Reminders to focus your mind on tweaks
Tuesday was pretty amazing! Aside from some places late in the work when brains and stamina failed, we had a fine first reading all together of the Great Mass. There was energy and clarity, most of the time. I love the fact that we have next Tuesday to get us into fighting fettle.
Here's how Tuesday will go: We will perform through each chorus, setting the tempos and being sure of transitions into and out of each movement. In several cases we'll work the tricky places that still need targeted attention. Please note in your scores all the reminders I'm including in this column. That will save us a lot of time and will help to focus your minds the tweaking that we'll be doing in preparation for the dress rehearsal.
1) Over-pronounce the K sound in both Kyrie and Christe. In your last three bars, watch very closely and attack right with me. The first violins need to come in right off of our beats, so we must be precise and not too long.
2) Accent beat 3 of meas.1. Meas. 2 and similar, "in ex" short and sharp. Like Goldilocks, I'll be searching for exactly the right tempo, not too fast or too slow. Articulate all the sixteenths. Remove tied-over sixteenths and take quick breaths. Meas. 27 and following, as well as m. 49 and following, accent each new syllable.
4) We'll go over the entrance several more times, so that the sopranos become secure.
6) This one needs considerable rhythmic work from 16-19, 28-32, 44-48. Choir II was consistently late. Help to fix that by taking a quick breath on the eighth rest that precedes each of your entrances. Also, very importantly sopranos, "nobis" was delivered with a very stringent "ee" sound that really pierced through. Please, please remember to add space in order to sweeten that vowel. In other places the movement is quite powerful.
8) Jesu Christe: We need to settle the tempo. That one was on me last Tuesday. Cum Sancto: REALLY sting every whole, half, and quarter note. Take the weight off all the eighth-note runs so that you can articulate clearly. We'll find just the right tempo to keep both you and me happy! Come in very strongly at the conclusion of the soloists' section.
9) Articulate every single syllable! Especially sopranos, prepare for those arching phrases from 24-29. From 44 -29, and 97-102, remember to cross out the tied-over eighths, using that time for an energizing lift.
11) We'll use the faster tempo we finally decided on. I'll begin in 4, switching to 2 at about bar 5. Remember to always bring forward "pro NObis'.
12) "Et ray-zoo-RHE-xit" Piano at m.18 beat 3, bouncy.
Meas. 33, plan for accuracy, sopranos and altos! You forgot to come in.
Here's another strident-sounding vowel color, Sopranos and Altos: "et as-sten-DEEET"! Yikes! Please, please mellow that, giving it more throat space. The second syllable gets the stress anyway, so really lighten up on the "deet" to avoid that nasty screech.
13) Correct syllabic stress, please. Underline the important syllable and lighten the others considerably. Pounding every syllable makes the text heavy and lifeless. It should be serious but not pushed down.
15) This one really needs to be light in character, truly dancing. Give a stroke the first of every set of eighth notes and let the others dance away. Really! The character is totally joyful.
16) Make the AH of Zanktus much more spacious and important, and when the text is soft (8, 9) over-articulate!
Ho-ZAHN-nah much more dance-like, with staccato on Ho and quick ah vowel to a pitched n. Make sixteenths very clear, light, giving the first of every set of four an accent
17) Ho-Zahn--nah: as above!
18) Much more impassioned, anguished
19) Then totally change! Light, like a madrigal, with every "DO-o-(nah)" having exactly that three-part descending volume. Last syllable definitely ah instead of uh, but throw it away! We don't want power until m. 84, then even more strength at 92 as we take it home.
If you will take about an hour of your time to mark your scores with these reminders before next Tuesday, our rehearsal will really be useful. We must save the final 15 minutes for our annual meeting, so let's be efficient, OK?
Have a blessed Easter,