Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Little Chilly

And I Kind of Got Blindsided

Nothing serious, just time consuming. I am going to be singing a duet with another soprano on Mauday Thursday at my church. This is the Thursday night before Easter Sunday for you non-religiously educated out there.

For those who know music, it is the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi. It's a beautiful piece but kind of tricky harmonically and for me, a little rhythmically as well. My choir director/organist from church will be accompanying us and frankly, all three of us have been a bit lazy or too busy to really focus on learning the piece. So, direct action was needed.

My fellow vocalist, a professional voice teacher, called me last week to set up a rehearsal. I finally called her back and we will be practicing on Saturday morning. My choir director and I had already decided to rehearse together soon so both he and I could learn our parts and sync up. I call him tonight to set a date and we agreed on tomorrow--Wednesday night. Good. That meant I had time to really study my part before going to sing with him.

Not to be. No sooner had I hung up the phone than he called back to say he'd forgotten a prior committment for tomorrow and could we get together tonight instead.

Yikes!! Suddenly here I was, vocally challenged and faced with learning the music in about 2 and a half hours. OK, I am a pretty fast study, but this is not the easiest music I've ever tried to sing. It is a gorgeous piece, but the harmonies are intricate and the melody is not exactly straighforward.

Fortunately, it is kind of chilly and gray outside, not exactly the most inviting weather for riding, although I probably would have at least lunged. However, it is not to be. I am instead pondering over four pages of music, trying to put it all together.

Actually, there are at least two performances of it on the Internet, with some super good vocalists. This is my favorite so far: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2zc0wTORSI This is actually a countertenor (man) singing with a female soprano. Lovely. I will be, I hope, singing the top/higher part.

Anyhow, I almost have a handle on it, so when I go to my director's house later, I will not be totally incompetent. By Saturday, I should be a pro....sort of.

Loosely translated the words mean: "The grieving Mother stood beside the cross weeping where her Son was hanging." This, of course refers to Mary standing at the foot of Christ's cross at the cruxifiction.

Now, I am a Protestant/Presbyterian and my singing partner is a Methodist, but that's never stopped us from singing music from the Catholic liturgy, particularly when it is beautiful like this. The service combines the two churches in town for the one evening and our choirs join to sing as well. This duet will open the service and set the tone. It is a very kind of "down" evening commemorating the events leading up to the ulitmate joy of Easter morning.

I hope we will be able to do the music justice.


  1. Hope it goes well - it's a beautiful piece of music. Music can make life very enjoyable, can't it?

  2. oops. so we know what you'll be doing for the next few weeks....sing whilst riding, have an mp3 player with it on and play it to yourself at all available opportunities .. and so on

    good luck

    oh - and my ma's a methodist, but never thought anythign about singing masses etc ... it's about the music, isn't it!