Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Greatest choral moments

What are your favourite musical moments of your choral career?

If I was going to write a list of greatest choral moments, it would be a long one, but there are a few that stand out.

  • The Alleluia from the Bernstein Mass is definitely up there, complete with Kazoo chorus. ("Alleluia al-allelui-ya ya!") (I couldn't find a Youtube for this movement, so I stuck in the Simple Song, which is lovely).

  • The Choir of Angelicals from the Dream of Gerontius. ("Praise to the holiest in the heights, and in the depths be praise. In all His words most wo-on-der-fu-ul!") What a great work.

  • The Lord's Prayer from Afrikan Sanctus for sheer thumb-candle waving nausea/hilarity in the dress rehearsal. Apart from that, the Sanctus is actually a great sing, combining recorded original content from 1970s Africa with Fanshawe's own composition. Truly unique stuff, and worth performing if only for its originality.

  • Beethoven's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage ("Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt"). The most wonderfully crafted choral piece I've ever had the honour of singing. Choral orgasm. Absolute divinity. I know why I am alive. My favourite all-time piece. How can we convince David this is worth performing? Does he take bribes? Or is the Committee I have to slip twenties to? ;-)

  • Durufle's Ubi Caritas. Simple. Beautiful. I want it at my funeral, even though it isn't really a funeral piece, as it's about peace and friendship.

I could go on and on, but I'll cut the list here.

What are your 'greatest choral moments'?


Leta said...

Elgar's Dream of Gerontius is phenomenal - I'm glad we're getting another opportunity to sing it soon!

Karl Jenkins's The Armed Man - wish we could sing the whole work. The Benedictus is beautiful and on the whole the work is "catchy". I think our audience would love a performance of The Armed Man. Have listen to the Sanctus:
Check YouTube for some of the other movements - they are there!

daharja said...

Do you know how music is decided for the choir? Does a committee decide, or do we have to grovel to David?

Just curious - although if I can encourage the choir to do the Beethoven Calm Sea I certainly would! It really is the most wonderful piece I've ever performed. Made me a Beethoven fangirl :-)

I've never heard of the Jenkins, but thanks for the Youtube, which I will download and listen to. You can get an idea of a piece from a score, but its not the same as a recording. Youtube rocks.

There are some absolutely wonderful works out there. I was so thrilled when I found out we were doing Carmina. (Yikes, do I sound like a swotty Blyton schoolgirl or what! I'll have to do something about that or I'll tarnish my reputation!)

Any idea what's in store for 2009?

Leta said...

By the way, we sang the Benedictus from "The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace" (which is the full title) in February 2007 as part of the Last Night of the Proms concert.

I've only been on the committee since this year, but I gather that working out the programme for the following year (which has started already for the 2009 programme) is quite complicated. All suggestions are considered, so you are welcome to make a suggestion. Best way would be to email to the choir's email address, outlining and motivating your suggestion. (Next committee meeting is 13 August.)

The final programme will depend on things like:
- how does it fit with the Southern Sinfonia's programme (there is a close working relationship between David and Philippa)
- what orchestration is required
- availability of suitable soloists
- availability of scores
- and the bottom line: money. Can we afford to put on the performance? Some scores and some soloists are more expensive! Some works require larger/more complex orchestral support - again more expensive.