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Notes on the concert tonight…

June 8, 2008
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What an exciting concert! Not only was the music beautiful, mother nature treated us to a bit of a show…There were serious thunderstorms in the area tonight…I saw some clouds out the window as we were assembling to go sing the concert…Well…the storm hit and the lights blinked a lot…and went out TWICE! The first time during the Libera me…(of all times! It is a particularly challenging movement) That was only a few seconds…the power went down in stages, and we had enough light to continue. Then the lights went completely out…. and we kept going. Thankfully the darkness was brief. We recovered…mad scramble..where were we? A little disorienting.

The second time was after a solo. Very dramatic…at the very instant of the end of the section, there was a loud boom ….and ALL the lights went out at once! They stayed out too! For a few minutes. No one moved…I’m thinking, man, I really want to sing the rest of this…when I say that no one moved, I mean it…the audience was quiet, all of us on stage were quiet…NO ONE MOVED OR TALKED…Stan, our conductor maintained position facing us…We were in pause…for a long time…Finally, the lights came up and we were able to continue into the In Paradisum section…angelic music…a color wash, and the final amen…Very solemn and quiet… It was impossible for me to tell if the boom was timpani or a possible lightening strike. (I’ve listened to the recording…must have been lightening…I don’t hear anything like it on the recording)  I don’t have a full score, or even the full vocal score…just the adult chorus score….It was so perfectly timed…eerie.

All of the music was restless. Full of tritones (which I happen to love) A tritone is an augmented 4th or diminished 5th interval. (think the opening of “Maria” from West Side Story) Tritones are known as the devil in music and were banned from church music during the middle ages. Britten, a pacifist, uses this interval a lot to provoke unease and challenge the comfort of religion and the determination of countries to go to war. the juxtaposition of the parts of the latin mass with a military sounding rhythm and the poetry or Owens and the two soldiers who meet after death….this is truly a masterpiece.

I wonder if we will be reviewed.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Martha permalink
    June 9, 2008 9:22 am

    We were there. The blinking lights, the dark silence and everyone’s patience and earnest desire for the requiem to continue were palpable. The music, the words and the storm created a very moving evening. It makes me want to learn more Latin. It points to the power of music and words and the reality that you miss in listening to a recording.

    Thanks for posting the concert on the blog, Liz.

  2. June 9, 2008 11:30 am

    Martha – I’m so glad that you and George and Anna Marie were able to be there to witness such a powerful concert! Nothing compares to the live performance…there was so much drama in this one!

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