Thursday, 20 March 2014

Faure's Requiem and a momentous feat of learning !

The Faure Requiem went very well. There was a choir of around 70 voices most of which were sopranos or trebles, but a goodly bunch of willing lady altos, two tenors and two basses ! Now that's what I call out numbered !

The Bass soloist, Alto soloist ( who bravely sang all the tenor solos in the whole work) and the soprano soloist were very staunch. Like the amiable and eminently versatile people they are, they sang all the choral lines as well as their own, which helped the parts immensely.

It is such an adult work for youngsters and yet, with some laughs and some promise of Mars Bars, the children threw themselves into it whole heartedly and learnt quickly. Some of said choristers were only 8 or 9 years old, and never misbehaved or got seriously bored !

I am used to teaching youngsters and, I think that (modestly) I am quite good at pitching it about right ! They knew when I wanted concentration and they also knew I would let them go and run around after 40 mins of hard work. And hard work it was ! To learn a whole work which normally takes 45 minutes in around two and a half hours is a big ask for any age, but to a choir with a heavy preponderance of under 12's it was a huge feat.

I had made two judicious cuts, music which was just too complex and too much wordy Latin, went out the marquee flapping doors, and so we concentrated on what was manageable. I have a mantra when teaching tricky text stuff to all ages and the youngsters in Surrey got the same message drilled into them......


It worked very well, and I watched even the littlest ones enjoying the big tunes, mouths wide open just making a joyous noise. Not perhaps perfection in the choral world, but they were having a good time, so I for one am delighted with that.

The performance in the evening went so well, they sat and stood beautifully, everyone concentrated for all they were worth, including me, and they gave a performance to really be proud of. They are beautifully trained by a charismatic and inspiring Head of Performing Arts, and I just picked up his threads and flew with it. This is the key of course, and they are lucky children indeed to have such a teacher.

Hard work, somewhat stressful but ultimately so very worthwhile ! Well done to all of you - well done indeed.

Faure was a Frenchman who lived a rather normal life for a composer, he was largely happy and a bit of a lady's man from all accounts. This, of all photos of him shows Gabriel and his wife Marie, awaiting the birth of one of their two sons, and clearly in relaxed mood. Makes a change, when one finds out the doom and gloom lives of so many composers.............



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