Dear Bravi and VTG,
When I studied voice, I was already an accomplished pianist and a very strong sight-reader. I was able to sight-sing the vast majority of what was put in front of me as a vocalist, even solo repertoire. Because of my memorizing skills, I could also “learn” a song cycle in just a week.
However, what I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t truly learning much. Fine – so I could understand a song and reproduce the pitches with rough accuracy in my own voice. That song, though, wasn’t truly ingrained in my mind, implanted to the point of being second nature to me. I didn’t understand the intricacies of the music, see the scope of the phrase perfectly and how it fit into the rest of the song, or even have planned out on a basic level how I would prepare the upcoming notes or breathe properly! And because it wasn’t to that point, I wasn’t able to truly make music with what I thought I had learned. I had only previewed it at best – I needed to spend much, much more time delving into the music, perfecting the individual little difficult spots, understanding the text, feeling exactly how it fit in my voice, to truly learn it.
I feel that we are to the same kind of “I sort of know it” phase with the Missa Criolla. You can sing most of the notes, and, because you’re musically intelligent, you can make it sound decent. However, the tone placement, tuning, and true musicality is largely lacking. I would like to ask you, this week, to really spend some time perfecting the Mass. Please return next week with both movements truly learned. If you need review, you can watch a recording here. I am excited to really make music with it next week!
(And, of course, please keep your other festival music up to speed for next April 2nd’s festival!)
See you on Monday,