Wednesday, 21 August 2013


(...or an off-facebook rant about the hypocrisy of the singing world.  Or, to be fairer to the mostly non-hypocritical singing world, a rant for the hypocritical singing circumstances under which I currently struggle.  Or something along those lines.)

I'm intrigued.  Did you really want to use twenty top-class singers in this way?

No, really, where on earth did you get the idea of bringing together twenty excellent singers from all over Europe, then barely ever let them sing over a mezzo-piano?  In fact in the whole of the two programmes (which include bombastic gems like Vivaldi's Gloria and Tavener's Svyati) you only let us sing forte twice.  TWICE. 

Silver-lining: I have finally found my falsetto register, something I never had as a soprano.  It's a shame that it may not last the week, though.  I am preparing a black armband as I type, and a short eulogy to the effects of new life lost too soon to the hypocrisies of the singing world.  Or something along those lines.
I understand, I do, that as a whole we make an extraordinary pianissimo.  So many people making such a tiny sound.  I hear it, (just, over my heart pounding with the strain of making long, l o n g  phrases with an extraordinary pianissimo) but hell's teeth, man, you're slaying our chords with quietness.  Too much of a good thing, and all that.

It appears that you want a single-voice sound from many people, but I wonder if you've ever thought how easy that would be, say, with one to a part?  Not that I like pointing out the obvious, but, really...
Now,  please don't get me wrong, it's actually rather exhilarating to be part of such mammoth quiet, but not, and may I be crystal clear here, not ALL THE TIME. 

Silver-lining: I'm not the only one who feels this, and have been surprised, yet at the same time not surprised, to hear from most of the female singers that this will be their last project.  They, too, are concerned about the damage constant pianissimo does to their voices.  I thought that perhaps my last (first) project with this ensemble was an anomaly (who really asks their singers to make such teeny-tiny noises for Mozart's Requiem or Mass in c minor) but it appears to be his 'thing', his calling-card, and party-piece all rolled into one.   I guess this also explains why so many of the old alto and soprano sections aren't taking part this time around...

Wait, I'm getting confused, that's schadenfreude, not a silver-lining.  Or something along those lines.

And don't forget that we haven't had our first rehearsal with the orchestra yet... after which I suspect all that time making pseudo-singing noises might just have been wasted.   Although, to be honest, he'll probably just make them play pianissimo, too.

Then we get to those singers who have stayed...  Yes, some of them have voices of amazing beauty, but... some of them don't.   And of the latter it appears, to me at least, that you don't want to scare them off...  The loud alto who constantly sings flat when she pushes her voice, (I forgot the cantus firmus in one of the contemporary pieces: loud and louder all the way through, although the rest are pianissimo-ing their way to the end) at which the rest of us try to tune up then get a mouthful for not being together, pitch-wise, with the louder lass.  And do you *really* like the way she back-chats you and tells everyone what they're doing wrong, or are you suffering in silence?  A bit like us...  And the tenor with the constant vibrato.  Baroque, classical,  or contemporary, it's there distorting harmony and, if nothing else, my sanity.  Yet for these, and other mistreatments of music, you say nothing, yet demand of the rest of us complete and utter homogeny of sound.  Which is effing hard when you've got a flat alto, a wobbly tenor, and other small but annoying anomolies of the perfect sound you want.  

Silver-lining: I should be able to pay my rent.  I suspect that statement makes me somewhat hypocritical, too. 

Or something along those lines.


Fr.o.ukje Thursday, 22 August 2013 at 05:54:00 BST  

Two thoughts: "ooohhhhh choir intrige!" And "poor you, singing with a slayer of chords". Hugs and pastilles for you,. I've been there in a semi-pro ensemble, where all the conductor wanted was pianissimo entries on a high a and basically anything straight and soft. I'd wrecked my voice by concert time... Just concentrate on all the pretty doors this week!

Mair Bloag Weejits

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