Glag Post Mortum
The SCC Performed Janacek's Glagolitic Mass on Saturday 20 November.
I woke up with a bit of post concert depression yesterday. It wasn't as bad as in the past though. Perhaps I wasn't as attached to Janacek as Mahler (highly possible), perhaps I'm getting used to it (maybe) or perhaps I felt we did a better job at nailing this one (we did) so I could let go without regret.
In the end, everything seemed to come together. The orchestra was struggling at rehearsal Friday as were the soloists but on Saturday night, it was pretty tight. Our Veruju ("Credo") was still a bit blurry but overall I was happy with the performance. I don't think we ever really got what the maestro wanted from us on Veruju but otherwise I felt we were in sync.
My friends in the audience said that some of the soloists were pretty weak but from where I sat, they sounded clearer than they had during any of the rehearsals. It's safe to say, however, that the SSO doesn't have a huge budget for bringing in big voices so it's probably a good idea to sit a little closer to the front for such concerts. Anywhere in the first 20 rows should be a great performance no matter who is singing. The front of Circle 1 should also have a nice sound plus a great view of the choir.
Although we kept being told that The Glagolitic Mass was a bloody difficult piece, I found it the easiest thing I'd done so far (in my vast experience of 4 concerts). There wasn't a lot of singing, it was really a matter of getting used to the timing and few weird chords. After Mahler, it was a price of cake.
This was a great season largely because Lim Yau was such a prince. I don't know if he's found enlightenment or Prozac, either way, he was sweetness and light for the whole season. Some members of the choir figured he was just on "best behavior" because of the visiting choirs. But we had visiting choirs last season and he was frequently grumpy. No there seems like something fundamental has happened there and it's great to see. It's very easy to forsake every other demand on my time Monday nights when I have the chance to be in the audience of this guy's wit and talent. Last year I often left rehearsals feeling quite discouraged but this year I've mostly left my Monday nights feeling inspired. Quite frankly, when he's in form, the man is brilliant.
Several members of the choir skipped out for this season. They seemed to be voting with their feet on Janacek. I admit it took me a while to get into it, but in the end, Janacek won me over. But it never occurred to me to take a break if I didn't care for the piece. That seemed part of the challenge of it all, committing yourself to the choir regardless of the repertoire on offer. It just seems the professional thing to do and in any case, most rewarding because it takes you outside your box. I think I take all this more seriously than many of my peers!
So next season it's Beethoven's 9th and Choral Fantasy.