The past two rehearsals (or three--my brain is going) he's had pairs of sections sing together so the rest of us could hear the texture of other parts...I'd never heard some of it that clearly (some had gone right over me in a wave of sound) and it's gorgeous. Handel was indeed a genius.
For those familiar with the music--who have a score around the house somewhere--take a look at number 35, "Let All the Angels of God Worship Him". First measure: marcato on the second two notes, at forte. Second measure starts with a sforzando on the first beat, followed by an immmediate "reverse" sforzando (start pianissimo and crescendo to mezzo forte on the third beat and forte on first beat of fourth measure. Now imagine that. A mix of sudden and smooth longer changes in volume...
Every note long enough is to have its own shaping up and down...crescendos and decrescendos for phrases are rarely symmetrical (usually long cresc. and quicker decresc.) Like all choir directors, David's fierce on vowels...but fiercer than anyone else I've ever sung with. Nobody's less than perfect vowel gets past him. As for the tenor who sssssed today...well.
And the trills. Dear heaven the trills. They're not in the score--he added them to three of the choruses. (I would accuse him of making us sing them in the French Baroque stuff we did last spring, except that was the other director who so much wanted to do Campra and Desmarest...but we did learn, and David figures anything we learn should be practiced. Again, for those who know the music...imagine the effect of trills in the mocking of "He Trusted in God, Let Him Deliver Him." It emphasizes the mocking. Shivery. Totally different effect in "Let All the Angels of God Worship Him."
Tomorrow night's the first orchestra rehearsal. Tuesday's the performance.