“That I am in the right place at present there is no doubt about, as I have found something interesting to work at, in my own field, and time and place and material in which to do it.”
I know that feeling…on Palm Sunday, March 24, I conducted The St. Saviour’s Festival Choir and instrumentalists in a performance of Bob Chilcott’s new Requiem. Premiered in 2010 it is quickly growing in popularity among both choirs and audiences throughout the
US and England for good reason. The work is a requiem of peace and hope and
it is comforting, inspiring and uplifting.
The harmony is often modern, but not jarring, and the Sanctus made me feel like dancing on a Caribbean beach.
This work was a challenge for my choir and the few ringers, mostly because it was brand new to everyone. Two weeks before the performance, to my horror, they acted like they’d never seen the music before. I lay awake for hours that night trying to figure out how to solve the problems. I must have because it came together beautifully.
The exquisite and unusual instrumentation calls for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, timpani and organ. The organ is the foundation, the timpani provides drama, and the winds add color. The 24 singers balanced perfectly against the accompaniment in the beautiful setting of St. Saviour’s.
But this is why I know that feeling…standing in front of the performers and a full house I was able to bring the score to life, to convey the meaning of the music from my heart to the hearts of the choir and instrumentalists and on to those in the audience. The music spoke to us; we were moved. It was a deeply profound experience, and I am grateful.