Good Friday evening. Long weekend. The glittering towers of Toronto’s upscale St. Clair area had been abandoned by the crowd, who headed downtown for fun. However, in this lonely dusk, under the dark blue sky, the Christ Church Deer Park was radiant and packed. It was a performance of Dieterich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu nostri.

In a way, the 17th-century northern German school is not surpassed by anything that follows in terms of genuine profundity. Buxtehude’s music is beauty in its ultimate simplicity and sincerity. The external element – the static image of Jesus’ crucified body – and the unstoppable flowing of inner emotions and reflections reconcile perfectly in this one-hour performance. Above the unifying bass line, there are so many subtle and well-paced variations and novelties that keep astonished audience returning to a freshened original idea. The final effect is both poetic and dramatic, private and public.

The concert started and ended with 16th-century composer Jacob Handl’s solemn but upbeat a cappella motet Ecce quomodo moritur.

Among the soloists, the young tenor stood out.

This is a concert I had been looking forward to for a long time. It didn’t disappoint.