir à jouer et chanter ensemble.
Même sans décors et sans costumes, The Theatre of Early Music donne beaucoup plus qu’une simple version concert.
Nous assistons à une représentation d’opéra avec jeu d’acteurs. Les personnages qui, à l’exception de Didon et
de la sorcière, s’intègrent au chœur entre leurs apparitions, entrent et sortent de scène et jouent leur rôle
Le baryton canadien d’origine britannique Alexander Dobson, qui fait carrière à l’opéra, était très à
l’aise et convainquant dans le rôle d’Énée. Il a une voix superbe, une diction parfaite et une belle prestance en scène.
La charmante soprano anglaise Grace Davidson interprétait Belinda, confidente de Didon. Elle a chanté et joué d’une manière superbe
et tout à fait crédible. Elle a une très belle voix et une diction parfaite. La soprano torontoise Agnes Zsigovics, une habituée du
Theatre Early Music et qui a souvent chanté des duos avec Daniel Taylor, jouait le rôle d’une dame de cour. Ses duos avec Belinda
ont été parfaitement exécutés, vivants et émouvants.
Daniel Taylor, qui dirigeait discrètement devant l’orchestre, a été époustouflant dans le rôle de la sorcière. Il a donné toute
une démonstration de ses talents de chanteur et d’acteur. ....... La soprano canadienne Meara Conway et la
contre-alto américaine Meg Bragle, dans les rôles secondaires de sorcières, chantent et jouent avec la même énergie que
Taylor, exprimant avec humour le caractère maléfique des personnages et leur malin plaisir d’avoir réussi leur complot.
Taylor a réussi à faire chanter en chœur tous ces artistes qui, pour la plupart, poursuivent des carrières internationales
de solistes. Les chœurs étaient superbes, aucune voix ne perçant l’ensemble.
En première partie, Taylor a programmé de courtes oeuvres qui ont permis d’apprécier le talent des solistes, comme un
plateau de hors d’oeuvre raffinés précédant un grand plat, notamment le superbe duo Oh Lovely Peace de Purcell, avec
Daniel Taylor et Grace Davidson, Total Eclipse de Handel par Benjamin Butterfield et des pièces de Thomas Tallis et
Purcell admirablement bien chantées par le chœur.
Ce fut un grand moment musical dont on se souviendra longtemps. "
Pierre Meunier, La Liberte - Manitoba
The Theatre of Early Music’s Glorious Gloria
"As part of the Montreal Bach Festival, a large audience gathered on Sunday afternoon to hear the Theatre of Early Music performing at
the majestic Église Saint-Léon de Westmount. The concert opened with the ethereal voice of Daniel Taylor floating over
the crowd from the back balcony of the church. He proceeded to lead the TEM choir in a series of moving choral works, beginning
with a traditional Basque air, The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came, and ending with John Tavener’s The Lamb, a contemporary work
that combines homophonic simplicity with exquisite moments of dissonance.
Concluding the concert, the orchestra and choir joined together to present a passionate rendition of Vivaldi’s Gloria. Under Taylor’s
guidance, the choir expressed the jubilant highs and simmering lows of this stunning religious work, enhanced by the sensitive and
spirited playing of the orchestra. Sopranos Agnes Zsigovics and Hélène Brunet enchanted the audience with their beautifully blended
duet in Laudamus te. Zsigovics also shone in Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, naturally shaping each phrase with her clear, round voice,
accompanied by the elegant, lush playing of oboist Matthew Jennejohn.
This concert was the perfect antidote to a grey Sunday in November, breathing joyous life into sacred works of music to warm us
as winter sets in."
Hannah Rahimi Reviews the Montréal Bach Festival, November 2011
Enthusiastic review for Agnes Zsigovics and Daniel Taylor and TEM in Edmonton, November 2011:
"Joined by Agnes Zsigovics, soprano and Jordan de Souza, piano, Daniel wowed the audience with not only his vocal talent
but also his natural comedic wit as he told stories and described some of the music.
The first half of the concert included some early music standards and folk song favourites such as I will Give My Love an Apple and
Down by the Sally Gardens. It is wonderful and rare to hear these well known simple tunes receive such care and sensitivity by a seasoned artist.
Daniel Taylor shared the music with Agnes Zsigovics who supplemented the program with solos and duets with Daniel.
Agnes is a promising soprano with a haunting early music style and I hope to hear much more from her in the future.
In particular, the ornamentation in Agnes’ Lascia ch’io pianga from Handel’s Rinaldo was beautifully understated and authentic.
The second half of the performance was devoted to the music of Handel and Jordan de Souza was allowed to shine on
the piano with the rousing Harmonious Blacksmith Variations. The highlights of the second half were the infrequently performed The Pilgrim’s Home
from the oratorio Theodora which was lovingly sung by Agnes Zsigovics, Daniel Taylor’s always stellar singing of Cara Sposa (Rinaldo) which I would
argue is his best role, and finally, the encore.
Daniel Taylor brought the house down (and his hair!) with the passionate and unhinged singing of one of Tolomeo’s arias from
Giulio Cesare satisfyingly unleashing the full power of both his countertenor and baritone voice in the final aria of the concert."
