Ten Centuries Concerts

Ten Centuries Concerts. A Toronto organization which produced concerts 1962-7 of unfamiliar but important works. It developed from discussions among Gordon Delamont, Harry Freedman, R.

Ten Centuries Concerts

Ten Centuries Concerts. A Toronto organization which produced concerts 1962-7 of unfamiliar but important works. It developed from discussions among Gordon Delamont, Harry Freedman, R. Murray Schafer, Harry Somers, and Norman Symonds, and its name reflected the time span from which repertoire would be drawn. Calling on the resources of many different and usually unrelated musical groups in Toronto, Ten Centuries Concerts presented an extraordinary variety of programs, including, in the first season, Joseph Quesnel'sColas et Colinette, Falla's El Retablo de Maese Pedro, and the 10th-century liturgical drama Quem quaeritis, which shared a concert with Stravinsky's L'Histoire du soldat. Events, often broadcast later on the CBC, were held in the concert hall (Walter Hall) of the Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, and the initial response was sufficient to sell out the first season of seven concerts by subscription. Essay-length program notes were mailed to subscribers before each concert. In 1967 Ten Centuries Concerts gave four concerts at Expo 67 and also commissioned works from Norma Beecroft, Ron Collier, Bruce Mather, André Prévost, and Norman Symonds. However, audience interest by then had declined, and the directors found the burden of voluntary work overwhelming. After the spring presentations of 1967 the series was discontinued. Three programs were presented in the spring of 1970 at the St Lawrence Centre, but no further attempt was made to revive the concerts. Though subsequent organizations have assumed parts of Ten Centuries Concerts' responsibility (particularly, in regard to 20th-century music, Kasemets' Isaacs Gallery Concerts and NMC), no other (by 1990) had offered a repertoire comparable in the length of its historical perspective, the rarity of its material, and its extraordinary variety.


Further Reading

  • Schafer, R. Murray. 'Ten Centuries Concerts: a recollection,' Toronto Only Paper Today, vol 5, Jun 1978; repr in On Canadian Music (Bancroft, Ont 1984)