Thursday, 22 October 2015

Messiah, Mozart and all styles besides !

What a whizz through many genres of vocal music ! Today it was another strangely timetabled day due to the half term holidays for the youngsters, so my combination of pupils was widely diverse !

E is due very soon, in a month or so, to sing the tenor solo in Handel's Messiah so we danced through the most tricky of the tenor music and difficult opener to the whole work, 'Comfort Ye' and ' Every Valley'. A relatively new tenor voice, E is not ye steeped in the male solos of the work, so it has taken much work for him to conquer all the sections. He has worked incredibly hard and with total dedication and it has paid off hugely. Today these most complex pieces sounded more relaxed, less worried and as though he were enjoying himself ! Now that is a success ! We whirled from Handel to Donizetti via Bach and had not time caught up with us we might have ' marathoned ' to Schubert's Ganymede with a short stop at 'Youth and Love' by Vaughan was a truly packed lesson !

My two Grade 6 girls, N and R then came and faced up to the tricky tongue work of German and their chosen Lieder. They are both sopranos and so not to be compared on exam day, I have chosen two different Lieder, both beautiful in totally different ways. N is singing the puzzling and complex 'Auf ein Altes Bild' by Wolf with its short evocation of a man gazing at an old painting of a landscape where he can see a beautiful maid playing with her small baby boy in happiness and peace - the onlooker searches deeper into the picture and on a distant hill suddenly a cross becomes visible. The baby is the infant Christ and the maid his mother Mary and there in the distance is the portent of His death. Quite chilling yet such beautiful music.

R is singing the luscious Schumann song 'Die Lotosblume', so lyrical and sad in its description of the exotic Lotus flower which blooms only at night and is tortured by the sunlight, it's petals bleeding with the rays of the sun. Very romantic and powerful.

Both songs are just two pages each. But what a couple of pages ! Both girls are working well and getting to grips with each song in their own way.

Then K arrived raring and ready to sing through her entire recital for her Recital Certificate. Brava K, I exhausted you but what a tour de force, from Handel to Pergolesi, then on to Mozart and Hahn, and finishing with Sullivan and Novello - 20 minutes of non stop singing and she sang with such passion, control and strength. Developing stamina so as to be able to sustain the requirements of these large exams is a big journey. K presents music so well, she moves like a dancer and engages with her audience beautifully. Now the whole programme needs to be sung complete twice each week, like a vocal work out, so the support builds until she can 'waltz' through it without needing a strong gin after the last note ! ( You did deserve a gin though K!)

Well that's a day and a half, fitted in to around three hours !

The moon is the friend of the Lotus Flower........


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