Monday, 13 February 2012
The Blackbird's Song in two versions
The final week before I depart - I am much touched that many of my pupils are sad that they will not have lessons until May 7th after this week. It makes me feel needed!!
The rehearsal timetable for Patience is done for the next 5 sessions, and they have been given a good deal of learning, and much work to cover, I feel certain L and C will keep the whip poised for slackers!
I am masterclassing in Durham at the weekend, as my penance for staying halfway to the South with M ! So I will be assured of some fine singing, but more importantly I must remember to take some choral music she has been reminding me about, which she wants to do with her singers. One is an SSA song called 'The Blackbird's Song' by Percy Buck. A gloriously understated choral piece, and difficult to bring off due to the massive amount of close harmony singing at ppppp ! The poem is an allegory of Mary Magdelene waiting at Heaven's gate to be let it. She is sorry, sorry sorry, but all to no avail, until the blackbird pleads for her, and finally 'when he has sung himself to sleep, One came out, and Magdelene went in'.
The version E is singing is a solo song by Liza Lehman. It is quite tricky and covers a very wide range, but still has all the pathos of the SSA song. It is such a gorgeous song, full of key changes as the music becomes more melancholy, yet changes to such a tranquil final section for the entry into Heaven.
Poetry must be of vital import to a singer. If you cannot feel the words there is little chance of understanding the song. All my life I loved English 20th Century Art Song, and I always felt that so many singers and teachers simply never took it seriously, and thus did not give it the reverence it deserved.
Many thanks ladies of song (and the odd man!) who took me out for a celebratory dinner last saturday. It was in honour of exam successes, and it was a truly lovely evening! Lots of laughter, much too much great food, and grand companionship. Roll on the next lot of exams I say!