Friday, 17 June 2011

O Lovely Peace minus the continuo

Duets Galore !

We had an excellent 'duet' evening last night, and because of the Paradise Song School, we have an abundance of duets ! Ranging from the humorous 'We're a Couple of Swells' to a Handel oratorio moment, via Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Cock and Bull' duet from Yeoman of the Guard with a small diversion to the 'Wild Mountain Thyme'

Duet singing is such fun - half the responsibility and double the pleasure! The nerves seem to half as well, so very often the whole performance comes over as confident and secure. Matching voices is not nearly so important as matching vowel sounds, as all types of voice will blend if the technique on the part of both singers is in 'harmony'. With good vowels we get a unified sound, which is pleasing for both singer and listener.

Most of my duettists have sung together a number of times, so a bond is built up, and the assumption that 'it will be fine' is a foregone conclusion. Such was the success of last nights rehearsal!

My alto M, can dance as well ! What a woman! So not only is she fought over as a singing partner, but she can also pull less light footed singers along with her on the dance trail!

The Handel duet is 'O Lovely Peace', and an old standard in ensemble terms. It is one of those delightfully pastoral moments in his oratorio, in 6/8 time and full of melodic depictions of 'wavy corn'. The end has an adagio and unaccompanied section to bring it to a peaceful close, which M&P can sing beautifully in tune and with no lead from the accompaniment !

Sometimes I wish I could supply a fully fledged continuo, complete with harpsichord and cello so they could truly experience what an authentic Baroque performance feels like.

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