Classical Music in Edmonton Review - Nov 2011
Duet sings to perfection, provides special treat at Music and Beyond Festival
"..... highlighting Emma Kirkby, probably the finest baroque soprano before the public today.
Kirkby and Taylor joined forces for the famous duet "O Lovely Peace", after which Taylor sang the aria "Father of Heaven".
.......he did not disappoint.
The soprano’s voice ...was perfect for the piece. Even the greatest voice will sing in vain if it is not owned by a good musician, but Kirkby is among the best.
.... most authentically played by musicians from Daniel Taylor’s Theatre of Early music.
Their playing was, as usual, so elegant ...... a lovely performance of Bach’s Concerto in D minor for violin and oboe with violinist Adrian Butterfield and oboist John Abberger
The aria "For Thee" from Handel’s last Oratorio, Theodora, was offered as an encore. Kirkby and Taylor sang it to perfection,
providing the most beautiful moments of the evening."
Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen July 11, 2011
Daniel Taylor speaks of Emma Kirkby in Ottawa Citizen, July 2011:
"Her humble approach is a gentle reminder of what is so often missing from performances: there is an honesty in her every note,"
- Reviews of 2011 Sony recital disc "Come Again, Sweet Love",
No one does musical melancholy better than Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor
"As François Filiatrault eloquently points out in the accompanying booklet, music was an integral part of Shakespeare’s plays, as references,
as actual songs to be performed and as background music played by an offstage consort. In this new album, Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor brings
together his favourite collaborators in his Theatre of Early Music for a rich, 21-track sampler of all things musically Shakespearean.
Of course, we get the title song, performed this time by tenor Charles Daniels instead of Taylor. Also present is veteran soprano Emma Kirkby
in this beautiful-sounding recording made in London's Henry Wood Hall last June. Taylor sings solo for eight of the songs, including the gorgeous opener,
"By Beauteous Softness," set by Henry Purcell and accompanied by Elizabeth Kenny on lute.
Taylor’s voice, still lush, has darkened over the past few years, adding an even deeper lustre to the melancholy he clearly cherishes.
Although the selection of songs covers all moods and occasions, the preponderance is for introspection, if not outright lament.
And no one does this as well as Taylor these days. Kenny is a pleasure in a solo Galliard by John Dowland.
Fabulous soprano Carolyn Sampson brings a powerful, lithe delicacy to "If Music be the Food of Love," in another Purcell setting.
Baritone Neal Davies does well in the ensemble songs as well as in his one solo: John Dowland's "If My Complaints Could Passions Move."
There could hardly be finer accompaniment to a rainy summer afternoon."
John Terauds May 31st 2011 Toronto Star
"As founder and artistic director of the Montreal-based Theatre of Early Music (TEM)
and a singer of international renown with over 60 recordings to his credit, Canadian countertenor
Daniel Taylor is now at a point in his career where, on the Sony label, he headlines a recording that
counts among its vocal performers Dame Emma Kirkby, Michael Chance and Charles Daniels as well as
Carol Sampson and Neal Davies. Drawing on repertoire inspired by, referred to or performed in the
plays of Shakespeare, this is a delightful and varied collection of solos, duets and madrigals
complemented by adept instrumentalists from two different ensembles: TEM’s Elizabeth Kenny and
Jacob Heringman on lute and Fretwork’s Richard Boothby and Richard Campbell on viola da gamba.
A most wonderful confluence occurs in the various combinations of voices as in Orlando Gibbons’
The Silver Swan and particularly when countertenors Taylor and Chance duet in Robert Jones’ Sweet Kate
and Thomas Morley’s Sweet nymph, come to thy lover. Purcell’s By Beauteous softness and If music be the
food of love as well as Johnson’s Full Fathom Five are interpreted with tender affect by Taylor,
Sampson and Davies respectively. Charles Daniels is given the title track and Emma Kirby adds a
light-hearted flavour to Now what is love? This collection, recorded in London, is highly recommended
as a feast of love for a mid-summer’s night."
Dianne Wells, The Wholenote
"Accompanied by the voices and period instruments of the Theatre of Early Music, celebrated
countertenor Daniel Taylor here presents a collection of songs drawn from, or influenced by,
Shakespeare, composed by the likes of Gibbons, Purcell and Dowland. Vocal leads and arrangements
are shared: the results include a four-part madrigal setting of Gibbons’ "The Silver Swan";
solo pieces accompanied by theorbo, such as Taylor’s poised expression of a woman who "with
such sweetness and such justice reigns" in Purcell’s "By Beauteous Softness"; and tenor
Charles Daniels’s extended swoon of ardour through Dowland’s "Come Again, Sweet Love Doth Now Invite"."
The Independent UK, June 2011
"If you Google the words Shakespeare and songs/music you will find dozens upon dozens of releases but this new 21-track CD by Montreal’s
Daniel Taylor will most likely rank up there as one of the best of contemporary times.
