Sunday, October 02, 2005

Nice warm autumn weekend

It's been awhile...

I guess I haven't really posted lately because of the uncertainty of when I was starting my new job. It was kind of depressing being in limbo. But luckily this week, they called and I report to my new job bright and early TOMORROW morning.

I've been busy these last four weeks working at Washington Concert Opera, getting their high-speed internet access, e-mail, and other technology in order, and installing a new workstation (along with a host of other jobs that came up). It was about 20 hours of work a week, but I kept myself quite busy while I was there. Three days of auditions too--signing in singers for their times. These aren't your average choral singers, they're professional and unionized (AGMA). (Read the story in this week's Washington City Paper on what it's like to eek out a living as a choral singer in DC).

I'm back singing with the Cathedral Choral Society as a baritone. [I sang with them for 3 years before I moved to Indiana.] It feels very good to be performing again. I enjoyed being a DJ, but there's nothing like actually making music. Our first concert is pretty exciting. It's an all-Jewish program called "A Haven in America." And Leonard Slatkin's going to guest-conduct the Bernstein and the Barber.

Our repertoire includes the following:

Leonard Bernstein..............Chichester Psalms
Samuel Barber...................Toccata Festiva for Organ and Orchestra
Arnold Schoenberg.............Kol Nidre for Chorus, Narrator, and Orchestra
Erich Zeisl..........................Requiem Ebraico

Ok, so the Barber isn't particularly related to the theme, but it's a great opportunity to hear our director, J. Reilly Lewis play organ. I'm really glad I'm getting a chance to sing the Chichester, it's such a fun piece. I never really "got it" when I've listened to it on recordings. I find that the best way for me to enjoy music (esp. classical) is to actually perform it. When I was a low brass player, this was true also. It definitely helps me appreciate 20th century music.

The Schoenberg is a surprisingly tonal work, with lots of sensible cues for the chorus to follow when making their entrances. I'm not totally sold on the Zeisl yet. It's a lot of muddling around for notes so far, and I fear that a lot of the harmonic complexity doesn't serve the text very well. Of course, I feel the same way about Brahms' minor choral music (mostly motets). Both the Zeisl and Bernstein will be sung in Hebrew, which is a real challenge for me (since I've never sung in that language). Anyways...if you're in the area on Sunday, November 13, come to the Washington National Cathedral at 4:00 pm, to hear the sounds of a 150+ symphonic choir in a highly reverberant setting.

The Cathedral Choral Society

Yesterday I visited with a friend in Takoma Park over lunch, walked around and shopped, and came home. The day couldn't have been more beautiful. We lingered at House of Musical Traditions, which is one of my favorite music stores in the area. I found out they sell practice bagpipe chanters--hmmm. They also have a very good concert series.

I have been playing around on iTunes a bit. Downloaded some NPR music podcasts, and purchased my first music download: Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit (the show I saw in NYC a couple of weeks ago). I'm going over some of my internship notes (along with some of my earlier blog postings) today before I start tomorrow.

Current listening this afternoon: WAMU-FM (Dick Spottswood's Obsolete Music Show, The Eddie Stubbs Show, and Thistle and Shamrock). Favorite song of the afternoon: "If you want his love PDQ, divorce me C.O.D."


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