Sunday, November 2, 2008

3. Requiem

Last Sunday afternoon, October 26, my choir performed John Rutter’s Requiem. We did the small ensemble version, with flute, oboe, ‘cello, harp, timpani and organ, and had 21 singers. The performance was beautiful and heartfelt…not perfect, of course…we made it successfully thru the chaotic introduction but dragged at times in Out of the Deep. The Sanctus was exciting and the ending of Lux aeterna full of hope and peace. I could tell that many in the audience were moved by the music.

I am not sure why I tackled this ambitious project as it made much extra work for me. But I knew the choir would ultimately love the piece as I do and would become a better ensemble for having worked on it. We had four “guest” singers who filled out our sound and indeed at times that sound was glorious.

Although I often dreaded the intense score study necessary and the drudgery of going over voice parts yet again, I began to relish the intimacy with which I came to know the music. And the feeling of standing on the podium, baton in hand, all eyes on me, is powerful. I love leading others to communicate a piece of music, to opening their souls to its meaning.

This experience of all our rehearsals and the performance last week has once again made me aware of the unifying force of music. My choir consists of rabid Republicans and Democrats, well-to-do and struggling, young and old. Yet here we were, together, making music. In this time of daily disastrous financial and world news, working on the Requiem soothed our souls and helped us focus on the spiritual. And I believe that we gave that same gift to our community.

Thank you, John Rutter, for Requiem…and thank you, choir and orchestra, for your beautiful, expressive performance of this music.

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