Taylor is a star of classical music who established the Quebec-based Theatre Of Early Music a decade ago that often records baroque, Elizabethan music.
Taylor is known for his superb countertenor and on Come Again Sweet Love he covers mostly ballads written by Henry Purcell (1659-1695),
Edward Johnson (1572-1601), Tobias Hume (1569-1645) and others of the era who sometimes used Shakespeare’s text for their compositions.
There is a lovely song by Dame Emma Kirkby on Now What Is Love? with text by Sir Walter Scott . A few other singers help out as well,
but Taylor consistently steals the show on this lengthy classical disc.
There are extensive liner notes making this a musicologists dream release and the few heavenly instruments with lute, viola, theorbo and
bass makes this a delightful listen that harkens way back to the antiquities of popular song of the day.
The Guardian, Britain’s mainstay newspaper, heralded Daniel Taylor with "he is part angel, part man....Taylor sings beautifully"..."
TEM concert "Star of Wonder" at Knox Presbyterian Church
BWV 140 "Wachet Auf, Ruft Uns Die Stimme " (Sleepers Awake)
“The opening chorus set the tone for a more than successful performance of the remaining six movements.
It was not only vigorous and well-proportioned and was notable for, among other things, the insistence upon certain key words and phrases.
Soprano Agnes Zsigovics and bass Alexander Dobson did an especially
beautiful job in the duet "Wann Kommst Du?" And their rendition of "Mein
Freund Ist Mein" was similarly well-focused and musical. The concluding chorale,
"Gloria Sei Dir Gesungen" was a solid and pleasing ending.”
BWV 147 "Herz un Mund und Tat und Leben"
“(The first piece Daniel Taylor sang was) the aria "Schame dich", which he delivered with
his beautiful voice in the straightforward manner that we’ve been accustomed to. The other was a recitative. It’s hard to make a big impression with a
recitative, but Taylor certainly did more than justice to this one.
Soprano Zsigovics's gorgeous rendition of the aria "Bereite dir, Jesu "
was one of the evening’s highlights ..... the bass aria "Ich will
von Jesu" was especially persuasive.Then, after the regular program, Taylor sang an encore that I didn't recognize. It was indescribably beautiful.
Essential to the overall success of both cantatas were the
well-disciplined chorus and orchestra of period instruments.”
Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen, Dec 22nd 2010
Music Review: Musica Angelica on the Road to South America
“It was wonderful to hear soprano Suzie LeBlanc and counter-tenor Daniel Taylor together in addition to their astonishing solo abilities.....
LeBlanc and Taylor duly impressed with "Scherzano sul tuo volto" from Händel’s Rinaldo, and "Se il cor ti perde" from Tolomeo was a
perfect vehicle for them to shine. The most dramatic singing of the night was "Cara sposa, amante cara" from Rinaldo; it had a truly grand quality
to it, as did the duet from "Caro, Bella" from Giulio Cesare.
Gluck’s Ballo, and the beautiful aria "Che faro" from Euridice brought Taylor’s exquisite counter-tenor voice to life, and this realization
was particularly nice.
The encore was perhaps the most beautiful music of the evening: Händel’s duet "I’o t’abbraccio" from Rodelinda. LeBlanc and Taylor created
a gorgeous sound together, a final reminder of how beautiful the Baroque can be in the hands of masters,
and an extraordinary ending to an extraordinary concert.”
September 29, 2010 By Theodore Bell
Critical praise for Daniel and the TEM choir in concerts at the Festival of Music and Beyond.
- "Taylor has assembled a brilliant choir and conducts the singers with sensitivity and beautifully shaped lines."
Ottawa Citizen, August 19
- "If there's a better countertenor in the world than Daniel Taylor, he keeps himself well hidden."
...."the beauty of his sound and especially his phrasing are extraordinary."
Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen, July 12, 2010
- "Daniel Taylor’s early-music choir holds audience spellbound"
"”That was celestial,“ said former federal cabinet minister Monique Begin July 11 at Knox Church, where she was among the music lovers who
were standing and cheering the performance by the superb choir of the Theatre of Early Music at Julian Armour’s Music and Beyond
classical music festival.....the choir performed with spine-tingling beauty of tone and blend, in music by Tallis. William Byrd, Palestrina and others.
The choir capped the concert with a sublime performance of Allegri’s Miserere, which also featured a lyrical dance performance by Coleman,
Lemieux et Compagnie. Taylor has assembled a brilliant chamber choir, and the singers never sounded hard or shrill, even in some killer high notes."
Steve Mazey, Ottawa Citizen Monday, July 12 2010
Festival Montréal en lumière 2010.
“TEM with Dame Emma Kirkby and Daniel Taylor: The Voices that Come from the Sky”
“The countertenor with the ethereal voice joins the celebrated British early music expert Emma Kirkby in programs that
invite the audience to explore purity and peace.... The concert hall is full to capacity. She arrives on the scene with
her flowing blond hair and soft, beautiful smile like a picture from a baroque painting. Her voice is clear, supple and
the words and music seem to be a very part of her being. Daniel Taylor offers his solos with a sense of interior sincerity
and he is in top form.
