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Sunday [Jun. 28th, 2009|07:24 pm]
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[Current Mood |awake]

Today I sang both services, Britten's "Jubilate Deo."   I may hate it slightly less than I used to, but compared to the Mozart one we sang earlier this year, it's much less fun to sing and (in my very-biased-against-Britten-opinion) doesn't deserve to sit on the same shelf.  Nonetheless, it was an accident that I messed up one entrance (it was Britten's fault, because he made that entrance fiendishly difficult to get right.)    The "Jubilate Deo" is not as downright ugly as, for instance, the "Festival Te Deum," nor does it hurt the throat as much to sing, I'll give the man that.  I don't know which he wrote earlier, but I think he should've listened to a lot more Mozart and a lot less Stravinsky (or whoever influencd him.)   OTOH, David made it as fun for us as he could, including a hilarious interpretation of a part he described as "a bunch of people very happy to be going into the Temple and singing about it, but they don't all remember the melody the same way..." 

We had only two altos at the first service--in fact, it was practically a chamber choir--and only three altos at the second, when there were five or so sopranos.  This made the alto failure to make that difficult entrance particularly noticeable, to us anyway.   We had only three at the second service--and S-, who is usually an impeccable reader and steady as bedrock, had the same trouble with the difficult entrance I did.  So it's definitely Britten's fault, because S- does not make mistakes.  David pushed, shoved, and otherwise forced us through it a half dozen times in rehearsal, until we pretty much had it (it was easier when he gave us The Glare at the appropriate moment) but we nearly lost it in the service anyway.   He does not think any of us should require extra cueing, and he's right (he's always right; he's the director) but there are times...

My reward, so to speak, for suffering through the Britten (which we did quite well in the second service) was being the page-turner for our organist for the postlude.  Vivaldi.  There are two basic sweet spots for listening to the organ in that church (which, thanks to decisions of earlier renovators, has not-great acoustics) and one of them is beside the organ console.   So not only did I get to watch our organist dance wonderfully over the keys, but I was in a good spot to hear it as well.   Aside from my permanent panic about turning pages *wrong* (two at once, too soon, too late, too wobbly, not catching the page that wants to flop back...)  it's enjoyable, although I wish I didn't have to stand up there mostly visible as I lean out to make the turns.  Still, Austin playing Vivaldi, yum.

For those someplace where it isn't, it's hot here.  It's been hot here.  It's going to be hot here.   Three or four days this past week set new records (replacing the ones set last year.)    The bank sign and one of our thermometers agreed on 109F today.  It's also dry here (fire danger high, red flag warning) but the last I saw the county commissioners in this county hadn't inssued a burn ban (though we're surrounded by counties that have.  Plants are dying all over the yard, and the water restrictions mean we can't water them enough to keep them all alive.  Our efforts now are on the foundation (if the soil shrinks too much, the house cracks and so may the pipe lines  and selected trees. 



[User Picture]From: gauroth
2009-06-29 02:33 am (UTC)
I am so glad to come across a singer (and an alto! Yay!) who is Not Keen on Britten. His music just doesn't appeal, whether I'm listening or trying to sing. A composer who is writing for a choir and who doesn't give the singers any support (eg one's note in the bars before one has to come in) just isn't doing his job properly. Let's not talk about the weird intervals one is supposed to sing.

Actually, I'll excuse hime for 'A Ceremony of Carols' which I do like: but that almost makes it worse. See, he _can_ write music that's singable - why can't he do that more often????? He might have looked at, f'r instance, Vivaldi...

I wish I could send you some rain from the UK. Yesterday we had a four-hour downpour. The frog that lives under our hedge appreciated it, but nobody else did. I do hope your weather is better this year.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-06-29 03:48 am (UTC)
Thanks for the rain offer...wish you could send it but I understand the shipping charges are outrageous.

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[User Picture]From: green_knight
2009-06-29 11:46 am (UTC)
You're obviously not keeping up with the news - we're being predicted our own heatwave, so if you give that rain away, people will be very angry with you. And have you never heard of hosepipe bans?

Sigh. I'm finally not freezing, and people are moaning about not having air conditioning. (If they are in all-glass office buildings with windows that don't open, they might have a point)

I'm not a singer, but I've played some arrangements of Britten and disliked him, and I tend not to listen if I can avoid it.
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[User Picture]From: lingster1
2009-06-29 07:21 pm (UTC)
Have to agree with you about Britten! We read through a lot of his music when I was at Bishop Otter, but none of it appealed -- other than "Festival Of Carols."
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-06-29 07:40 pm (UTC)
I'm certainly hearing from other singers who don't much like his work. "Festival of Carols" usually gets a bye.

He wasn't a singer-friendly composer, in the sense of considering singers' throats (let alone minds...) We did his "Saint Nicholas" a few years ago...not enjoyable, let's say.

I think David likes Britten in part because it's difficult--and having a choir that can sing it at anything like a competent level is proof of one's ability to create that kind of choir. And it is a choir-trainer...any music can be, but Britten seems designed to ferret out every weak spot and highlight it.

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