Monday, 6 April 2015

Song School Week 1 2015

I can't believe I am already on to the second week of Song School. It seems only a fleeting moment since I was 5000 miles away and hearing tinies singing Anna Marie, and now a week has flown by with some wonderful moments of a more grown up nature.

A week is a journey in everyday life, but a week at song school is a journey far more emotional. I love watching the changes in vocal technique and the changes in perception of songs as well as the cathartic value of the emotional content.

We swithered from Menotti to Haydn, via Bach and Mozart.......and that was only Monday ! A brave and lively 'With Verdure Clad' became a possibility and a reality after months of worrying, and 'Erbarme Dich' caused such a great stillness and admiration from the assembled singers. Menotti's sad and deranged character of Monica was beautifully portrayed with enough sadness to feel real sympathy for her, whilst a courageous Dove Sono made us all exhausted from the sheer work of the soprano, and the touching outcome.

Sometimes it only takes a short explanation of a character to turn a competent and musical performance into a truly moving and elevated moment. Just to know something of the 'back story' adds a new level of energy to the singers interpretation. That turns 'lovely' into 'magical'.

The ensemble day was brilliant, full of humour, wit, strength and power as well as a delightful moment when one of those our regulars, J, sang a duet with her elderly mother. It was touching as well as moving, especially to see how J who has a large voice, held back with real empathy, so her mother's slight and sweet tone could be heard and appreciated.

I loved many of the moments in the week, and there are too many to mention individually.......a gorgeous Cosi trio which was almost all in tune ( quite a feat by any standards!) and an interesting and lovely arrangement of The First Noel intertwined with the Pachabel Canon was a piece I snaffled for future use with my ladies ! A delicious performance of 'Ah Yes I remember it Well' was so softly drawn in pastel colours, and very funny and well timed duet version of 'The Owl and the Pussy Cat' which led beautifully into a very lovely performance of a French translation of same poem set to music composed by our resident baritone during the week. What a clever chap !

A most tear drawing performance of Bob Chilcot's Irish Blessing brought the week to a satisfying and complete end. I apologise if I have left anyone out.......but I'm writing this after Day 1 of Week 2, so my brain is thinking about what I heard today and the neurons are firing at a slightly slower rate ! As things return to me I will elaborate.

What matters is that is was one of the most memorable weeks since the courses began 7 years ago. And so to bed !


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