Saturday, February 18, 2012

Heart Meditations

On the way to Camrose

Greetings readers,

It's been a busy week of Pro Coroness since we had a concert on Sunday and another on Wednesday evening where we went out to Camrose to sing at the Augstana Campus. It was a unique set of concerts since we were premiering a work by David Mott entitled, "Heart Meditations," under the direction of Erik Westberg. You may have read in my previous post that I was really struggling to understand the work during the rehearsal process. It was a challenging piece to rehearse and to sing. 

It was more than just the fact that it was a contemporary and atonal piece--- ultimately, I didn't understand the piece. I felt like I had periods of disconnect during my performance on Sunday afternoon; however, the Wednesday evening performance was much more effective in a darkened & intimate concert setting. To best honest though, as a solid 90 minute work, with no intermission, my hands going numb from hanging at my sides, my knees stiffening by verse 23/49, and my superior pharyngeal constrictor fatiguing from keeping a high palate and singing with continuous straight tone... it wasn't the most comfortable physical circumstances to be in. Actually, I'm not convinced it was a piece designed with singing comfort in mind. I applaud the audience for their auditory stamina. Don't get me wrong, there are absolutely gorgeous musical segments in the piece. There are glorious chords in which I wish I could acoustically swim in them and a hypnotic chanting portion done by the tenors and basses at a midpoint in the piece. There were also absolutely stunning bartione saxophone solos by Mott in between the verses. Frankly, I would have happily listened to Mott play for a longer period of time in order to have a physical rest break.

As well, working with Erik Westberg was also quite an experience. He is absolutely lovely. He expresses himself with quirky English phrases which, I think, is a result of him mentally translating Swedish to English in his mind. His cue for pure sound was "sound like virgins." Awesome. He is extremely 3-dimensional as a conductor. He takes up his entire space, there are some moments where his gestures looks like he is dancing and stepping into the sound with his hands and feet as we're producing it. It's quite cool to watch. I also like his lip smacking sounds as if he is kissing the beauty of the sound we're creating. It was a pleasure to watch him interact with the music, bask in the sound, and show his appreciation.

Overall, it was quite the experience premiering Mott's work. I enjoyed having the opportunity to head out to sing at the Augustana campus and meet some of the music students there. They were full of excitement and passion. By no means do I consider myself an unenthused chorister, but my energy was no parallel to those buzzing to show us to our green room. I kind of felt like the cool kid, or chorister, I should say, on the block. I think I'll blog on this in another post :)

Until next time readers, take care!

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