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John Passion by Bach, under the direction of organist and conductor Alexander Weimann.
This recording was produced at the Chapel of the Grand Sminaire in Montreal, following performances during the 2010 Bach Festival in Montreal. John Passion follows the rules of an oratorio: The story, - essentially the last days of Christ's life - is drawn from the Gospel according to John, and features commentary throughout in the form of choruses sung by the choir.
In this work, Bach reaches an incomparable profundity of expressiveness not by rote association of musical motif with image, but by the beauty of his melodies, the feeling associated with various keys, and the richness of his harmonies.
"...soprano Shannon Mercer...shines in the aria "Ich folge dir gleichfalls mit freudigen Schritten." " "It moves rapidly, with a great deal of contrast, and one of the strengths of this imposing performance - along with the remarkable clarity and focused sound of the ensemble singing - is the way it maintains dramatic momentum, often balancing different levels of activity and meaning within the same aria or chorus. "Both Mercer and Williams provided a well-balanced performance, reveling in the rich timbres of both their voices, particularly in the lower registers, as in Strozzi's Donna no s che dice, no dice che s. Mercer showed remarkable control and flexibility in her glittering upper range, particularly in solo cantatas such as No se emender jams, the only one of Handel's Spanish cantatas, or in duet with Wheeler in Agostino Steffani's Tengo per infallibile.
The musical highlight proved to be the ornate, Gaelic folksong "Eleanor a Run," exquisitely sung by Mercer." Join Shannon on Saturday, February 25th a.m.
( AT, NT) as she hosts CBC Radio 2's celebrated show This is My Music.
In the meantime, copies can be purchased through the PBO website. Shannon's recording with her 2009 JUNO winning partners, Ensemble Caprice and Matthias Maute is up for another award, this time for a 2011 ADISQ Award in the category of CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLOIST AND SMALL ENSEMBLE.
Shannon once again joins Ensemble Caprice and Matthias Maute for "Vivaldi - The Return of the Angels", the follow-up to their JUNO Award winning "Gloria! The ADISQ Awards will be handed out at ceremonies in Montréal October 24. Shannon joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and conductor Alain Trudel on its Northern Residency tour to Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie.
Mercer also gets to act a little (and rather well)...Their conductor, Eric Paetkau, leads a warm and luminous reading of Hector Berlioz's six-song cycle Les Nuits d't (Summer Nights), orchestrated in 1856.Mercer shapes long, arching melodies with the unforced ease of someone sipping their second Long Island iced tea.Hear what the critics are saying: "This is a fantastic debut album by one of Toronto classical treasures, soprano Shannon Mercer, teaming up with one of the city's greatest secrets, the Group of 27 chamber orchestra.Made up of some of our best players, this group can only get together when everyone is free at the same time, which isn't often.