The musicians accompany with a precision, informed understanding and style.
La Presse, Feb 19 & 21, 2010
Daniel Taylor and Emma Kirkby with the Theatre of Early Music - Feb 21st 2010
“ Ottawa Top 10 concerts to savour in 2010”
“Two stars combine their ethereal haunting voices with the Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music...”
The Ottawa Citizen, January 2 and February 18, 2010
- BIS “Stabat Mater” CD:
Choosing his ten personal favourites among the discs reviewed in Gramophone’s November issue, James Inverne,
the editor of the magazine, selected this BIS CD. In his own, brief comments to his choice, James Inverne wrote:
“There are at least half a dozen recordings of Vivaldi's Stabat mater that I wouldn’t want to be without but
this profoundly beautiful version leaps straight into their ranks. The Theatre of Early Music band is small
(just single strings and simple continuo) but its playing never feels underweight, and rhetorical qualities
in the music are clear yet unforced. ...Taylor's intelligent and stylish singing belongs in a select class
alongside a few of the finest and sweetest voices of its type. ...the well chosen programme is rounded off
by Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden (Bach's creative yet respectful adaptation of Pergolesi's Stabat mater,
using the text of Psalm 51), in which Emma Kirkby's delicate singing elegantly blends with Taylor's.”
UK Gramophone Magazine: Editor's Choice, November 2009
- “A disc as lovely as this should not be overlooked. Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater has hardly lacked for fine recordings
over the years but here we have a performance of real distinction and allure. The Theatre of Early Music is a small band -
two violins, a viola, cello and bass, with lute and organ - but its tempo decisions and internal balancing are both exemplary.
Articulation is crisp - note the cleanly articulated cello line - and the timbral qualities of the string are auspicious.
Rhythms are buoyant, and the expressive qualities of the music are held in fine balance. To turn to specifics, the Quis est homo
is rendered with delicate refinement, a legato melsima of real eloquence. Daniel Taylor evinces no sense of forcing his counter tenor,
and no glorying in its very obvious qualities for the sake of it; some other counter tenors should take note. The tempo for the slow
Fac ut ardeat is judged to perfection, with its sense of motion ensuring that the textual meaning is perfectly conveyed.
Pergolesi’s compact Salve Regina again evinces strongly meditative qualities in this performance.
Here, in the Bach setting of the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Taylor is joined by Emma Kirkby and their rapport is obvious,
the voices well blended, and as before the reflective sense of the chosen tempi conveys a great deal. It’s a very natural,
unforced performance with no extraneous gestures, vocal or instrumental, to distract. The depth and pathos are everywhere apparent.
... played with tactile excellence by the string players. ...this reflective disc brings impressive and sensitive qualities to bear,
and should on no account be overlooked. ”
Jonathan Woolf (musicweb-international.com)
- “Emma Kirkby at her most serene is matched by Taylor as if they were two faces of a single musical entity.
With first-rate surround-sound recording and a warm ambience, this is a disc not to be missed.”
BBC Music Magazine, October 2009 *****
- “..with the gentle and sweet introduction of the sonata, director Daniel Taylor leads us with his singular
and wondrous technique - with his soft, warm and deeply moving voice - through the painful expression of
devotion found in the Vivaldi Stabat Mater and the remarkable Salve Regina. Emma Kirkby joins Daniel in
pure emotional harmony and the listener can only marvel at this degree of interpretation - recommended !”
Classic CD Germany
- “ Were Emma Kirkby and Daniel Taylor singing straight Pergolesi
here, we might find their interpretation cool and lacking in edge, but with Bach’s more abstract text,
the purity of the voices and the effortless delivery seems perfect. Taylor’s performance of Vivaldi's
Stabat Mater is also as intimate as it gets.”
Elissa Poole, Globe and Mail, July 21st 2009
- “Daniel Taylor sings Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater most beautifully and tenderly.
All in all, this is one of those satisfying releases that come along occasionally,
those with a bit of a twist that are unified around one theme.
The preformances are lovely, which should be no surprise, given the names of the performers.”
Crawford - American record Guide Nov/Dec 2009
“The young Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor combines a deliciously creamy voice with a keen dramatic sense,
and his reputation in this small but nevertheless star-oriented field has been growing steadily.
This beautifully recorded release from Sweden’s BIS label seems certain to add to that reputation. ”
On JS Bach’s transcription of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater:
“..the marvelous interplay between Kirkby's now sharp-edged
voice and Taylor's supple instrument. ”
On Pergolesi’s Hymn, Salve Regina: “
..... offers several fine examples of Taylor’s flair for catching hearers’ attention with his text readings - sample his way of entering with a
striking vibrato-free tone in texts of supplication, and then broadening out into a warmer sound as the prayer gains strength.
The opening Stabat Mater, RV 621, of Vivaldi, preceded by a short instrumental sonata, is a marvelous example of the
dark but lush colors associated with this text in the Baroque, and Taylor’s performances, not overwhelmingly powerful
but operatic in their beauty, hang in the mind. Taylor's period-instrument Theatre of Early Music backs him quietly,
with perfect sensitivity. A compelling program, in top-notch renderings.
