Back in 1985 my brother Houston introduced me to Todd Rundgren’s innovative album, A Cappella [sic]. Rundgren used digital sampling to create an album made up only of the human voice. He added distortion and manipulated the sounds to emulate drums and other instruments. Back then this was really impressive, and I was amazed that one human voice could create such music.
Of course, now this is common place. Beat-boxing came in with rap music about the time Rundgren’s album came out. TV shows like Glee have renewed interest in a capella singing, specifically with Do Wop and other popular music that wasn’t originally arranged for voices only. Combine that with technology that can turn just about any computer into a multi-track recording studio, and you have many people turning out their own a capella renditions. Continue reading “Multitrack Madness”
In case your Cyrillic is rusty, the title of this post is from Psalm 104, “Praise the Lord, O My Soul”, and is one of the pieces that make up part of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil. This weekend we performed the piece with the Greenville Chorale on Sunday afternoon at First Baptist Church.
This was a real challenge. The music itself wasn’t so hard, but there was so much of it. We did in an hour what we normally stretch out over two, when you add in soloists and orchestra. Throw in a layer of very difficult language, and you have a nearly impossible task.
I had done parts of the Vespers before, so I was somewhat familiar with the music. The sixth movement is the “Hail Mary” section, and I had done it several times with both the Latin Ave Maria text and the Russian. Even so, I found myself stumbling over music and text, even in the final performance. Continue reading “??????????-????-???”
Saturday I attended the William Walker Memorial Shape Note Singing at Wofford College in Spartanburg. This was a special occasion, marking the bicentennial of Walker’s birth. An entire weekend of events had been planned for the event. In addition to the singing, there would be an evening showing of the documentary Awake My Soul, and … Continue reading William Walker Memorial Singing 2009
Since I was hanging close to home over the Thanksgiving holidays I had some time to work on some overdue projects. One of these projects was to process some of the audio from my mother’s 80th birthday party. We sat around and sang hymns and even did our a capella rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. … Continue reading Taylor Family Singing
Saturday morning I skipped out on a bunch of gardening chores that Laura had lined up for me and went to a shape note singing at Furman. When I arrived, there were about thirty singers already in their open square configuration, singing away.
Unlike the William Walker Memorial Singing at Wofford a couple of months ago, this event was held in a room designed for singing. The sound in Herring Hall (where the Greenville Chorale rehearses) was much more resonant, and the tunes sounded much better than they did in the dead room at Wofford.
The group started singing from the Southern Harmony, which has the more traditional do-re-mi scale. Even so, I struggled with the note names on the initial sing-through, and wound up singing “la” for most of the notes. For the second hour of the morning, they switched to the Sacred Harp, which uses the four-shape fa-so-la scale. It was much harder, and I never really got the hang of the note names. There was a break when we switched from one tune book to the other, and I had a chance to talk with several of the singers. I was told that Southern Harmony tends to be a bit more subdued, whereas Sacred Harp singing is always more raucous. Even though the notes were more difficult for me, I was up for high-energy raucous singing. Continue reading “Shape Note Singing at Furman”
For the second time in less than a year I am performing Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, and this is the second orchestra with whom I’ve performed this work. The Greenville Chorale joined the Greenville Symphony this weekend for two performances, one Saturday night and one Sunday afternoon. Last time, we performed with the Brevard Music Center … Continue reading 2nd Mahler’s 2nd
This afternoon the Greenville Chorale presents Music for Life – Celebrated & Remembered. The concert will be at First Baptist Church at 3:00 pm, and will feature the Durafle’ Requiem, Brahms Nanie, and several shorter works. This year our concert season was thrown off a bit with unusual scheduling. This left and opportunity for a … Continue reading A Concert of Remembrance
I tried my hand at editing a bit of video from the William Walker Singing last Saturday. I used just the basic version of the Pinnacle Studio software, and was actually pleased with the results. I find it much easier to work with than the Windows Movie Maker software. This clip shows Bill Burns leading … Continue reading William Walker Singing – video
Saturday morning I attended the William Walker Memorial Singing at Wofford College. William “Singing Billy” Walker was the publisher of The Southern Harmony in 1835 and Christian Harmony in 1866, as well as a composer of many of the tunes found in these. He was a native of Union County, but lived and worked in … Continue reading William Walker Memorial Singing