Friday, 29 April 2016

All in the April Evening - polished and beautiful !

It is almost the last day of April and today we polished the beautiful duet by Roberton. The sisters work so hard for perfection, all the while knowing that perfection is a state we never quite reach ! They probably know this more than almost anyone I teach, yet they work and work at the technical bits and bobs in a true effort to make it good enough for church, and indeed good enough for its real purpose.
The top notes were so much better today as the high sopranos were much more confident in their new found 'super head' register. There are three sisters at least, including the Abbess who are true sopranos and fully understand the lift needed for top G's and A's. The community are very lucky to have this extra vocal facility available to them, and I asked specifically that they can, from time to time, be allowed to sing descant lines which will take them up to these dizzy heights. Otherwise it will not be until my next visit !

Two of the older sisters came this morning for a solo session, as much as anything else for reassurance that they still have an intact voice, and are useful to the whole community in church. These ladies Sr Aelred and Sr Angela were my first contacts at the abbey years ago, and they have fine and solid voices which, even in their middle 70's are round and full and definitely needed ! I think they went away confident of that fact - I would have them in Inner Sound in a shot, and Sr Aelred is a gold dust contralto ! 

We recorded the part song and I could tell they were modestly pleased and clearly delighted with the performance and the overall sound. I push them very hard for good breathing, open vowels, tight consonants and an intellectual approach to the piece as well as a reverent one. The song therefore, with the technical nuts and bolts in place and unified lifts even higher as a sacred prayer which soared to the rafters of the recreation room.

Quite beautiful, and so wonderful to hear the poem as it was meant to be conveyed. I will miss them when I leave later today, it is always such a privilege to work with these ladies.

A beautiful brass band version played by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band

If anyone would like to hear the Poor Clares recording I can email it to you, I don't want to upload it to anywhere public !

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