Allmusic.com 5/5 Review by James Manheim
“ The mellow resonance of the recording venues makes them (The Theatre of Early Music) sound a larger
group, yet the inner parts are crystal clear and well-articulated, giving both clarity and
persuasive intimacy to proceedings.”
On Vivaldi's Stabat Mater: “Daniel Taylor's breath control is exemplary, often effortlessly taking only a single breath
over astonishingly long legato lines. His approach to the piece is gentle, with pure-toned pianissimos
and floating cantilenas exuding a kind of exquisite despondence.
Eloquent support comes from the TEM players, who exploit Vivaldi’s simple yet
inventive string textures, underpinned with a solid, rich bass which grounds the whole reading.”
On Pergolesi’s Hymn, Salve Regina: “....uses many suspended dissonances to express the
Virgin’s pangs in its often tearful progress. Daniel Taylor fully involves himself in its dramatic,
colourful and operatic sections, as do TEM, making the most of the strenuous rhythms of ‘Ad te Clamavi’
and the sweet balm of the penultimate ‘Et Jesu Benedictus’”
On JS Bach’s transcription of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater: “The result here is simply glowing, with the
two vocalists intertwining and sparking off one another. Because of the different words,
Bach's Psalm 51 is rich in a variety of emotions from tearful poignancy to joyful celebration, so Kirkby and Taylor
are able to exploit a bewitching spectrum of tonal colours. Taylor’s direction of the Theatre
of Early Music players gives full measure to Bach’s dancing tempos and together they and the
vocalists lay bare all the Psalm's range of human emotions.
This is an inspired and unusual compilation of Baroque sacred music, truthfully recorded with an intimacy
which allows the singers to communicate directly with the listener.
Selfless and inspiring music-making, despite its often poignant tone.
Review by John Miller and SA-CD.net, August 15, 2009 - Performance:5/5 Sonics 5/5
- Purcell's Dido and Aeneas performed to perfection
“...counter-tenor Taylor, who sang the deliciously evil role of the Sorceress. Taylor even let his hair,
normally worn in a ponytail, down to enhance the effect. When he sang in trio with the two witches, Meara Conway and
Alexandra Hill, the results were most gratifying.
...Aeneas has less stage time, but bass Alexander Dobson made the most of what there was.
His gloriously dark and powerful voice was one of the highlights of the production.
When you consider that he is a member of the Theatre of Early Music Chorus, you begin to understand why said chorus is so good.
The Theatre’s little orchestra played with consummate skill and understanding, making a significant contribution. The opera was preceded
by a short concert of early music featuring vocal and instrumental works ........the highlight of these was
O Nata Lux by Thomas Tallis, ..... the Theatre Choir sang it beautifully.”
Richard Todd, The Ottawa Citizen, May 18, 2009
- Reviews of Daniel Taylor - The Voice of Bach
- “The Bach album of choice...His voice is rich, smooth, and lyrical, and it is deployed to maximum effect in
music that seems to reflect the almost sensuous approach Bach took to the depiction of religious contentment.
a meditative mood that is intensified by his singing. The overall effect is lovely and increasingly hypnotic
as you listen longer. This major-label release is something of a milestone for Canada’s enthusiastic contingent
of Baroque performers, who have accumulated technical skills but not always the nerve to break out of conventional
ways of doing things. Taylor and his cohorts here are fresh and technically facile in equal measure.
Beautifully recorded, and strongly recommended. ”
“Taylor is one of the few countertenors of the world, raising his voice up to the mezzo-soprano range.
The Bach selections on this disc are given an infinite boost with Taylor’s full, resonant and unique voice.”
Democrat and Chronicle
“Daniel Taylor’s direction of the Theatre of Early Music players gives full measure to Bach’s dancing tempos and
together they and the vocalists lay bare all the Psalm’s range of human emotions.”
“A regular Baroque-performance standout is the sensitive artistry and burnished voice of
Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor. Here, he returns with a selection of airs, duets,
choral and instrumental pieces by J.S. Bach, joined by lyric soprano Agnes Zsigovics,
and choir and instrumentalists of Montreal-based Theatre of Early Music.”
“This is a beautifully produced and skilfully executed programme which confirms that Daniel Taylor is a Bach interpreter
of discernment and excellent taste.”
John Quinn, Classics on Line
“The expansiveness and warmth of Taylor’s voice is marvellous to hear.
Accompanied by an almost breathlessly sensitive and expert group of players,
his seemingly effortless range and bottomless palette shine while remaining a part of the integral whole.
It is not just Taylor who comes to the fore though; included are instrumental interludes, such as three delightful
introductory sinfonia from different cantatas, as well as a chorale and the lushly accompanied Motet No. 4, O Jesu Christ, mein’s Lebens Licht.
Arias from the Passions and the Weihnachtsoratorium are included, and soprano Agnes Zsigovics’
sprightly coloration is a welcome addition as she joins for a pair of duets from the cantatas.
