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Critic's picks: Notable Toronto performances for Sept. 10 to 16

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The New Orford String Quartet plays at Gallery 345 on Tuesday.


This outstanding foursome — Toronto Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Jonathan Crow, Montreal Symphony concertmaster Andrew Wan, TSO associate principal viola Eric Nowlin and MSO principal cello Brian Manker — represent the very best of the string quartet form and offer up three great works by Joseph Haydn (the best-loved fourth, in D Major, of the landmark six Op. 20 quartets from 1772), Johannes Brahms (the great C minor Op. 51 No. 1 quartet from 1873) and the late Jacques Hétu (Op. 19 String Quartet No. 1, from 1972) before they return to their regular jobs with the big orchestras. Tickets are $30 here. (Note that the Orfords perform two of these three pieces for Mooredale Concerts on Oct. 28.)


England’s masters of a cappella music open the University of Toronto faculty of Music recital season with a programme devoted to “the sorrows of the Virgin Mary” that includes a performance of the famous setting of Psalm 51, the Miserere, by Gregorio Allegri. Note that this concert is led by countertenor Daniel Taylor rather than founder Peter Phillips. All the details and tickets ($10-$35) are here. The group presents a free public master class at Walter Hall on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.


Music Toronto launches a new season with something a bit unusual, as the excellent 20-year-old Brentano Quartet presents a centuries-spanning collection of quartet fragments by the greats paired with new music. It could make for a fascinating exercise on the evolution of Western art music. You’ll find a limited amount of further information and tickets here. This video explains a bit more about the concert:


Two great Toronto singers, soprano Virginia Hatfield and countertenor Scott Belluz, tackle one of the masterpieces of Baroque sacred music, the Stabat Mater by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi with counductor Kevin Mallon and members of the period-instrument Aradia Ensemble in the cozy, acoustically generous Yorkville hideaway. Tickets are $15-$35 here.


  • Talisa Blackman and Jane Joon Mee Yang. Gallery 345, 7:30 p.m.

Young pianist Talisa Blackman is slowly but surely building herself a reputation as a fine collaborator in Toronto. She accompanies violinist Jane Yang in sonatas by Sergei Prokofiev, Richard Strauss and Kevin Lau, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s new associate composer. Tickets are $10-$15 here.


Tafelmusik violinist Christopher Verrette, theorbo player Matthew Wadsworth and cellist Kaye Haynes bring chamber music of the Italian Baroque, including something by Antonio Vivaldi, to the great outdoors as the closer to this year’s summer music series, weather permitting. Free.

John Terauds

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