Conductor’s Notes – Wednesday 8th March

Well... what a rehearsal that was! A huge congratulations on getting through the piece; it’s quite a behemoth. I hope it was useful to you all to know what it felt like to get from beginning to end, with short breaks, as we’ll do in the concert, so you know how much energy to channel on the night. It also showed us all the weaker points that we still need to work on. I’ve been reflecting on it all, and we’ll put together a really efficient final few rehearsals, but do practice the bits you know you need to at home.

What we did on Wednesday 8th March

We spent most of the rehearsal doing an entire run of the piece. It allowed us to identify the sections which need the most work, and gave us an idea of the stamina required to get through the piece, including how deep we’ll need to dig for the final movement. A lot of really good things here, and we all learnt a lot from it.

After the break, we did a short bit of work on the end of Movement 7, from Letter D, making sure we were confident in finding our notes for our entries, keeping the rhythms together, and that the blend was beautiful, allowing us to end the piece in a gentle and serene manner. Put a massive ‘up’ arrow through the long notes on the last page so we don’t go flat!

We ended the rehearsal by touching up Letter K in Movement 2, for the Festival performance on Saturday. The chords at “und Schmerz” were a lot more in tune when we thought about them, as were the short “wird weg”s. Huge confidence in bar 269 Tenors, remembering to breathe in plenty of time! Concentrate on the notes in bars 297-298 – we covered this so it should be perfect on Saturday. and finally, the “ewige Freude”s at the end will be beautiful, just remember to prepare the note before you come in so it’s a smooth and gentle entrance. Well done all!

Overall feedback from the whole ‘performance’ – confidence in the entries (particularly on our starting notes), as well as text (especially consonants – do as much with them as you can and they’ll carry beautifully)!

Please note where we’ll be sitting and standing:
Following the run, I’ve decided where we’ll be sitting and standing for the performance. Please mark these in your copies.

Sit – before the start of the piece once you’re on stage.
Stand on my cue – for the opening.
Sit on my cue – at the end of Movement 2.
Stand – in bar 122 of Movement 3 (I won’t show you this, make sure it’s in your copy!).
Sit on my cue – at the end of Movement 4.
Stand on my cue – at the end of Movement 5.

Remember, when singing seated, sit well so you can still produce a great sound, particularly the beautiful choral lines in movement 5.

What we will do on Wednesday 15th March

We’ll begin by covering a few entries in Movement 1 in bars 55/56, at Letter C, and before Letter F. I’d then like to start Movement 3, and then work on the Fugue beginning bar 173 in tutti. Before the break we’ll look at the entries at Letter A in Movement 4, and the harmonic progression from Letter B.

After the break, we’ll split into sectionals for Movement 6 beginning at bar 82. S/A will be with Rowena, T/B downstairs with me. We’ll also look at the Fugue from bar 208, before coming back to put this all together.

As a heads up, one of the sections you’ll be covering with Janet Lincé (who’s kindly standing in for me on the 22nd March) will be Letter E to bar 173 – this section needs a lot of work at home, so please look at it by the 22nd March.

Chipping Norton Music Festival

This Saturday is our performance at the Festival. We’ve got a great number signed up, and the performance will be amazing, so here’s a reminder of the details:

Saturday 11th March
– Location: Chipping Norton Town Hall
– ‘Class’ time: 14:15 (performing second, around 14:25)
– Meet at: 14:00 in the Main Hall – there’ll be a warm up from the adjudicator first.
– Dress: All Black
– Other information: We’ll be singing Movement II of the Brahms (Denn Alles Fleisch) – do stay to support the other choirs.

Do also come along to The Acafellas concert on Sunday 12th March, Town Hall, 19:30 – some great music for you, and an evening of fun music!

Marked Scores

I think I might have a crying fit if these aren’t in by now... take the time to put everything in and not let the team down!

Recommended Recordings

There are many fabulous recordings of this piece, including this one by the late great Bernard Haitink.

However, we’re doing an incredible version for chamber orchestra, with our friends from the Adderbury Ensemble. In this chamber arrangement, the arranger (Joachim Linckelmann) keeps all of the wonderful colours and atmospheres of the original orchestration, but reduces the orchestra to a manageable size. This is my recommended recording, and you can listen HERE.

Learning Resources

As well as the resources we’ve been using (found in previous posts), David Fitt (bass) has very kindly produced this guide to help with some of the pronunciation. Please look over it and use it as it’s great!

Poster and Tickets

Below is the wonderful poster Brian has produced, so start sharing it far and wide. You can also get your tickets HERE.

NC3 Concert

Do go and support our friends over at NC3 in their concert:
“The wondrous cross: A choral journey through Holy Week with hymns, psalms and motets”. Conducted by Bernard West with Dan Chambers on piano/organ and will include music from across the centuries from Thomas Weelkes to Bob Chilcott to Maurice Durufle to Sarah Macdonald with many stops in between.
We do hope you can join us at 7.30pm on Saturday 18th March in St Peter’s Church, Hook Norton.
Tickets are on sale from Eventbrite
If you would like to come, but are not comfortable buying tickets online, please let me know and I can arrange to get a ticket put by for you at the door. But please let me know that you’re planning to come, its really helpful for the choir to have an idea of what size audience to expect.”

See you on Saturday 11th or Wednesday 15th March.
– Ben