These performers certainly know their business, a fact that is abundantly clear on this highly polished release.”
Lorin Wilkerson ( http://northwestreverb.blogspot.com/ )
“Those of us who first heard Daniel Taylor in Jonathan Miller’s staging of Handel’s Rodelinda immediately recognized that we
were hearing a significant countertenor with a great future, but we didn’t realize that this inspirational singer would develop
into a fine conductor. On this disc, he sings and directs a delicious selection of arias, motets and sinfonia from Bach’s Cantatas and
Passions using the sprightly forces of the Choir and Orchestra he founded.”
The Observer, UK - Jan. 2009
“...Taylor is a talent to watch...”
The Evening Standard (Norman Lebrecht)
“He has a pure, sweet and surprisingly sopranoish voice of ethereal beauty, particularly well-suited to Bach with its clean flexibility and spotless tuning.
He shapes the famous “Erbarme dich” so it flows like tears and his “Es is vollbracht” dark and haunting.”
CLASSIC FM (Emma Baker)
“Taylor builds a program around select vocal pieces and Sinfonias to create an all-alto featuring Bach cantata chimera.
You can tell that Taylor is not just a countertenor but also the leader of the
Theatre of Early Music (and its choir), which performs absolutely splendidly.
...., the extraordinary purity of the Canadian’s voice leaves little rational reason to prefer a female interpreter.
With its diversity of vocal, choral, and orchestral pieces, flawless singing, a most pleasant voice, and first-rate instrumental backup,
this disc can be recommended "for what it is".”
“This is the debut disc of Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor for Sony/BMG,
where he has recently signed an exclusive recording contract. Only in his late 30s, Taylor has already amassed a
lifetime of achievements that is the envy of singers decades his senior. One of the most sought after countertenors in the world,
Taylor has performed at a very high level in some of the most prestigious venues and collaborated
with the greatest musicians.....This recording contract with a major label bears testament to his exceptional gift as an artist and communicator.
... he is the most prolific Canadian classical recording artist of our generation.
Now at full artistic maturity, his work here is stunning. His sound is pure, smooth, ethereal,
and evocative, with excellent flexibility and perfectly placed - an ideal voice in Bach.
He is well supported by his own Theatre of Early Music, an exemplary period-instrument group he founded.
With everything so delectable, it’s hard to choose a favorite, but I have a soft spot for “Erbarme Dich“
from the St.Matthew Passion.... I guarantee you that this is a disc you’ll want to savor again and again.”
JKS, La Scena Musicale October 2008
“What sets this recording apart right away is the transparency and intimacy of texture.......Taylor’s voice
doesn’t dominate the texture...... it feels much more integrated into the texture of the ensemble as a whole.
The Voice of Bach” feels like a celebration of Bach's instrumental and choral writing as much as it is a celebration of
Taylor's countertenor voice....the TEM Choir.....a vocal ensemble of the highest order - their sense of
authenticity isn’t just an academic exercise, but a journey into details of text, voice-leading and harmony that
one can actually feel....Taylor also sings two meticulously prepared duets with Agnes Zsigovics...”
Posted by Chris Foley, Ottawa Citizen, Sunday, October 05, 2008
“Daniel Taylor’s moving exploration transcends the more generic approach.... Taylor’s more original and personal journey.
“ Where Daniel Taylor’s “The Voice of Bach” resonates more strongly is in the concept of his programme,
the rhetorical range and the collegial manner in which his Theatre of Early Music binds around him: fruity sinfonias,
motets and arias conspire to form a consistent mood of supplication. If the opening juxtaposition of the Sinfonia
from BWV4 and “Erbarme Dich” seems a touch eccentric, the latter is wonderfully embedded in Bachian contours,
dynamic recessing and careful placement: an inward journey of contemplation ...The duet from BWV78 is a rare prosaic moment
which leads to a profound and delectable reading of the fine funeral motet “Oh Jesu Christ meines Lebens Licht” and
“Es ist vollbracht”, which sits at the solar plexus of the programme and is thoughtfully realised with a poignant and
sensitively textured continuo.”
Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone Magazine Nov 2008
- A baroque star on Beyoncé's label
The Ottawa Citizen article covers "Ottawa-raised countertenor Daniel Taylor speaks of his Theatre of Early Music choir":
“ It’s an almost indescribable feeling, and I find it amazingly satisfying.
I find it remarkable that I can have 20 choristers all wanting to be there to make beautiful music.
I feel like a bit of a magician. I wave my hands and these sounds appear.
It’s an extension of what I’d like to say and what I feel the music is saying, and I feel we’re all
calling out together. There’s a sense of awe and wonder in discovering this music together.”
Steven Mazey, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Thursday, November 20, 2008
- The Choir Of The Theatre Of Early Music - A Journey Into The Heavens
“The Path to Paradise” - Daniel Tayor conducts the Choir of the Theatre of Early Music
Quebec City, October 23rd, 2008
“Listening to the 20 pure angelic voices had already moved many to tears. The mix of light but exact timbres
conserves a texture that is lithe yet at times sumptuous. The text is sustained and respects the music of the language.
