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2010 has been a difficult year with my father dying of lymphoma this year, and my mother struggling to put together a patchwork of different sources of income so that she needn’t resort to catfood for sustenance. I’ve done my best for her, using my wacky accountantcy skills to maximise her government OAP. So my mother needed something to lift her up, so to speak. As well, I really don’t like giving Christmas gifts that just clutter up the place – I prefer they be useful or atleast edible. My mother is super catholic, constantly clicking away with the rosary beads wherever she goes. So I thought the perfect holiday gift for her would be a concert put on by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra – all three parts of Handel’s Messiah. So I purchased some lovely seats and yesterday we went to the concert.

It was sheer bliss for my mother. She adored the afternoon for two reasons, she told me; one was for spending time with her daughter (that’s me) and the other was to listen to such a beautiful concert. The performers were:

Sir Andrew Davis, conductor
Andriana Chuchman, soprano
Jill Grove, mezzo-soprano
Toby Spence, tenor
John Relyea, bass-baritone
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

Sir Andrew, according to the programme guide, spent 10 months on the orchestration. It was lovely reading the programme notes, because between each piece there were notes as to how he interpreted the piece and his thoughts. Listening to the whole orchestration one could get a sense of the influence of Mozart on Sir Andrew. Many composers, after Handel’s death, worked on the orchestration of Messiah – Mozart being one of them. The TSO did a superb job, as did the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

It was a magical way to spend an afternoon, and it made me so happy to see my mother smiling through the entire 3 hours.