Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Visit to Toronto Music Garden

Waaaaayyyyy back on March 18th, you may recall my post entitled "Toronto Garden Tour" which featured a Top 5 list of gardens to visit this summer. Well, I finally got around to spending some outdoor time today at the Toronto Music Garden. What a relaxing way to spend a few hours on this Simcoe Day holiday.

1 Prelude
This first movement of the Suite imparts the feeling of a flowing river through which the visitor can stroll. Granite boulders from the southern edge of the Canadian Shield are placed to represent a streambed with low-growing plants softening its banks. The whole is overtopped by an alley of native Hackberry trees whose straight trunks and regular spacing suggest measures of music.

2 Allemande

The Allemande is an ancient German dance. Interpreted here as a birch forest, the movement invites the visitor to swirl inward to various contemplative sitting areas, that move higher and higher up the hillside, culminating in a rocky vantage point that looks over the Harbour through a circle of Dawn Redwood trees.

3 Courante
Originally an Italian and French dance form, the Courante is an exuberant movement that is interpreted here as a huge, upward-spiralling swirl through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract birds and butterflies. At the top, a Maypole spins in the wind.

4 Sarabande

This movement is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. Its contemplative quality is interpreted here as an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Envisioned as a poet's corner, the garden's centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.

5 Menuett

This French dance was contemporary to Bach's time. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of this movement's design. Hand-crafted with ornamental steel, a circular pavilion is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.

6 Gigue

The Gigue, or "jig" is an English dance, whose jaunty, rollicking music is interpreted here as a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the Harbour. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree; a place for informal performances. Shrubs and perennials act as large, enclosing arms, framing views out onto the Harbour.

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