Clear intonation and balance were in evidence: unity and cohesion particularly strong. Daniel Taylor directs as he sings,
this is to say with an ease and economy of gestures. The result is a most moving ensemble that could not be more supple,
more pleasing. Every moment spoke to the audience and answered perfectly, providing it seemed what the audience was searching for.
At a concert entitled ‘The Path to Paradise’, apparently, many had found their path.”
Le Soleil October 24th 2008
- The 2008 Ottawa Chamber Festival - “soul-soothing performance....superb music-making.”
“.. it was the superb performance by Ottawa countertenor Daniel Taylor and the choir of his Theatre of Early Music
........that will rank as another of my festival highlights this year.
After a busy and tiring two weeks, I couldn’t have asked for a more soul-soothing performance.....
Taylor has assembled a group of superb singers, who blend and shape their sounds with precision under his direction.
In Allegri’s Miserere, five dancers from Coleman Lemieux and Compagnie performed a quietly expressive piece by choreographer David Earle.
The performance included a superb vocal quartet ..... the sound was angelic, even in the highest and most difficult passages.
There were two standing ovations.....this was superb music-making, and it wasn’t surprising to see the audience on its feet.”
Ottawa Citizen Blog by Steven Mazey, August 12th 2008
Toronto Summer Music Festival - July 26th - “yet another shining evening”
“Soprano Suzie LeBlanc, countertenor Daniel Taylor and the instrumentalists of Taylor’s Theatre of Early Music took the stage
at the MacMillan Theatre and enchanted their audience.....
Both singers were in top form. Both have technique to burn, but they use it entirely to serve the music they are singing.
Both are impeccable musicians, and their musicianship encompasses not only the drama inherent in their operatic material
but also the blessed alleviation of quietness when it suits.
Taylor's performance of the ravishing Cara sposa from Rinaldo was profoundly lyrical and moving, and his rapt pianissimo
at the return of the main melody imprinted itself on our susceptibilities as nothing else could have done.
The team ended the evening, with all six instrumentalists in a deft and diaphanous reading of the Duet Scherzano from Rinaldo,
blending their nuances as though they came from a single mind, meeting both the music's rhythmic imperatives and
its need for the most refined dynamic flexibility.........The house erupted. What a concert. ”
Toronto Globe and Mail
Ken Winters, July 28, 2008
- TEM with Daniel Taylor and James Bowman - Analekta CD, “Here Let My Life”
“Wistful expression and visceral energy are brought together in this collection...
performed by one of Canada's leading early music ensembles.
Taylor And Bowman .....complement each other as perfectly as coffee and cream.
Bowman’s darker voice, now burnished with autumnal tones, is well suited to the
melancoly sound-world of his solos, while Taylor's light, silvery countertenor is
perfect for the intimacy of ‘Music for a While’ or the lyricism of ‘If Music
be the Food of Love’”
Kate Bolton BBC Music Magazine March 2008
- Daniel's First Analekta CD with James Bowman, “Here Let My Life”
“Two of today’s finest countertenors join for a lovely and well-thought-out
program of solo and duet music by Henry Purcell. ....the real interest
here is the sensitive and ear-friendly singing, especially in Daniel Taylor
and James Bowman’s two duets..... Taylor’s ‘Music for a While’ is a properly soulful pleasure...
David Vernier, classicstoday.com November 2007
- 14th Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Ottawa, Canada, July 22 - August 4, 2007
- “The dazzling (early music) program is due in large part to the powers of persuasion of Ottawa's own gift to
countertenordom, Daniel Taylor.”
Ottawa Citizen, Saturday, July 28, 2007
- “Daniel Taylor and his Theatre of Early Music presented a five-o'clock program of arias from Handel oratorios yesterday in Christ Church Cathedral ..... A truly affecting rendition.”
Richard Todd, The Ottawa Citizen, Saturday, August 04, 2007
- “Ich liege und schlafe (Nicolaus Bruhns 1665-1697) was next on the program. It featured the fifteen-voice Choir of the Theatre of Early Music, which turns out to be a disciplined and wonderfully musical ensemble.
Taylor conducted the enterprise.....it was a fine and moving performance.
Taylor himself was on next with a terrific rendition of the Rage aria from Handel's Julius Caesar (Domero la tua). He was in good voice for the occasion.
He is one of the few countertenors around who can sound consistently masculine when the text requires.”
Richard Todd, The Ottawa Citizen, Sunday, August 05, 2007
- The Theatre of Early Music with James Bowman
- “Taylor’s tone is ravishing - ineffably dulcet but focused, and wonderfully honest, undeniably true....with James Bowman, the legendary countertenor, in magical form”
- “a blast of creativity and virtuosic music-making”
- “James Bowman with his wonderful tone that still glows...Taylor’s voice is golden, Bowman’s is a rich burnt sienna. Bowman and Taylor were perfectly matched.”
- “Taylor and Bowman display breathtaking agility, ravishing purity and heightened expressivity.”
