I've started another block of rehearsals for Pro Coro and this time we have second artistic director candidate, Mark Bailey, leading us. I'm not sure what it is about this time around, but I feel a lot calmer than preparing for Pro Coro concerts in the past. I think it's because I am familiar with two songs in the repertoire so I am feeding off of a small amount of confidence. However, the pieces that Bailey has chosen are very enjoyable to sing and aren't so challenging to the extent that I feel continuously anxious throughout the entire piece.
Of course, I definitely still had some internal panic moments, such as, "how is everybody singing fluent Russian!?!?!?"... before I noticed the transliteration symbols beneath the text and "where is the pulse!?!?! is this in 2 or 4?!?!" during a small ensemble piece by Gesauldo. The Ukrainian piece by Vedel, "Sacred Choral Concerto no. 9" is definitely the power piece of the program and there are tons of mini solos within the piece (including my first solo duet within Pro Coro). We're singing Bach's "Komm, Jesu, komm" again, which we will be doing with each of the candidates, but this time we switched the Choir one and two designations so we are singing different parts. There are also a couple of lovely Rachmaninoff pieces ("Night," "Captivity," and "Angel") that the ladies of Pro Coro will be singing and the men will be performing Poulenc's "Quatre petities prieres de Saint Francois d'Assise" as well. There's some gorgeous Brahms pieces: "Der Gang zum Liebchen," "Der Abend", and "Neckereien," two of which I have sung with the Madrigal Singers. A late thank-you to MAD's conductor, Len!
Neckereien is one of my favorite mixed choir pieces because the song just cues such hilarious memories from when I was in Madrigal Singers. The song revolves around the basses and tenors courting the ladies (altos and sopranos)--- they profess how they're going to make the ladies their wives etc., and the ladies are adamant that that is not going to happen. As a fellow chorister mentioned to me, it's the 21st century scenario of the creepy guy at the bar who won't leave the ladies alone. It's mostly funny since there are so many romantic and pleading lines from the men, which the ladies don't reciprocate. I'm not sure what this says about me, personally, but it really is quite an entertaining piece. Rounding out the program is another Bach as well as a Tallis piece. Overall, I have to say that the repertoire load is quite manageable.
I also really enjoy how Bailey always takes time to describe the music and its cultural context. I like how it feels like I'm in a musiciology lecture but I am able to try out the techniques and experiment with the music immediately after he describes it. It's a nice holistic approach to learning music.
I am looking forward to the rest of the rehearsals this week and the Sunday, October 23, 2011 afternoon concert we're working towards. For more information on tickets check out this link.
Until next time, take care readers!
Dear Miss Sable,
Please note that the Sacred Concerto No. 9 by Vedel is not "the Russian piece." Vedel was a Ukrainian composer, as Maestro Bailey noted, trained in Italy and a favourite in the Russian Tsar's Imperial Court. The text of the Concerto, dedicated to the Apostle Andrew, is in Old Church Slavonic.
That said, I was delighted to read in your subsequent blog that you "totally felt Ukrainian" while singing it in concert!
Thanks for catching that oversight on my part Ksenia! Edits have been made :)
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