Fascinatin' Rhythm

July 15, 2010

Who can live without it?

Filed under: Chorus — Thurulingas @ 2:11 pm
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Tomorrow night, together with nearly 400 other singers and soloists, and 100 instrumentalists of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, I will be performing Mahler’s Symphony No.8 ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ at the Royal Albert Hall, launching the 2010 Proms Season

Never been a big fan of Mahler: I prefer my romanticism more tightly constructed, a la Brahms or Schumann.  But I have to say that the more I listen to this piece, the more I fall in love with it.  It is just such fun to sing, from the very first top e-flat to the final one.  And there are some stunning moments on the way.  The Gloria section is very exciting, in particular.  And the final chorus ‘Chorus mysticum’ is hugely atmospheric, and thrilling when finally unleashed at ‘Ewig, ewig’.

Do watch on TV and tell me if you saw me 😀  I’ll be on camera left of the organ, top row of the chorus.

And enjoy the concert!

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June 2, 2010

It’s hip to be square

Filed under: Chorus,Jitsu — Thurulingas @ 10:42 am
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Ow.  Last night’s session was fun, slightly intense grading prep for those wanting to grade.  I got up at the end to be an attacker, and managed to get kneed in the hip  a few times.  There’s a lovely bruise developing, and I kinda need to walk with a limp.  But I’m getting back into it, and enjoying myself without any demands being placed on me, which is where I want to be.

At the weekend we had our first rehearsal for Mahler 8 at the First Night of the Proms, which was turned into an open rehearsal where anyone could come along and join us.  We also sang a couple of new pieces that we may be recording later in the year — one by a member of the chorus, James Lavino, whom I found out studied at the Juillard School!  Great fun pieces, actually, very effective.  Hard to get an idea of musical style from one piece, but you definitely get a sense of a composer’s personality, even from just a short piece.

But the Mahler was the main event.  I’ve never sung it, or even heard it (that I can recall).  Fantastic piece, great opener for the Proms.  Another rehearsal tonight, just us.  Couple of friends went along and really enjoyed themselves.  Which is nice.

Ow, my hip!  Post title is the classic funk track by Huey Lewis and the News.

April 30, 2010

Volt egy öreg apó

Filed under: Chorus,Language — Thurulingas @ 11:03 am
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So, tonight’s BBC Symphony Chorus rehearsal is the last in this set of Bartok rehearsals.  Cantata Profana will be one of the Prom pieces we perform later this summer.  We did it a few years back at the Proms under David Robertson, and it will be good to do it with him again.  He has a great rapport with the chorus, and everyone loves his musical intelligence.

But, Bartok.  It’s a great piece, full of some lovely melodies and haunting sections.  But Hungarian is a bloody hard language to pronounce.  I remember last time we performed the piece never thinking I really got to grips with the palatal ‘gy’ sound.  Well I’m bloody going to get it this time, even if it turns my tongue inside out!  My reputation depends on it 😀

The title of this post is the first line of the piece, which translates to ‘Once there was an old man’.  Eastern European fairy-tales are quite dark, I’ve found.  Some of the myths and tales set by Bartok and composers like Kodaly and Sibelius are quite bloody.  This one has a great story, which reminds me somewhat of the Celtic legend of the Children of Lir, though without the evil stepmother element.

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