Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Choral Haze of Good Friday

Greetings readers,

Do you know those moments when you just phase out of reality because all you can see and feel is that immediate moment in time? Well, that was what the entire Pro Coro Good Friday performance felt like to me last night. All sense of linear time was lost and the whole experience was just a haze of music-making that settled over the entire performance.

The first part of the program featured works by Caldara, Bruckner, Enns, Nystedt and Scarlatti, which were sung with the University of Alberta Madrigal Singers. Nystedt's "O Crux" and Enns' "Litany" created some memorable moments of the evening as well. "O Crux" had this shimmering dissonance that has the power to burrow itself into the core of each singer as well as the audience. Enns' "Litany" begins with the words "Drop, drop, drop, slow tears and bathe those feet," which is mirrored in the slow, descending thirds in the voice parts to mimic the dripping tears---gorgeous writing. The Scarlatti "Stabat Mater" moved with an exciting and flexible pace.

Following some solo work by Abra, in Esenvalds "Amazing Grace," it was onto the other showcase piece of the evening: Esenvalds' "Passion & Resurrection." One of my favorite parts was listening to the quartet, which Dr. Ratzlaff decided to place in the second balcony box seats. The singers sang with beautiful vocal balance on their perch. I loved seeing everybody's faces in the audience look upwards, towards the angelic entities, singing above us all. Jolaine's solo work in this piece was sung with sensitivity and an ear humming pureness that permeated throughout the hall. During rehearsals, I would often become mesmerized by her sound and would forget to come in on my entries. Distracted choral singing - it happens.

If the enthusiastic post-concert buzz back-stage was any indicator of audience reception of the concert, I think that it's safe to conclude that it was a success. While the Good Friday concert does, in a way, signal the end of the season. I feel like things are only just beginning since Pro Coro still has another concert out in Morinville next weekend, plus, auditions are beginning for Pro Coro's next season at the end of this month with new Artistic Director, Michael Zaugg. Meanwhile, I'm juggling some other musical and blogging commitments in these next few weeks. It is safe to say that I will have ample inspiration for future posts.

Until next time readers, take care!

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