John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Concert recap

The bad thing about concert weeks is the extra rehearsals. (The CCS normally rehearses once a week, on Monday night. But during concert weeks, we rehearse no fewer than three times: the normal Monday rehearsal; an orchestra rehearsal, during which we practice with the orchestra for the first time (practicing with the orchestra all the time would be prohibitively expensive); and the dress rehearsal.

That's for the average performance. For this one, we needed a fourth rehearsal. Fun! Except not. I like to sing, but rehearsing for more than ten hours, even when spread over four days, is not particularly enjoyable. Nevertheless, I did somehow survive the experience, and Sunday afternoon it all came together for an imminently creditable performance.

That's not to say it was perfect, of course. There were a couple of parts of the Stephen Paulus Mass for a Sacred Place that were appallingly sloppy. I kind of doubt anyone other than the chorus and possibly the composer noticed. That's the nice thing about performing polytonal works like the Paulus -- it's hard to differentiate the mistakes from the intentional dissonance. In this case it was probably impossible, since the Paulus was a world premiere.

Mistakes notwithstanding, the performance was very successful. The review in the Washington Post this morning was rapturous, the audience rewarded us with standing ovations, the first following the Paulus, and the second after the Mozart Mass in C Minor. The first one was, I think, more for the composer than for us; most people didn't rise until Paulus came up to the podium to take his bows. As for the second one, I don't think we deserved it. Standing ovations should be reserved for performances that are truly extraordinary. We've given performances like that -- the Schmitt in May 2001, and the Beethoven in September of last year -- but the Mozart on Sunday wasn't up to that level. Save it for the good stuff, people!

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