I just got back from the Mastering session with Troy Sales. Brought the dynamic up, noise floor down, added a little reverb, attenuated some unwanted sounds (like a falling drumstick) and faded the heads and tails. This is one of the most rewarding parts of working with a recording, putting on that last little bit of polish.
Here it is! Another huge “I love you” to Concert Choir and Rosalind Hall for this magnificent performance. It’s so thrilling to hear them sing this so beautifully from their hearts. I could listen to them all day (oh wait, I’ve already done that).
Tonight is our Combined Concert with guest conductor Dr. Philip Copeland. He’s quite the gentleman: well-spoken, kind, and assertive about what he wants in a performance. I love it when people step up to the plate in potentially intimidating situations. He’s going to do a great job.
Tonight is also the premiere of “In Paradisum” which still feels very unreal to me. I’m super excited to hear it in a better space than our rehearsal hall. BYU Singers is starting the concert and right after we’re done, Concert Choir takes the stage and starts with my piece.
Concert Choir has been singing it so beautiful, it’s unbelievable. It’s always a thrill to hear a piece brought to life for the first time. Listening to it in MIDI mock-ups doesn’t even hold a candle to hearing it sung by such a choice choir. When I first heard them sing it I can’t even begin to describe how I felt. I think I started shaking because it was so good. I feel so blessed that they would take my little piece and put it so much time to learn it, memorize and polish it for performance.
If you can still get tickets, you should come! Tonight, Harris Fine Art Center, 7:30!
I had the opportunity to hear Concert Choir run through my piece today. I’m very excited with how it’s going, they sound fantastic! I decided to record a sample of it to post as a little sneak peek here. It was done on my iPhone, so sound isn’t the best. Tell me what you think. Enjoy!
We’re getting ready to sing at ACDA in Chicago next month. We’re working super hard on all our material. Dr. Staheli has picked some very hard music for us. Even the so called “easy music” has great challenges. We don’t want to present some half-baked program. We’ve been working hard on this music since September. Above is our impromptu performance of “There is Sweet Music Here” by EJ White. Beautifully crafted and organic, but very difficult. It’s what we call “naked music” because it shows every wart and flaw in our singing. There’s no place to hide.
Yesterday, we had a great rehearsal. We started to smooth out some ladies parts in “i will wade out” and then picked up “Hosanna to the Son of David” by Thomas Weelkes. It’s short but it’s hard. This was the most thrilling part because we learned the whole thing and ran through it twice from beginning to end. Wow! So thrilling to be able to do this. Now, granted, our Alto had this piece memorized already and I’ve learned quite a bit already, but to have all six of us really getting this thing down was just awesome.
We’ve still got quite a bit to learn and polish before we start performing, but it’s coming along soooooooooooo well! Yay! Now, here’s a video of “Hosanna to the Son of David” performed masterfully by the BYU Singers:
After a lot of procrastinating and delay I finally purchased a copy of Figure Humaine, the choral works of Poulenc by Tenebrae. When I was in London studying English choral music I took the opportunity to attend one of Tenebrae’s rehearsal at St. Bartholomew’s Church. They were rehearsing the Vespers/All-night vigil by Rachmaninov. I was floored by their interpretation of movement ten “Having Beheld the Resurrection.” It’s a particularly difficult movement that never seems to stay in tune, but in rehearsal they executed it with great sensitivity, power and precision.
During our trip there I heard about this new recording of Poulenc’s choral music that was hot off the presses. Dr. Staheli happened to be present at a few of their recording sessions and raved about how wonderful they were. I was determined to get a hold of this recording. After much delay, it arrived today.
It’s got some works on here that I’ve never heard of, only heard excerpts of, and one work that I’ve performed. The latter which I performed is Un soir de neige (A night of snow), I can tell you from experience that that work is extremely difficult to learn and perform. It’s not the most difficult piece I’ve encountered but it’s an all out challenge. One of the most difficult parts is getting used to such a different tonality, it’s nothing like I’ve ever heard. Bits of tonality, modality and atonality all in one compact work. I really grew to love that work and all it’s harsh and biting dissonance that sets up such bleak picture of the cruel winter.
Listening to the work, my first impression is that it’s recorded extremely well. Everything is in it’s proper place. The choir is in a great space with just the right distance between the microphones and the choir. They’re going against what other choral recordings are doing right now which is to put the microphones much too close, the sound becomes too intimate and aspirate.
The singing is top notch. Well tuned, precise and powerful. This music becomes a joy to listen to, which on its own can be a real challenge. This isn’t really meant to be heard in the background of other work. It’s demands your rapt attention, and Tenebrae’s singing matches every step of the way. This is a dark recording done so exquisitely. The subject matter can be moody, depressing and in some ways expresses no redemption; It’s definitely not for every mood, but when you’re in the mood, it’s just the thing to hit the spot.
Yes there are a few things that I might prefer otherwise but they’re a matter of preference, I’m hard pressed to find errors. If you want to become more acquainted with Poulenc’s choral music in a nearly flawless light, this is the recording.