Events under a different star
No matter where we went, the events that took place after September 11, 2001, all had one thing in common: each and every one of them commemorated that black day. Only one day afterwards the Austrian Consul and Trade Commissioner and Mrs Gerhard Mueller had long before invited community representatives to The National Club on Toronto’s Bay Street for a reception. The purpose was to introduce the new Trade Commissioner and his wife and to say goodbye before leaving to a new assignment in London, UK. There was no reason to cancel this event.
Already in the reception line, while waiting, the conversation only had one topic: New York. Members of Austrian Air had been in the city when it happened, at a distance near the Airport for a conference, but could report seeing the drama transpire quite well. It was hard to leave New York, but they managed to rent a car, which they drove to Vermont, where someone from the airline’s Montreal Office picked them up to arrange further transport to Toronto.
A minute of silence acknowledged the events of the previous day before Mr. Mueller thanked all attendees for their support and introduced the new arrivals Mr. and Mrs. Karl J. Schmidt, who are looking forward to their stay into Toronto.
Over drinks and delectable tit bits the conversations in the room continued to turn to the shocking occurrences in the United States and every one hoped for the avoidance of war. Still mainly in shock, that is what was mostly on peoples mind.
The traditional definition for Tafelmusik could be translated into table music and is listed in musical dictionaries as "music for a banquet, to be played before or after a festive meal for the guests during the baroque period, such as by Telemann".
There is a second definition, more current; in fact it is only a little more than 20 years old. Nowadays Tafelmusik refers to a world-class orchestra of Canadian origin. It was founded in 1979 as an orchestra playing with period instruments and under the musical directorship of Jeanne Lamont as of 1981. Since then international acclaim precedes the baroque orchestra, where ever it performs. In Germany the orchestra was honoured 1996 with that country’s highest accolade-the coveted Echo Klassik Award as the "Best orchestra of the Year" in a live to television broadcast throughout Europe. Germany’s musically knowledgeable public affirms yearly the popularity of this orchestra, which is the orchestra in residence at the Bavarian "Klang und Raum" Festival since 1993.
Jerusalem, Athens, London, Vienna, Madrid, Birmingham, Lisbon all have one thing in common; they invited Tafelmusik to come and play and loved the concerts.
The hard beginnings were recounted on September 19, 2001, to celebrate in an opening seasonal concert Jeanne Lamont’s 20th anniversary as musical director of this extraordinary Orchestra. Ms. Lamont created and perfected the vision and commitment to fine music. The intimate Trinity-St.Paul’s Church on Bloor Street reverberated after a dedication to the victims in the USA with the unparalleled sounds of fine ensemble soloists, each one a specialist in period music and instruments. The works by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau and Telemann form the core repertoire of the orchestra and found once again favour with a mostly "fan" audience. Ms. Lamont herself shone with strength and certainty as she led the orchestra in the pieces from the great masters. On stage she comes across as a giant with a violin, a tour de force of the finest calibre, and behind the scenes she is astoundingly petite. Her diminutive stature belies her huge talent.
The major season started on September 29 with the Baroque Master Works at the coveted George Weston Recital Hall.
For further concerts opportunities contact Tafelmusik at 416-964-6337. The Genius of Bach is planned for the middle of October. In November the 20th Anniversary of the choir by the same name will perform a mixed concert. December shouts "Viva L’Italia", and in the new year every month will have something special. Enjoy!
Export and Politics
On the 20th of September an interesting mix of people met in the Albany Club of Toronto. As every month H.J. Janthur, President, had invited the members of the 1980 founded Exports Club of Toronto. As a non-profit organisation the club seeks to further business by encouraging and furthering networking among interested parties and working together with various trade commissions worldwide. The monthly meetings (except in the summer) are always well visited, last but not least because of interesting guest speakers. Instead of cancelling the meeting it took place to fulfill its mandate and with much anticipation many members came to listen to the Consul General of Israel, Mr. Meir Romem.
After the introduction, Mr Romem has at least 4 different degrees, and the by now obligatory silent moment, normal business was conducted in form of a trade and commerce related speech by the guest of honour.
Or was it normal business?
Everyone tried very hard not to refer to the recent events in the USA too much, but to leave it out entirely was impossible. The Consul General was for instance saying: "As of right now things are changed quite a bit, but last year Israel…". Nevertheless, it was most interesting to hear what this tiny country, smaller than Vancouver Island, accomplishes in the way of manufacture and trade. The biggest resource is people and their abilities, the consul pointed out.
When the question and answer period arrived there where many question marks that quietly stood in the room, but no one posed any awkward moments. It was obviously decided to do the diplomatic thing, stick to business and leave politics up to the politicians. The Consul General was gracious and informative; just not too up to date under the circumstances. How could he, when the entire world is on hold these days?! Never the less a few people could be observed to reach out to one another for future business ventures. The purpose of the club was fulfilled.
The next meeting takes place on October 24, 200. Call 416-364-4112 for more details on how to become a member at the very useful Export Club.
City politics and the press
Here too there was no getting away from the events that shook the world. Justifiable fears expressed on behalf of the local Muslim population were addressed after moments of silence and the mayor made it quite clear that in his town there was absolutely no tolerance for any fall out in that department. He actually said that he would be really ashamed to be a Torontonian if that were to happen. And so far all is well in our city. Generosity of heart has won out over any possible suspicion until now. I have observed people to make a conscious effort to be nice to each other.
The Mayor assured all that we are as prepared as possible for any emergency contingency, which of course only means that we can deal with the fall out, should there be any. But there is really no reason why we should have a problem. Canada has always been more the inconsequential neutral partner, supportive but not too effective in any altercation. But we are a great shoulder to lean on.
The mayor was asked a lot of questions in regards to improvements to the city, like affordable housing. He always pointed out that the city’s only revenue comes from property taxes and therefore the city cannot afford any of the wonderful and desperately needed things. It is the provincial and federal government we have to ask. Thanks, Mayor, we will!
I also found out that he mayor has no clue as to everything going on in his city. His staff obviously makes a lot of decisions for him. For instance he has not heard about any difficulties the Christmas Market might have. I told him that I do not think it to be a democracy when the city makes it its mandate to tell people that only one sponsor at a time can do this or that on opening day. Like no mulled wine on opening day! Can you imagine?
He has no idea, but we can ask him. It appears her really does want to know.
Good to know that he has not lost his sense of humour!
No good is served if we get stuck in mourning or fear. To celebrate life is still our most important obligation, especially in the face of adversity. There is much we still can be grateful for and as we continue in our lives we shall create more memorable moments.
In New York the famous Steuben Parade was of course cancelled. It was to take place on September 2oth. This was certainly too close to celebrate. We had not even begun to mourn all those missing people. But the Federation of German Americans societies in Rochester decided to go ahead with its annual bash on October 6th, just as the German Gala Ball will go on here at he end of the month. Before that there is of course the annual observation of the German National Holiday, which will take place in Toronto this October 3rd, 2001, at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse at the University of Toronto between 6 and 8 p.m..
Love & Peace
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