Saturday, November 8, 2008

Exhortations, Admonitions and Rebukes!

Well the extra rehearsal this morning was fun wasn't it? But then I always enjoy myself at rehearsals. I love pulling faces at the tenors during the warm-up, particularly the ha ha ha bits. I love the gentle rebukes, admonitions, exhortations and endless list of instructions!

For this Bach, there are an alarming number of trills, which I've never attempted before. After Tuesday's rehearsal, I know I'll have to have a private session in the shower to get them sort of sorted. David told us we "cannot shy away from the trills, even if it's just the first note then wobbling a bit. They're called ornaments and are there to adorn the music." OK maestro, I'll have to have a proper go.

Also on Tuesday we seemed to have problems keeping to time. Which amateur choir doesn't I wonder? But how many of them are treated to such gentle admonishments, such as "you don't have time to put your knitting down here", and "come along, it's like taking a reluctant dog for a walk."

Talking of animals. It reminds me of when we sang Mozart's Requiem under the baton of Ryusuke Numajiri. His English was far from fluent. But he made it quite quite clear that we were not to be floppy jellyfish; we had to shoot an arrow directly at the bull's-eye. Tecwyn Evans didn't use any animal metaphors. During the warm-up for Poulenc's Gloria he wanted us to be bus or lorry engines. Can't now remember why.

Today, being a special rehearsal meant that we had a longer break than usual with a cuppa. This clearly brought its own problems "Anyone who sings in the rest", said David, "has to do the washing-up". Yeah well no prizes for guessing who sang in the very next rest, talk about auto-suggestion! Afterwards we still were dragging things a bit "too many biscuits," he said, "you've gone a bit stodgy."

The instructions on the Chorales are giving me some amusement. I've written Brisk (twice), Broad (twice), Solid, Statley, Strong but Graceful, Questioning and Crisp, Majestic. Facetiousness got the better of me on Tuesday. A remark, made to myself really, was overheard, so I had to repeat it out loud "The last pair sound like a brandname don't you think? Majestic Crisps?" Guess you had to be there really. Then there's the Urgency with a Unity of Purpose (which means, explained David being together!) [rats not again!!] for the 'Lasset uns nun gehen gen Bethlehem' chorus.

Despite the problems mentioned above I think this Christmas Oratorio is shaping up really nicely, it'll be a great concert. Not far off now - Yikes!


daharja said...

I always figured I was a bad singer, because whenever I sang in the shower, the water always ran away!


But seriously, the Bach is a tricky piece. We all need to work on it at home, and do extra time on the nasty runs. Pages I've highlighted to look over at home include p.10, 78, 117 and 156 for the sopranos - and these pages are nasty for the rest of the choir too.

Then there's that nasty entry in number 12 - we've really got to get it into our heads or I suspect David will have us for dinner on a spit, with apples in our mouths.

The rehearsal was good and useful, although I think a few of us could have done with some more caffeine in our bloodstreams beforehand. I also think we could really do with another workshop, but I doubt I'll be able to convince the choir (and committee) of that!

Rosi Crane said...

Aside from the aforementioned trilly bits, my personal problem pages don't coincide much with yours, p.16, 61-65, and then some entry points I constantly seem to get wrong - but differently wrong each time - sigh! Oh and ditto some intervals too!

Am relying on standing next to someone who is a much better musician than me [that's not hard], and adrenaline!

daharja said...

Ahhh, yep the good-singer-next-to-you trick is a favourite of mine too ;-)

I just know that, regardless of how much I go over the music, the bits I stuff up in the concert will be completely NEW mistakes, and nothing that I've screwed up before :-(

It is always the way with me - unless, of course, it is a ridiculously high note that I shouldn't really attempt to sing anyway, but then foolishly decide to have a bash at on the night. Stupid, stupid, stupid...

Adrenaline is good too. As is tequila (in small doses) ;-)

daharja said...

Oh, and personally I was snickering when you stuffed up in the rest, because I was real glad it wasn't me!

I'm sure Bach would have delighted in a wee bit of schadenfreude ;-) I certainly did!


Rosi Crane said...

yip I'd assumed it would be a bass who would sing in the rest ... talk about cocky!
As to new stuff-ups on concert night I empathise.
My favourite note in the whole piece is the bottom f which a lot of the first altos can't reach - I could sing that one solo no probs - you can keep anything above e to yourself!

daharja said...

Bottom F? That's not low!!! ;-) Hehe.

We sometimes have impromptu competitions the day after sculling at IV festivals to see 'how low we can go' with the aid of a hangover and a lot of beer in the system.

The lowest I've ever managed (that has been documented) is a B flat - as in the B flat below the C below middle C. Now that's LOW!!

So maybe, if you're one of only a few making a lot of sound down there, you just need a few beers before Bach.

Of course, that *may* affect the precision of the whole piece, and have the effect of added choruses of 'Lilly The Pink' in-between the recits.