Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Singing at the Cathedral

Dateline: Seattle. Tallis Scholars Summer School
Oh my goodness – what a building to sing in! Our sixty voices, a cappella, ringing out in that space were simply breathtaking, if I do say so myself. ☺

We did very well last night. Not perfect, of course, but we did a good job considering that we’ve only been singing this Mass for 3 days, and we performed Palestrina’s Motet on the same theme after having first seen it yesterday morning!

I am a believer in singing out, doing everything you can to make the words come alive in performance. This is a little scary when you don't know the music terribly well, but I decided to just go for it. I missed some spots, but nothing major. Walking back from the cathedral, I was talking with Denise, a soprano who is doing this workshop for the fourth time. She concurred. "Even the best singers around you are going to miss an entrance. You need to be brave and sing that entrance, even if others around you are not." She's right - although sometimes the people around you are not singing because you are coming in at the wrong place!

The alto section propels the drive to the climax in the Benedictus with a series of running quavers (the British term for eighth notes). If I do say so, we kicked butt on our quavers - solid as a rock.

David Woodcock conducted tonight (I was surprised – I guess Peter Phillips will do the “big” concert on Friday). He was very good, and inspired confidence – all we had to do was keep your eyes on him to know we were in the right place. He made a bold move, changing the tempo and picking up speed during the “Hosannas” at the end of the Sanctus, and we were right with him.

Our tutors had smiles on their faces, and that’s what meant the most to me.

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