Theatre of Early Music

temchoirThe Choir and Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music (TEM) records exclusively for Sony Classical Masterworks.The Choir and Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music is an ensemble of some of the world’s finest musicians, sharing a particular passion for early music. Its formation is the result of a search by instrumentalists and singers for opportunities that would allow devotion and dedication to enter into the creative process.The core of the TEM consists of an ensemble based in Canada that is primarily made up of young musicians. Their distinctive style, coupled with its artistic director Daniel Taylor’s expertise and enthusiasm, leads to captivating readings of magnificent but often neglected works. In various combinations, leading international musicians in the field perform on the platform provided by the Theatre of Early Music in concerts conducted by Daniel Taylor in its regular series in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, on tours around the world and on recordings. The choir and orchestra of the TEM appear in some 30 concerts every year, recently having performed on stages in France, Argentina, Brazil, England and China. Future engagements include European, North American, South American and Asian tours in 2010 and 2011.

Guest artists performing with the TEM include Dame Emma Kirkby, Nancy Argenta, Karina Gauvin, Suzie Leblanc, Carolyn Sampson, Deborah York, Robin Blaze, James Bowman, Benjamin Butterfield, Charles Daniels, James Gilchrist, Michiel Schrey, Alexander Dobson, Michael George, Peter Harvey, Daniel Lichti and Stephen Varcoe. In Canada, the TEM is perhaps best-known for its performances of compositions from around the time of Bach; this includes choral literature by Kuhnau, Tunder and Bruhns as well as the early cantatas by Bach himself.

The Theatre of Early Music’s first recording on BIS, Couperin’s Leçons De Ténèbres (Blaze and Taylor) was released in March 2005; critics commented “Beauty of this recording bows to no other.” This highly-praised disc was followed by an imaginative Renaissance programme, Love Bade Me Welcome, featuring the actor Ralph Fiennes reading poetry as well as countertenor duets with Bowman and Taylor. Reviews were unanimous in their admiration for “the legendary countertenor James Bowman in magical duet with the remarkable young star Daniel Taylor.” The most recent release on the BIS label was the Vivaldi disc ‘Stabat Mater’ in June 2009, to be followed soon by the Pergolesi ‘Stabat Mater’ with Dame Emma Kirkby and Daniel Taylor.

The Choir and Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music, led by Conductor Daniel Taylor, now records exclusively for Sony Classical Masterworks. The best-selling debut disc on the Sony label entitled The Voice of Bach was praised in Gramophone Magazine as “serious music-making of the highest order”. The disc received five stars from both BBC Music Magazine and Classic Music CD, was featured on BBC’s “Desert Island Discs” and received acclaim worldwide including reviews from the Times (London), the Globe and Mail (Toronto), the New York Times, the Guardian (London) and La Scena Musicale (Montreal).

The Theatre of Early Music is motivated by a desire to communicate both text and music to their audience. The TEM explores the depth and substance of the early choral and instrumental literature, sharing their passion and ideas with audiences worldwide. The key aspect involved in the approach of the Theatre of Early Music is revelation: just as in modern-day we have restored the frescoes of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, so do we hope to reveal the original beauty of ancient works. Therein we hope to understand, communicate and celebrate this inspirational music.

The TEM became a registered non-profit organization in 2002 and a charitable organization in August 2004. We continue to value and appreciate the generous contributions of music lovers across Canada

Quebec’s Le Soleil described the Choir of the TEM conducted by Daniel Taylor in concert: “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.”