Today we had somewhere in the high 70s to low 80s attending, I think. (6 rows of 14 chairs, a few empties, not many.) Proving David's ability to prep a choir in disparate chunks: after a short warmup, we launched into the first movement, and every single final "t" in "Magnificat" snapped out in perfect cadence. Yeah. Together, we sounded as crisp as the smaller Thursday night contingent (the last one I'd attended.)
And the sound is...awesome. I got goosebumps a couple of times. Add the trumpets and kettledrums and I'll probably have goosebumps every time we launch into a fast movement.
When Peter took over, he told us he wanted the opening movement 20% faster. Um...that's quite a bit faster, folks, and we were already faster than one of my two CDs of it (the slower, German one.) We are now up to his speed. He's not faster on everything--in fact, a couple of movements are a little slower than we've rehearsed. But the "Magnificat" is going to knock the audience back in their seats--that opening sequence, with the twiddly bits, is really tricky to sing at that speed, but we've got it. And it doesn't slow down (Peter yanked our chain a few times about that. ) They get a breather with a soloist, but I'll bet they're paying attention. (Of course they've had the orchestral intro by then.
Peter's an excellent conductor, very crisp and clear about what he wants, both in his explanations, when he's talking, and in his gestures. And we could tell he was happy with us, happy with David's prep. We sang through every movement, sometimes parts of one five or six times, until he had made the adjustments he wanted, and then finished up with two more iterations of the opening movement at speed (David suggested that, to give us confidence at that speed.) We finished his part of the rehearsal in under 1.5 hours, which I thought remarkable. My voice feels it (which probably means I'm doing something wrong, in terms of voice production) but really--it's difficult music, fast and intricate in places, and loud in many places.