Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 12 - "like boa constrictors writhing in sump oil"


Where to start? How much to write? What to write?

Well, let's get started and see what comes out.

Part 2 to be rehearsed all day. Part 2 is tutti, including choir and brass bands joining the orchestra. What a disappointing start when the choir entered with it's first note. MD Curro (John) sat back and took his time rehearsing the choir.

The choir did sound better than at our first tutti rehearsal but from where I was sitting (right in front of them) it sounded sloppy. To be precise, there seemd to be a lack of precision with the vocal ensemble. Some of the rehearsing John did yeilded some results and the rest he was left bewildered at "how to fix" this. He even publically said if there was something else he could do, he would be doing it.

At one point, he said that if we (not just the choir) can't start the 4th movement properly, then there is no point in turning up on Wednesday night (performance night).

A particular point in the 4th movement is a magical moment where the orchestra leads into a massive chorus entry. With out any surprise, it was anything but. John, slightly frustrated started to reiterate the previous times this section was rehearsed and interrupting him at the same time was the chorus leader, Alison Rogers absolutely giving the chorus a serve, with a certain level of disgust in her voice. "Chorus, last night we had this rehearsed correctly".

Long story short, after John and Alison's "wake up call" the choir sounded magnificent!!! Yes, absolutely magnificent, complimenting the massive orchestral lead up to this section where they enter.

I have commented on Day 7 Post as to why and ensemble (not just this choir) would faulter outside their rehearsal room and into to perfomance venue with, let's say another ensemble, like the Gothic orchestra. Please read this post if you haven't yet. Regardless of where we are and who we are with, we need to perform. Today was not this first time we rehearsed together in this building.

No, the orchestra performing so far hasn't been perfect or it isn't as densely written like the chorus parts. But we have only been rehearsing as an ensemble for less than 2 weeks now. After months of rehearsing, why can't the chorus come in with conviction and confidence?

To be fair, since day one of rehearsals, we (both orchestra and chorus) have had people continually enter each respective ensemble on a daily basis. Pretty much it's a different ensemble every day. Part of perfoming in an ensemble is to let the people around you know what's going on, so they are in the know too. Perhaps this isn't going on as much as we would like it too.

The unfortunate aspect of what is going on can be related to say the Australian cricket team. We failed at the first 2 tests and the media and sports persons want the captains head. Plus other heads too from the team.

From what I know about Alison Rogers and her past choral activities, if the choir fails on the night, her head and reputation should not "roll"! Yes, there was some terrible and pathetic sining, to quote MD Curro but there are some brilliant parts, to quote tuba 1.

I'm sure the extra rehearsing that the chorus will undertake will yeild the expected end result. John Curro is certainly not letting anything slide. In the few days left, it will come together and result in a memorable performance. John, in his usual humorous style, said we have Mary Mac Killop to turn to if we need to ask for a miracle. Not needed I say. Just stay positive and follow the conductor!

Some of John's reference to the vocal writing were, "like a myre pit" and our personal favourite "like boa constrictors writing in sump oil". But he aso stated that it was the basic elementary stuff that was failing the chorus.

The last few days of any preparation are always the most anxious. Wether it's on an epic scale like the Gothic Symphony, or like a community orchestra leading into a performance or a brass band preparing for a contest. Despite what is being said at rehearsals or even on this blog, all is well with the Gothic.

To wrap this subject up, yes, there were many less than ordinary moments from the choir, then there were some brilliant moments from the choir. John even stated that it's not the extremely dense blomonge like writing that is the problem. It was the elementary stuff, like coming in on time, staying in time and finishing together on time that needed much attention to detail.

We had the children's choir join us today too. Unfortunately only half showed up, disappointing MD Curro quite a bit. But this was still better than the brass bands who were to show up today. Not a sausage from them.

We, the Gothic ensemble (orchestra and chorus) are still in the developing stages of this performance. The orchestra is like the choir, still getting to terms with its parts. I think the chorus does know what they are doing, it just seems like laziness in the final execution of the parts, that is holding them back. The need to deliver what they already know and can do, each and every time now with much confidence. Not the 2nd or 3rd time, but on the very first time. The same goes for the orchestra.

Overall, this symphony is sounding wonderful. More sections are melding together and some wonderful writing is being released into our ears. This is being helped by larger attendances. The chorus was greatly boosted by a contingent from Melbourne. The wind section is almost complete (I think) and the bass section has almost doubled in size.

Brass was quite low today as the Conservatorium of Music had its graduation ceremony today. But we did see the arrival of Cameron Maoluf to complete the trombone section. Now it will sound awesome. Not because Cameron himself is here, it's because we now have a bum filling the final seat in the 'bone section.

2 sections, in amoeba like fashion, literally split themselves into 2 and doubled their sections. We now have 2 harps and 2 contra bassoons. Some meaty contra work was heard today. Keep up the great work people!

Quite a lengthy post this time. I'm hoping for something different to write and quote about tomorrow.

Stay tuned with the Gothic Tuba Experience

John Szkutko

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