We’re doing the Messiah this week with the chorus. I guess it’s early because they’ve got too many other concerts going on in December. Plus, they could be figuring they’ll take advantage of the Thanksgiving family time.

I love doing the Messiah (see here and here and here for stories). It’s always a joy to sing. And even though this is the fourth time I’ve done it with the SFSC, I still enjoy it. It helps that we drop right into it, and go. For us returning choristers, it’s two rehearsals with our conductor, one with the guest conductor, one with the orchestra, and then it’s performance time. Boom. There’s always an adjustment period as we catch the nuances of how the guest conductor wants to take certain parts, but we follow and go with him. And there’s always something to work on individually – I did the fast runs better tonight than I’ve ever done them, but I’m still working on the control of my voice between different registers as we shift tones in the various choruses.

Anyway, just got back from the first performance of this set of Messiahs. It went really well. Our conductor Vance George said we sounded the best of any of the Messiahs that the SFSC has done with him. I thought he might have been exuberantly exaggerating, but as we were walking back to the parking lot, one of the violists said the same thing – in fact, he said this might have been the best Messiah he’s been part of. Whoa.

Harry Christophers is the conductor this time around. He’s best known for conducting The Sixteen, a classical a cappella group. As a choral guy, he’s got a real sense of the effect he wants and how to get it. And he knows his baroque music, which the orchestra appreciates. So it all fits together and speeds right along.

The soloists are also fabulous. The soprano Carolyn Sampson in particular deserves praise. When Christophers started the Rejoice aria at a fast tempo, another bass and I looked at each other with looks of dismay as we thought “The soprano is doomed!” (the Rejoice aria has loads of really difficult runs of sixteenth notes). Instead she just tossed off the runs effortlessly, almost mockingly, or cheekily, as two basses described it at intermission. It was a sight to behold.

Tickets still available for Friday and Saturday (Sunday’s looking sold out) if you’re local and interested.

As long as I’m pimping the chorus, the other performances I’m in this year are Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex in two weeks, the Mozart Coronation Mass in March, Mahler 8 and Verdi Requiem next June.

Oh, and as usual, been too busy to post. Successfully finished off the two projects at work today, shipping CDs out to two major clients before Thanksgiving, as promised. And then rehearsing for the Messiah this week. Several ideas to post about – I’m reading a fabulous book called Mediated, by Thomas De Zengotita, which makes me want to write a blog post at least once a chapter. Two posts I definitely want to write are on how the secret of popular middle school girls is the construction of a Wittgensteinian language game, and why his explanation for the replacement of heroes with celebrity is related to horoscopes and Tarot cards. Maybe this weekend.

One thought on “Messiah!

  1. the concert sounds lovely, but i don’t think i can make it this weekend. also, i’d love to borrow some of these books that you keep posting about, sometime. 🙂

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