Momentous Weekend

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As a follow-up to my “too busy to post” post, thought I’d explain some of the goings on that I couldn’t discuss prior to the events. In that previous post I mentioned that Furman Commencement and the Greenville Chorale Concert were scheduled for the same time. What I didn’t mention was that I was supposed to be at both of those events.

Here’s the deal – Laura won the Meritorious Advising Award for Furman University this year. The award recognizes professors and administrators that have worked with students in planning their coursework throughout the year. In 2009 Laura had won the Meritorious Teaching Award. Now she has received both of Furman’s top honors. Continue reading “Momentous Weekend”

Music for the Soul

Today the Greenville Chorale Chamber Ensemble presents its winter concert at Furman’s Daniel Chapel. The program is entitled “Music for the Soul”, and the music was chosen to be both soothing and uplifting. We start the concert with Gabriel Faure’s Requiem as the major work on the piece. I’ve performed this piece several times, and … Continue reading Music for the Soul

Beethoven’s Ninth Video

Videographer Valdas Katovas recorded our spring concert, a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and Greenville Chorale. This video is the entire fourth movement. You can occasionally see me on the front row of the Chorale, next to the tympani and behind the trombones. Beethoven No 9 from Valdas Kotovas on … Continue reading Beethoven’s Ninth Video

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne

To Joy

Joy, thou beauteous godly lighting,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire drunken we are ent’ring
Heavenly, thy holy home!

Thy enchantments bind together,
What did custom stern divide;
Every man becomes a brother,
Where thy gentle wings abide.

Be embrac’d, ye millions yonder!
Take this kiss throughout the world!
Brothers—o’er the stars unfurl’d
Must reside a loving father.

–Friedrich Schiller, 1786

Last night the Greenville Chorale joined forces with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  The 9th is one of my favorite pieces, and I’ve had the privilege to perform it once before.  Last night’s performance, though was one of the most stirring I’ve ever experienced.

For the Chorale, the piece came together fairly quickly.  Many of us were familiar with the music, but also the chorus doesn’t sing that much in the concert.  We’re only there for the last half of the last movement of the piece – about 20 minutes worth. Bing Vick often let us out of rehearsals early, which was a nice change of pace.

However, that is a VERY challenging 20 minutes.  First there is the range.  The piece is written at the extreme upper vocal range for all parts.  I can’t think of another piece that has the basses singing a high F as many times and as long as this one does.  Then there was the tempo set by Maestro Tchivzhel – fast, then blindingly fast.  We had to squeeze a mouthful of German syllables into such a fast pace that I don’t think any of us got all of the words correct, even in the final performance.  Oh, yeah, they had to be on the right pitches and at the right dynamic, too.  It was a bear. Continue reading “O Freunde, nicht diese Töne”

Sacred Music for a Sacred Space

St George from Choir Loft

Sunday afternoon the Greenville Chorale Chamber Ensemble presented its annual concert at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The concert was entitled “Sacred Music for a Sacred Space” and featured sacred music by contemporary composers. The pairing of music with venue was well-planned, and somewhat modeled the liturgy that might be followed in a traditional service.

Saturday morning we had our dress rehearsal in the cathedral, and I brought along my camera to get a few shots of the interior. I started with exterior shots…

St George Exterior 1

…then moved to the interior to photograph the stunning mosaics above the altar.

St George Interior 1

St George Interior 3

St George Interior 2 Continue reading “Sacred Music for a Sacred Space”

Rapturous Music

I’m falling a bit behind in my blogging. I would claim that it was, indeed, another busy weekend with concerts, birthday parties, family illness, and all the other things that go into keeping a person hopping. Actually, I thought about giving up blogging all together since the world was supposed to end last Saturday, but … Continue reading Rapturous Music

A Carolina Christmas

Last night the Greenville Chorale gave its Carolina Christmas concert at McAlister Auditorium at Furman. We were joined by the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, and we repeat the concert today at Mud Creek Baptist Church for the Hendersonville audience. (The photo above is from last year’s concert.) We’ve been working on the music since mid-October. The … Continue reading A Carolina Christmas

All Hail the Cimbasso!

Cimbasso

This is a concert weekend for us. The Greenville Chorale is performing a selection of works by Leonard Bernistein and Giuseppi Verdi. The first performance last night went very well (more on that in a later post).

The repertoire called for some unusual instruments, including two brake drums hit by standard hammers for Verdi’s Anvil Chorus, and a sheet of metal struck to simulate thunder in Verdi’s Witches Chorus from Macbeth.

Acoutrements for the Anvil Chorus

However, the instrument that really puzzled us and caught our attention was the cimbasso.  As shown in the photo at the top of this post, it looks like a cross between a trombone and a tuba.  It turns out that is pretty much it’s function, too.  It fills a niche by providing an instrument in the bass range of a tuba, but with more of the tonal qualities of a trombone. Continue reading “All Hail the Cimbasso!”

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