Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 22nd March

A huge thank you to Janet for taking Wednesday’s rehearsal, I’ve had some excellent feedback from both Janet herself and some choir members all saying how brilliant the rehearsal was – hope I’m not out of a job...

Some important things about the concert below, as well as feedback from Wednesday’s rehearsal.

What we did on Wednesday 15th March

On page 34 you made sure the lines were flowing and a few notes were corrected. Janet then got you to work on the opening vowels which helps with the confidence of each entry on page 35. On the theme of text, she told me you did lots of work here, especially on a few vowel sounds that are hard to English speakers, such as “trösten”. Make sure there’s a lovely contrast with the P quiet marking in bar 159. Janet also offered some help in finding the notes at the bottom of page 37, working on the individual entries taking over the lines, as well as preparing the ‘lower’ part of the voice in time to help settle where that note feels in the voice.

Then you worked on pages 51 & 52, thinking about the lightness and bounciness of the faster quavers, particularly in the sopranos. This will help provide that lovely contrast with the bolder, longer notes. Janet also advised not to hammer the dynamic here, not forcing the forte sound, but instead thinking about the phrasing of the music which will help it come across. And then she did some work on the ‘bell-like’ accents at the top of page 52 – altos especially, when it’s slightly less obvious where the beat is, you can use the consonants to help punctuate the music, giving it that bell-like quality.

After the break you worked on Movement 5. The first challenge is coming in with confidence in bars 34 and 35 – listen to the harmony in the piano/orchestra for those starting notes, and commit to a beautiful sound. Think about where those notes sit in the voice so, as before, we’re comfortable with how it feels in the voice on those entries. Again, some work done on the “trösten” umlaut vowel. Altos, your entrance in bar 44 is a tricky one, so again, listen to the accompaniment and the soloist to solidify that entrance.

You ended with Movement 6, thinking about body strength and the quality of the text to help generate the power in the louder sections, such as bar 82. Careful with the final consonants on words like “Tod” at Letter E. At Letter L (page 80), really embrace that change of mood, becoming more lyrical and expressive – Janet recommended you use the breath well here to support that. In bar 304 onwards, just make sure the ‘H’ of “Herr” doesn’t get it the way too much – the vowel carries the power. Same with the ‘Kr’ of “Kraft” at Letter M. On page 83, remember to support the sound as we bring the dynamic suddenly down on “Ehre”.

By the sounds of things, a very good rehearsal! I hope it was useful having a different set of ears listening and helping with things, and I really look forward to hearing what Janet worked on with you all.

What we will do on Friday 24th March

This is our ‘dress run’ in the church, allowing us to get used to the acoustic and seating arrangement. It’s important to be there if you can! I want to get a feel of each movement in the space, doing the starts and ends, the fiddly changes, and running a couple of the challenging sections. So, what we’ll cover:

– The opening and ending of Movement 1, along with Letters B-D.
– Bars 178-218 of Movement 2, followed by the end of page 24 going into Letter M (and a couple of other short sections which weren’t 100% in the Music Festival.
– Start of Movement 3, followed by Letter E to the end.
– Start of Movement 4.
– Start and end of Movement 5.
– Start of Movement 6, and from Letter C to the end.
– Start of Movement 7 and from Letter B to page 88.

Lots to cover, and you should know it all by now – use any spare time you have to go through those tiny corners you personally feel need the work.

Please note, this rehearsal is at St Mary’s Church Banbury. Arrive at 7:10pm to get seated for a prompt 7:30 start!

Rehearsal Schedule for Sunday 26th March

A full rehearsal schedule is below, so you know what we’ll be covering with the orchestra.

14:10 – Arrive and get seated.
14:25 – Orchestra tune and introductions made.
14:30 – Prompt baton down, beginning with Movement 7.
14:50 – Movement 4.
15:05 – Movement 1.
15:30 – Movement 5.
15:45 – Break
16:00 – Movement 6.
16:30 – Movement 3.
17:00 – Movement 2.
17:15 – Orchestral touch-ups.
17:30 – Finish (absolute latest).

I’m hoping that we’ll plough through various bits, and that you’ll get plenty of time to rest while I work with the orchestra and soloists, so take it easy and save yourselves for the big concert.

For the concert:
19:15 – Latest arrival back to the church.
19:20 – Warm up (if possible).
19:25 – Head onto stage.
19:30 – Concert begins.
20:45 – Approximate concert end time.
21:00 – Pub!

I can’t wait for this concert, it’s going to be truly epic!

Concert Dress

Is either Dinner Jackets (black jacket, white shirt, black bowtie, black trousers, black socks and black shoes), or All Black. No bright pink socks – we really don’t want to spoil the mood of the concert!

Learning Resources

A final push to remind yourselves of some pronunciation using David Fitt’s excellent pronunciation guide. Please look over it and use it as it’s very helpful!

Poster and Tickets

For the final time this term, share the poster and get your tickets HERE.

See you in St Mary’s Church on Friday 24th March!
– Ben