Hi, VTG and Bravi:
It was great to spend a full rehearsal with you all last week, following a couple unusual weeks while Elena was away. Thanks for your hard work and flexibility while I was elsewhere!
Action Items for this week:
- Bravi and VTG: learn all words and pitches (including added pitches) for “Rain Music” by Laura Farnell.
- Work toward memorization on all music as quickly as possible. ALL repertoire should be memorized by April 17, which is just about a month away. Completely within your grasp as along as you work diligently.
- Memorize “We are a Circle” by NEXT MONDAY (3/20).
- Bravi only: Solidify all pitches for “Esti Dal” and begin work on the text.
- Refresh all tutti repertoire to make sure memorization and easy of tone production is coming along (particularly titles which haven’t been rehearsed in awhile, like “Turn the World Around” and “Famine Song.”
- This is not a terribly difficult piece the mixed meter can be challenging. Remember that the eighth note always stays constant and the tempo should be steadily driven, like a powerful storm.
- Make sure parts are clearly marked — particularly for tenors who jump down to the baritone line and basses that jump up to it. Use arrows, circles, etc., to remind you as you practice.
- This piece is full of American “rrrr” sounds, which we should always try to minimize and refine. “Earth” should always be sung with a slightly more elevated sound (think British) and almost no American “r.”
- Practice careful attention to pitch with regard to E-flat vs. E-natural. This defines the mode of the middle section (which mode is this?), and it must be in tune, lest it sound like a mistake.
- Look at dynamics as you practice — the entire piece is very energetic, but there is quite a bit of dynamic contrast written in. It shouldn’t be mezzo-forte for the entire piece.
- Memory in two weeks!
We Are a Circle
- We achieved a very nice unison and true ensemble sound between Bravi and VTG with this piece last week… please remind yourselves how that felt and sounded! Sing with strength but with a beautiful “head voice” tone so you blend with your fellow singers.
- Practice with a metronome set for 100 bpm. Be sure that your consonants are energized and come early so that vowels open on the beat and the rhythmic integrity of this piece is always driving forward.
- Memory next week! This should be attainable but please make sure to observe all repeats, and…
- MEMORIZE THE DYNAMICS, TOO!
- Secure all pitches and rhythms first.
- Legato, legato, legato. Practice this piece first on a neutral vowel, like “oo” or “ah” and slide between all the pitches with a slight portamento. The lines in this piece are beautiful when they are smooth and connected at all times (even in the more rhythmic passages).
- Refer to last week’s blog for diction recordings.
- Practice the diction in the following ways:
- First, speak the words very slowly, out of tempo
- Secondly, speak the words slowly, but in rhythm. Set the metronome for a nice slow tempo like 50 bpm.
- Next, gradually increase that speed — 60 bpm, 70 bpm, etc. The target tempo for the piece is about 84 – 88 bpm.
- Then, decrease the speed back to 50 bpm and combine pitches, rhythms, and diction. The language is tricky, but you’ll get it!
- Here’s a nice recording of a Hungarian men’s chorus singing the piece, to give you an idea of the overall flow and affect of the piece… sing along and watch your score as you listen! We’ll need to move the tempo a bit faster for our performance, but this should be good for slower practice.
Additional Announcements and Reminders:
- If you are interested in becoming a Cantabile Summer Camp counselor, please email email@example.com for details! You must be 16 or older to participate.
- Performances of Mozart’s Requiem with Symphony Silicon Valley are this weekend in San Jose! Come out to support your fellow Cantabile singer.
- If you are going on tour, PLEASE make sure your tour forms are filled out on cantabile.jumbula.com as soon as possible. You have until Wednesday, March 15th to fill these out!
- Joan Szymko, the composer of all three selections from last week’s rehearsal, will be in Residency with Cantabile on Monday, March 27. This is a great opportunity for you all to work with a composer on her compositions!
- Please mark in your calendars that our rehearsals on Monday, May 1st and Monday, May 8th at First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto begin at 5 PM, 30 minutes earlier than usual. Plan to be there by 4:45 so that we may begin on time.
- Reminder: no Sunday rehearsal this week or next week. Sunday rehearsals will resume in April.
Always our best,
Jace, Elena, and Justin