Saturday night marked the 45th Anniversary performance of the Greenville Chorale. For this occasion, the Chorale had commissioned a work by Mark Kilstofte. Mark is a colleague and fellow vocalist, in addition to being a world-renowned composer. His works are innovative and beautiful, but can be challenging to perform. The commissioned work, "Of Rivers Within", is no exception. Also on the program was Ralph Vaughn William’s "Dona Nobis Pacem."
Both pieces complement each other marvelously, and serve as a soothing message for these times. The Vaugh Williams piece is a stinging indictment of war and all its atrocities. Mark’s piece uses texts from Isaiah that speak to the nourishing and soothing aspects of water. This, even as another hurricane bears down upon Florida.
Friday night’s rehearsal was a bit trying at times. The first rehearsal with orchestra always is, as both the chorus and orchestra get accustomed to each other and to the space. Add to that a composer who has very specific ideas about how things should sound, and you get a longer than usual rehearsal as things are interrupted to go over some interpretive aspect.
The interruptions could get annoying, but I can sympathize with Mark, even if only to a tiny degree. When i’ve had one of my compositions performed, I hear exactly how it sounds in my mind, and it’s tempting to make sure it’s exactly as I imagined.
Saturday morning’s rehearsal went smoothly. Especially in a new piece I always love hearing how the orchestration turns out. I think I can tell which sections Mark composed while in residence at the Copland house. The section movement of Rivers has open sustained cords reminiscent of Appalachian Spring.
I wish everyone had the opportunity to hear a live orchestral performance. There is nothing in the world like it. The evening’s performance went beautifully, with only a few intonation problems. Afterwards, we had a fantastic party at the Wachovia Center downtown.