- Daniel made his sold-out recital debut in Barcelona as a guest of the Caixa Foundation with guest TEM musician lutist Sylvain Bergeron:
“This was a heart-breaking, profound journey through the 16th Century... we hope to see more, much more of this young man.”
- "The Theatre of Early Music really gets to the heart of Bach's style...Daniel Taylor shows his flexibility by directing and performing...the Theatre of Early Music will give rare pleasure to their listeners."
- "The Theatre of Early Music with the voice of Daniel Taylor gives us the remarkable impression that we are listening to the intimate confessions of a true believer"
- CD review - Couperin, Leçons de ténèbres
"a thoughtful and profound reading that bows to no other in vocal beauty "
Gramophone UK June 2005
- The Theatre of Early Music with Suzie Leblanc - Love Duets
"The crowd was delirious in their acclaim...Taylor and Leblanc bring joy to their audience with their fragility and honesty...Taylor also impresses with his simplicity and modesty."
- The Theatre of Early Music with Emma Kirkby
"In the world of baroque music no two individuals more deserve the label 'superstar' than countertenor Daniel Taylor and the great English soprano Emma Kirkby. Kirkby and Taylor shared the stage... it was an unforgettable experience. Taylor, with his powerful, perfectly balanced voice, thrilled the house with singing that was deeply expressive.
As for Kirkby, well, they don't call her the 'Divine Emma' for nothing. One could only wonder at the beauty of her singing....Perhaps the most wonderful of all were the duets in which the two musicians worked in perfect harmony."
Ottawa Citizen August 2003
- The Theatre of Early Music with Nancy Argenta
“Evening of aesthetic bliss - Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor and soprano Nancy Argenta...in a concert spanning the late 17th
to early 18th centuries with music stripped of artifice yet intelligently and lovingly layered and hued. Argenta and Taylor were outstanding.
The soprano dazzled with her large, crystalline voice and easy manner. Taylor's falsetto is a wonder of nature, which he uses with the skill
of a brain surgeon.”
- The Theatre of Early Music - recording of Bach Early Cantatas 131, 161
“The singing and playing [on this disc] are stylish and technically accomplished...This is particularly true...[of the] warm responses of Stephen Varcoe, Suzie LeBlanc and Daniel Taylor, who caress the contours of Bach’s often extended phrases with affective fervour.”
BBC Music Magazine
- TEM CD - Lamento: German Sacred Concert:
“..brought out the best Baroque composers had to offer. He has one of the least artificial sounding counter-tenor voices I can think of.
His dulcet sound and eloquent expressivity is perfectly matched to Buxtehude’s gentle Klag-lied and to Shutz’s odd, moving Erbarm dich,
with it’s stuttering.”
Mark Miller, The Globe and Mail, Thursday, April 4, 2002
- “Clarity combined with richness is his special trademark. He his rising in the operatic firmament as fast as the speed of sound. In the category of thirty something counter-tenors, none shines brighter than Taylor. With Taylor, risk is his middle name. If you’ve seen one of his concert performances, you’ll understand what the critics say when referring to his mesmerizing stage power.”
John Fraser National Post, Friday, march 8, 2002
- “Canadian Daniel Taylor ranks with Andreas Scholl and David Daniels among the foremost countertenors of his generation.”
Whole Note, Toronto’s Music - Classical and News, March 7, 2002
- "Taylor's interpretation [of J.C. Bach's lament Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug
hatte] is profoundly moving...beauty of his voice stops you in your tracks... his dulcet sound and eloquent expressivity is perfectly matched to Buxtehude's gentle Klag-Leid."
Gramophone UK 2002
Awards for Daniel Taylor with TEM Top
Sony/BMG Masterworks RCA Red Seal label
RCA RED SEAL
Daniel Taylor - The Voice of Bach
J S Bach:
Billboard Soundscan Top Ten
5 Star BBC Music Magazine Title
Gramophone Featured Choice
BBC 10 Out Of 10
Classical Music Magazine Recommended
“..his work here is stunning. His sound is pure, smooth, ethereal,
and evocative, with excellent flexibility and perfectly placed - an ideal voice in Bach.”
Love Bade Me Welcome
Goldberg 5 stars
Songs and poetry from the Renaissance
10/10 Classic Today
“The legendary countertenor James Bowman in magical form in glorious duet
with Canada's star countertenor Daniel Taylor”
Leçons de Ténèbres
Goldberg 5 stars
10/10 Classic Today
“Beauty of the disc bows to no other”
“I did this with Daniel Taylor, a most stylish, musical and congenial countertenor;
I really love his sound and the stillness he evokes in performance. Scarlatti's version of this text,
better known in Pergolesi's version, is highly individual and very moving.” Emma Kirkby
Bach Actus tragicus
Bach Cantatas 131
Goldberg 5 stars
“The singing and playing [on this disc] are stylish and technically accomplished...
This is particularly true...[of the] warm responses of Stephen Varcoe, Suzie LeBlanc and Daniel Taylor,
who caress the contours of Bach's often extended phrases with affective fervour.”
BBC Music Magazine
German Sacred Concert
Goldberg 5 stars
Classical CD 10/10