Showing posts with label Choral Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Choral Music. Show all posts

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Choral Fundamentals.



Choral singing whether 2 or a thousand if done beautifully demands brain synchronization on so many levels that a chorus is truly one voice.  This is certainly a genetic remnant from tribal societies or even before.  I am convinced that a good chorus hears the same music subconsciously moments before singing their part. Where this music comes from, the conductor, the lead singer, or the "ether" direct from the composer/arranger is at this point unknowable.  There are intelligent people that think that every thought or impulse from everyone living or dead is present in some space that is tuneable by the proper receiving brain, and music lends some credence to this for me, but I still don't believe it.  The music of the composer/arranger is somehow embedded in the score that the chorus can resonate with subconsciously as a group.  The melodies, the rhythms, the harmonies and the tempos are of course simply marks on some holder.  But when performed all come together to recreate the mind of the composer/arranger. 

To a lesser extent all music requires this synchronization but vocalization is so fundamental that it involves most of the brain.  All must be in sync with the composer/arranger   (Brava, Alice Parker) even if not physically present.  

Every good chorus I have sung with, and there have been many, has been an extremely tight social group where all members have liked and respected each other.  Years later they can reunite either individually or as a group and it as if no time has passed. The few outliers don't tend to last long no matter how well they sing.   

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Symphonic Choruses

Community Chorus please, well all right, none of us are paid to sing with the SFCS, but amateur is the wrong description of the performers in the Chorus. 
It is a sad fact of life that symphonic choruses are a luxury that few symphonies can afford to support as fully paid performers.  They must be a large group to carry over the orchestration of most of the repertoire, and much of the repertoire including the Verdi Requiem is technically very difficult. Auditioned community choruses are the only way audiences can hear much of the repertoire and new symphonic works like last fall's Terra Nostra by Stacy Garrop,
Many of the singers are music graduates, and some are soloists in other settings particularly church choirs that have a professional quartet as the core. Hardly amateurs in the sense you beat us up with.  All are accomplished musicians able to work up a thrilling group sound that you and audiences can properly applaud on relatively few one day a week rehearsals.  We put in the time and usually money, because we think Symphonic Choral music deserves a place in the Classical music scene.  For the most part community choruses are the only way you will get it. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Choral CV




K-8 choir starting 4th grade.  First solo 4th boy sop.  Voice never broke just moved down through the parts.

Elite Church Choir 6-12.  Various parts.

Elite High School A Capella Choir.  One of two freshmen admitted. 

Highlight: Memorial Day concert ending with Faure Requiem.  Due to intense programming no applause was requested.  At the end the audience filed out in complete science. 

Stanford All University Chorus 4 years undergrad, 2 years Grad.  Good chorus nothing special

Five years not singing due to heavy travel for work but something definitely missing. 

New York Choral Society.  Top non-professional choir in NYC.  Frequent performances with visiting orchestras, Beethoven 9th,  Mahler 2nd , Handel Messiah repertoire pieces.  Chorus 1971 to 1979.  On working board 1972 to 1979. Normal venue Carnegie Hall.  We performed almost all of the Choral Standards including the big 5 Requiems and the usual Masses.

Highlights.

·         Beethoven Missa Solemnis under Roger Wagner, Bob DeCormier, and Robert Shaw.

·         Kodali Kallo Dances and Martinu Military Mass under DeCormier

·         Chorus for the Peter, Paul and Mary Chanukah-Holiday concert which was later televised as a PBS Special.  Look for the guy with the fake snow piling up on his tux.

·         Bernstein Chichester Psalms under Maestro Bernstein.



San Francisco Choral Society.  A top tier non-professional symphonic Chorus in San Francisco Bay area. Bass 1998-2005. Tenor 2006-present.  Performs standard choral repertory with emphasis on newer music.   With an annual warhorse in Davies Symphony Hall



Highlights

·         David Lang Battle Hymns: W/C Premier with active chorus, dance and children’s choir.

·         Stacy Garrop Terra Nostra: World Premier of her Modern Oratorio.

Started voice lessons for tenor soloist training 2013 with Brian Thorsett, then with Greg Wait. For the past year I have been working with Lee Strawn. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Art and Artists



 From a Facebook thread on a misogynist artist.  Take your pick.


 If you cannot evaluate art without evaluating the artist you don't understand art. If a person can overcome fundamentalist bigotry to create a work of genius, more power to herm. [As to the mention of] "all men are created equal" who are you to even mention the artist owned slaves. He had no choice in his culture. That he could transcend his culture to create a better world where all are equal (even though we are not there yet after 200+ years) speaks volumes about his character.  J'Carlin 
An artist and herm art are two entirely separate and distinct entities in all cultures.  The art may live and be meaningful long after the artist has returned to dust.  While it is fun to argue about which composers of famous religious music were atheists,  the fact remains that the music they composed is sung and revered by believers in any culture affected by the religion depicted in the composition.  Religious art is by and large atrocious, and the artists justifiably forgotton.  But the stories told by that atrocious art are fundamental to religious belief.  The few exceptions were created by artists that the current crop of religious fundagelicals would probably hate. 

A "critic" is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is a logic in this; he is unbiased - he hates all creative people equally. Lazarus Long aka Robert A Heinlein

There seems to be a current trend among critics to focus on the artist, especially the things about the artist that the critic hates.  Heinlein was a militarist and jingoist, therefore all of his writing is trash.  L Ron Hubbard was a religious charlatan fuggetabout all the Battlefield Earth books.  Jefferson owned and fathered slaves, therefore the Declaration of Independence means nothing.  There is nothing to see here folks.  Move along. 

I have even done it myself:  Abram was a lying, exploitive pimp.  Therefore the God he invented, and the religions that depend on that God are trash.  In my defense I had come to the conclusion that the religions that grew out of the Abrahamic tradition were trash long before I found out Abram was a prick.  I never liked him from the stories that included him, but until recently I had never followed his family and gang from Ur, to Haram, to Canaan and to Egypt.  They seem to have been a sociopathic bunch.  

[The following is a subsequent edit.  Please note this is a working blog and editing is common before and after comments]

Heinlein was also a misogynist.  Note his use of "man" in the quote.  The fact that in the vernacular it was generic for human is lost on the feminists.  The fact that all of his women characters were generally more competent in all respects than the men counts for nothing since they all were interested in procreation. Their choice of competent men to help not only with the sex but with the family as well is lost on the feminists. 

Hubbard was a brilliant student of human wants and needs, in particular their need for a strong community controlled by an unquestioned belief system.  Whether Scientology works depends on whether you ask a believer, an apostate, or a critic.  The fact that Hubbard made more money from Scientology than from writing Science Fiction "at a penny a word" is probably his greatest sin.  


The Republigelical meme that  Jefferson owned and screwed slaves is a bigot’s apologetic for their own hypocrisy.  His actual views about slavery and in particular Sally Hemmings is available to any intelligent unbiased student of his life and in particular the society in which he was embedded.  He couldn't even call himself an atheist, let alone a humanist and survive politically to keep the Black Regiment of New England Calvinists out of the Constitution and God out of the government.