No train wrecks on the fugue!
Great rehearsal last Tuesday, with that first hour dedicated to careful, dedicated study of the Cum Sancto fugue. Many thanks to Phil Davis for shepherding the tenors and basses through the process with Rebekah at the piano, while Ann and I worked with the sopranos and altos. We were pretty cold, so we envied all of the T/B crammed into a small room, sharing warmth! Wasn't that fun when we put it all together for the first time? That fugue is so hard that I had some concerns that we might have constant train wrecks, but not so. We soldiered right through, and I could hear the beginning of excitement as you realized where your own part fit, in those interesting (!) harmonic shifts. This early in our study, some of the vocal lines seem downright weird. Well, OK, they are, but we were working so slowly that it was hard to grasp the grand design. There is one, though it's pretty daring for Schubert's time. Once we're secure and up to tempo you'll find it really exciting.
What I found particularly thrilling was the way you just tore into all the prior material of the Gloria after the break! Wow, we'd only had one partial rehearsal on that music, and you were singing it almost as though you knew it well. Bravo, you! Of course there's a ton more to do: getting into the weeds of understanding and illustrating the text, really focusing on beauty of tone, big dynamic shifts, and text clarity -- but you're certainly ready to move to that level when we return to the Gloria again. I can report to you that Ann was impressed, and trust me, that doesn't usually happen this early in the process.
We'll move to the Credo next week, working as far as the fugue which begins at letter N, p.56. In comparing these two longest movements of the work, the music of the Gloria is far more complex, but the Credo has far more words, so it's sort of a tradeoff. Same with the two fugues: the Cum Sancto is the more complex, while the "et vitam venturi saeculi" seems longer! Actually, both fugues occupy ten pages of music, but the one concluding the Credo seems endless. Maybe that's because by the end of the second long movement, your energy could begin to wane. We'll be working hard to build your stamina, OK? Just as we did over the past two weeks, we'll divide this movement over two rehearsals, tackling "et vitam venturi saeculi" in sectionals on the 18th.
I can sense that you're beginning to enjoy and appreciate this mass: that feeling will only grow, believe me.
And finally, next Tuesday we'll draw the winning raffle ticket for the trip for two to either London or Paris! We've never done this sort of thing before, and it's pretty exciting. The odds are extremely good, with no more than 200 tickets being sold, so you've still got time to get into the drawing. Look online for details -- you'll even be able to purchase tickets at the break next week! As advertised, we'll draw the winning ticket at 9:15, so that means I get to work you for 15 minutes more than usual!
Have a lovely weekend, stay rested and healthy, and I'll see you on the 11th.