Bach B Minor - thoughts from our Making Music Representative
Most of you know Roy Carr, our local MM Rep., who often attends our rehearsals as part of his brief. He usually attends each concert and generally lets us have a letter of comment on our performance, written in his own inimitable style.
Time didn't permit me to read it to you on Tuesday and Andrew had largely picked up on many of the issues, so I thought I would send it to you now:
Dear Richard, Dear choir,
Thanks for the music on Saturday. What an experience to be at the first concert in the new Cathedral and for it to be yours where you produced some really loveley choral singing in all parts. But you were dealing with "The most stupendous miracle in all music". And this was Wagner speaking. On Saturday I told somebody it was Mendelssohn and I got it wrong.
Here I have to mention the biggest surprise some of us got during the evening. You started, of course, as Bach demands, without a chord and with me muttering “will it be the right chord? No surprise here but then came the real surprise: no K in Kyrie, no S in eleison. Unless we knew the words or had them in front of us, hardly any words after all that practice! As soon as there was chance I asked people round me if it was the same for them and it was. Once we were used to it we could enjoy the quality of sound. The balance between voices was first class and the band managed to hold themselves back so the balance with them was excellent. Trumpets always show off but they're not brought up properly.
Just the right speed for the alla breve at Gratias agimus and again at Cum Sancto Spiritu. Into Symbolum Nicenum and that severe fugue at Credo. Chorus after chorus with Bach delivering shock after shock until, at last, Sanctus probably most choral singers' favourite. You delivered a wall of sound -not what Phil Spector meant - but a sound with those mighty chords combined with those triplets that should have swept Andrew from his perch. You all looked up to produce the most exciting sound of the evening.
A few souls not managing to turn back for the second Osanna but something has to go aglay when you have such a long sing. Slight pressure on tempo from Andrew as ten o’clock approached and you finished at a minute to overtime.
Obviously there must be a way of delivering the full efforts of the choir to the audience. I look forward to hearing you again.
Best wishes to you all