Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bach Cantata Choir concert from the singer's perspective

I had a lot of fun singing in the Bach Cantata Choir concert on Sunday afternoon (February 7th). It was the choir's annual Super Bach Sunday concert, and over 400 people came to hear us sing a variety of works instead of hunkering on the couch with a bowl of chips in preparation for the Super Bowl. The choir sang works by Johannes Ockeghem, Jacob Clemens, Claudio Monteverdi, J.S. Bach, and the first performance in the United States of Johann Schelle's cantata "Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele" ("Praise the Lord, my soul"). The Schelle piece came at the end of the program and was the biggest hit of the concert. The instrumental ensemble and the choir created beautiful swells of sound, and the audience actually sprang from their collective seats at Rose City Presbyterian Church, rewarding us with a standing ovation.

I had a brief solo in the Monteverdi piece ("Ave Maris Stella" from his “Vespers of 1610”) and a moment of panic as well, because I had to move from my position in the choir to a place that was closer to the conductor, Ralph Nelson. When I moved, I to close my folder to get between some of my colleagues, and, after getting into place, I opened my folder and found myself looking at the wrong piece of music. Gads! After some furious turning of pages - fortunatley while the instrumental ensemble was playing a passage that required no singing from anyone in the chorus - I found where I was supposed to be, and my solo went off without a glitch. I guess it all added a bit of drama to the piece, because some people in the audience (like my wife Kathy) were wondering if I'd get it all figured out in time! That's part of the beauty of a live performance. You really don't know what's going to happen!


After the concert, I rushed off to the Anton Kuerti's piano recital at the Newmark Theatre. My reviews of that concert as well as of Portland Opera's Cosi fan tutte and the Oregon Symphony concert with Karen Gomyo and Pietari Inkinen are posted in Oregon Music News.

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