Vikings, Metallica and Other Fine Details

“It sounds too ‘Wonderbread’.”

This is Mr. Peters’ description of our recent rehearsal rendition of Danse Boheme from Bizet’sapril-blog-shot-of-oboe Carmen. We were playing all of the notes correctly, but we weren’t dancing. His unique description made us laugh and loosen up. It got us to lean into the notes and play the piece with character. This became the tone for the entire rehearsal, which was our last regular meeting before the concert. Most of us had just enjoyed a week of school vacation so perhaps we were a less focused, making little mistakes. However, I am confident that the adrenaline of the concert will iron out these final details as long as we remember everything we’ve learned.

For the second half of our rehearsal, we were joined by the VYO Chorus to rehearse Brahms’ Shicksalsied and Fauré’s Pavane. This was our first joint rehearsal before we will perform these pieces together in the concert, as Suzanne mentioned in the last post. I’ll admit it: I was expecting a train wreck, but the two groups worked together surprisingly well. Of course, we all had to adjust to the sound of both groups working together and to the different conducting styles of Mr. Peters and Dr. Buettner, but by the end of the rehearsal, we were united.

Both conductors urged us to play and sing with expression. Mr. Peters told us that the first part of Shicksalsied represents “a vision of heaven”, and is the most powerful, heartbreakingly beautiful art in Western civilization. The middle section –  the toil of life on earth –  he likened to “beautiful Viking violence” and, if you can believe it,  Metallica! As we explored the contrast between those two sections, our playing/singing reflected deeper emotion. During the Pavane, Dr. Buettner encouraged us to think of the music as “brushstrokes” in a beautiful painting. Now that we have the chorus and the orchestra together, the painting feels complete. The holes in both pieces have been filled in and they sound great. I can’t wait for the concert!

–April Burbank     (Photo: April Burbank)

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