Well, all good things must come to an end, and by 5pm this evening we were all done, both weeks finished, some gorgeous music, many tears, many laughs and a bucket load of fine singing!
The last day of the week is a free for all day. The singers can sing whatever they wish, there are no categories, no stipulations and anything goes. It is always interesting to see what folk choose, and so we had such a catholic mix of styles and genre.
The day began with a second Purcell Evening Hymn sung quite differently from last week's version. E made such a super job of the two different sections, text followed by repeated Alleluias. It is a marvellous piece, and I have vivid memories of hearing Dame Janet Baker sing it in recital.......many years ago in Darlington !
We moved through more oratorio when L sang a majestic Lord God of Abraham from Mendelssohn's Elijah. This may be one of his choices for music college auditions, so must be taken apart with a fine tooth comb, then put back together again. He sang very well indeed with much maturity, now it simply needs a few musical nuts and bolts put in place and it will will be even more telling.
J sang a great light opera aria with chorus backing for which we blocked moves which were so funny, the marching and decidedly female hussars behind her could barely salute without collapsing into a giggling heap! It will make a fantastic concert item, and as boss in charge I opted to pinch a copy and we will use it at an Inner Sound concert!
There was a beautifully Baroque, and stylised performance of the William Boyce, 'On a Bank a beside a Willow'. With her ballet background, L understands perfectly the physical shape of a song and can make a glorious sound, and combine it with a glorious picture.
There were two lovely Art Songs which I did not know! Mostly the repertoire is known to myself and the pianist E, but today I learnt two completely new pieces, a John Clements song and a setting of A Green Cornfield by Montague Philips. Both were equally delightful, and sung with a feeling of culmination. A sense of pulling together things we had worked on through the progress of the week. That is always so very satisfying.
There was a most moving Angels Ever Bright and Fair from Handel's Theodora. K gave it an ethereal feel, and such a wondrous sense of being already in Heaven, it produced many tears around the room. She had not really thought of the aria as being anything other than a pleading aria, when in fact I have always seen it as though death has been overcome, and she now is already in paradise, and feels no pain.
It has been a fine fortnight, the Song School is so fulfilling for many reasons both musical and personal. Many of the singers talk about being an all absorbing bubble of music. Safe and supportive people, and so risks can be taken.
Thank you everyone.