Monday, February 16, 2009

Victoria's Requiem

Yesterday, Marianne and I went to hear Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem at the Kimmel Center.  Quite a glorious piece of music.  The dean of Philadelphia science fiction, Tom Purdom (above, looking noble over a bowl of soup), organized a party of eleven to meet afterwards for dinner and discussion.

One reason we went to the Requiem was that our friend, writer Victoria McManus is a member of the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, so she was singing in the piece.  Afterwards, she told me a great deal of technical information about the performance . . . that sections of it she was used to singing very fast had been slowed down and consequently that extra breaths had been inserted into the score, that because the theater had no shell they had to sing louder than usual, and so on . . . the most interesting of which was that because she was singing she couldn't hear how the performance actually sounded!  The chamber orchestra was in front of them, so they couldn't hear it properly, the people to either end of the chorus were so placed that they sounded as if they were coming in late, and consequently the singers simply had to trust that conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn and Matthew Glandorf, artistic director for the Choral Arts Society, knew what they were doing.  It wasn't until the end, when they audience applauded, that they knew whether they'd sounded good or not.

Not to worry, Vickie.  You guys sounded great.


No comments: