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my first performance in thirty years

keberoxu 03 Aug 20 - 01:48 PM
keberoxu 03 Aug 20 - 02:05 PM
keberoxu 03 Aug 20 - 02:14 PM
keberoxu 03 Aug 20 - 02:58 PM
Helen 03 Aug 20 - 05:06 PM
keberoxu 03 Aug 20 - 05:28 PM
keberoxu 03 Aug 20 - 06:32 PM
keberoxu 03 Aug 20 - 08:25 PM
leeneia 04 Aug 20 - 01:08 AM
JennieG 04 Aug 20 - 01:37 AM
leeneia 04 Aug 20 - 12:08 PM
leeneia 05 Aug 20 - 11:37 PM
Jack Campin 06 Aug 20 - 08:11 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Aug 20 - 09:31 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Aug 20 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,keberoxu 06 Aug 20 - 03:05 PM
leeneia 07 Aug 20 - 01:16 PM
keberoxu 08 Aug 20 - 02:56 PM
leeneia 08 Aug 20 - 05:54 PM
keberoxu 16 Aug 20 - 02:36 PM
Helen 16 Aug 20 - 04:17 PM
Jack Campin 16 Aug 20 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 16 Aug 20 - 06:09 PM
Jack Campin 17 Aug 20 - 04:03 AM
Waddon Pete 17 Aug 20 - 07:45 AM
Mo the caller 17 Aug 20 - 08:39 AM
leeneia 17 Aug 20 - 10:58 AM
keberoxu 18 Aug 20 - 11:04 AM
banjoman 21 Aug 20 - 07:02 AM
Mrrzy 21 Aug 20 - 08:45 AM
open mike 23 Aug 20 - 01:31 AM
keberoxu 25 Aug 20 - 09:25 PM
JennieG 26 Aug 20 - 02:08 AM
keberoxu 09 Sep 20 - 08:42 PM
keberoxu 11 Sep 20 - 11:49 AM
keberoxu 26 Sep 20 - 06:22 PM
keberoxu 27 Sep 20 - 03:40 PM
keberoxu 30 Sep 20 - 03:12 PM
leeneia 01 Oct 20 - 01:52 PM
keberoxu 09 Feb 23 - 05:01 PM
Sandra in Sydney 10 Feb 23 - 12:47 AM
GUEST,Dick Miles 10 Feb 23 - 02:29 AM
Mo the caller 10 Feb 23 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Beachcomber 10 Feb 23 - 08:02 PM
keberoxu 11 Feb 23 - 09:28 AM
Stilly River Sage 11 Feb 23 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,Beachcomber 11 Feb 23 - 06:15 PM
JennieG 11 Feb 23 - 11:34 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 16 Mar 23 - 06:14 PM
Sandra in Sydney 16 Mar 23 - 06:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Mar 23 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 19 Mar 23 - 06:06 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Mar 23 - 09:03 PM
JennieG 19 Mar 23 - 09:11 PM
leeneia 19 Mar 23 - 11:36 PM
Sandra in Sydney 20 Mar 23 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Mark 20 Mar 23 - 05:55 AM
Sandra in Sydney 20 Mar 23 - 08:38 AM
Donuel 26 Mar 23 - 09:56 PM
keberoxu 25 May 23 - 07:13 PM
Helen 25 May 23 - 07:20 PM
Helen 25 May 23 - 07:22 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 May 23 - 09:49 PM
keberoxu 01 Jun 23 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 03 Jun 23 - 06:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Jun 23 - 10:49 PM
keberoxu 05 Jun 23 - 06:40 PM
JennieG 06 Jun 23 - 12:29 AM
Sandra in Sydney 06 Jun 23 - 06:10 AM
keberoxu 25 Jun 23 - 07:15 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Jun 23 - 09:26 PM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Jun 23 - 09:36 PM
keberoxu 04 Jul 23 - 07:45 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Jul 23 - 11:53 PM
GUEST,paperback 05 Jul 23 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 24 Mar 24 - 07:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Mar 24 - 09:12 PM
The Sandman 25 Mar 24 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,paperback 25 Mar 24 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,keberoxu 25 Mar 24 - 11:08 AM
keberoxu 19 May 24 - 02:07 PM
keberoxu 26 May 24 - 07:58 PM
Jack Campin 26 May 24 - 08:13 PM
keberoxu 26 May 24 - 08:14 PM
keberoxu 01 Jun 24 - 10:19 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Jun 24 - 10:58 AM
keberoxu 03 Jun 24 - 10:43 AM
Sandra in Sydney 04 Jun 24 - 02:03 AM
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Subject: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Aug 20 - 01:48 PM

Well, it isn't much. It isn't even public, speaking strictly.

Four of us are patients in a clinic and,
each of us being classically trained,
we have been reading through classical music together --
we never knew each other before being admitted here.

The youngest of the lot, the violinist, will soon be discharged,
as it is time for school, to which this musician will return.
We hope to see our fellow patient off, when the time comes,
by performing at the clinic together, and our audience will be
the staff and our fellow patients.
(Due to the pandemic, we can't have visitors / guests here.)

In truth the other three musicians (including the violinist)
are all a lot younger than I am, and their technique
is reasonably up to speed, they play often enough,
even if they are not music majors (they aren't)
as I was at their age.

Me, I play the piano part, and for the last thirty years
the only keyboards I have touched have been for computers
(I did learn touch-typing in my youth as well).

So here we are,
practicing the Theme and Variations from
Franz Schubert's Trout Quintet -- just one movement.
It doesn't take long, but it is a lot of work to prepare.
My technique is SO bad.

I have an excuse for the dirty little tricks I am using,
abbreviating the piano part to make it easier to play.
This piece is a quintet -- we're a quartet.
The fifth musical part, the missing part,
is a double-bass viol -- we don't have that player.
I'm using my left hand, at the piano keyboard,
to hit the bass notes, filling in for the missing player,
while my right hand fakes the piano part,
and when the double-bass viol drops out,
then my left hand can grab onto the rest of the piano part.
So it isn't strictly what Schubert wrote,
and the purists would throw a tantrum;
but it makes it possible
for the four of us to play this quintet
and for it to sound good, if not magnificent.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Aug 20 - 02:05 PM

Schubert's music is based on a charming little song he wrote earlier.
And, as you are entitled to my opinion,
this is what I think of the words (by Grillparzer):

this is a truly lousy lyric.

DIE FORELLE

by Franz Grillparzer

In einem Bächlein helle,
Da schoß in froher Eil
Die launischer Forelle
Vorüber, wie ein Pfeil.
Ich stand an dem Gestade
Und sah, in süßer Ruh',
Des muntern Fischleins Bade
Im klaren Bächlein zu.

Ein Fischer mit der Rute
Wohl an dem Ufer stand,
Und sah's mit kaltem Blute
Wie sich das Fischlein wand.
So lang dem Wasser Helle,
So dacht' ich, nicht gebricht,
So fängt er die Forelle
Mit seiner Angel nicht.

[this stanza was suppressed, not set to music]
So scheu'st auch manche Schöne
Im vollen Strom der Zeit
Und sieht nicht die Sirene
Die ihr im Wirbel dräut.
Sie folgt dem Drang der Liebe;
Und eh' sie sich's versieht,
So wird das Bächlein trübe
Und ihre Unschuld flieht.

Doch endlich ward dem Diebe
Die Zeit zu lang; er macht
Das Bächlein tückisch trübe:
Und eh' ich es gedacht,
So zuckte seine Rute;
Das Fischlein zappelt dran;
Und ich mit regem Blute
Sah die Betrogne an.

[Schubert omitted this last stanza]
Ihr, die ihr noch am Quelle
Der sichern Jugend weilt,
Denkt doch an die Forelle:
Seht ihr Gefahr, so eilt!
Meist fehlt ihr nur aus Mangel
Der Klugheit; Mädchen, seht
Verführer mit der Angel --
Sonst blutet ihr zu spät.

(poem published 1785, in Karlsruhe.)


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Aug 20 - 02:14 PM

At Schubert's untimely early death, the same poet, Grillparzer,
wrote the inscription for his tomb.

Die Tonkunst begrub hier einen reichen Besitz,
Aber noch viel schönere Hoffnungen.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Aug 20 - 02:58 PM

If you want to know what
the Theme and Variations from the "Forellen - Quintette"
sound like --

although, we will never in a hundred years
sound as good as this --

here is a filmed performance.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Helen
Date: 03 Aug 20 - 05:06 PM

Thanks for telling us about this performance. Having the opportunity to not only play your piano, but to play with a small group and work towards a performance is ... well, I can only imagine that it is bringing joy into your life.

Please keep us up to date on the progress and also let us know when you all perform the piece and how it goes.

Music is a blessing.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Aug 20 - 05:28 PM

I wonder if any animated cartoon film artist has given
the Disney Fantasia treatment
to Schubert's theme and variations on "Die Forelle" [The Trout].
Maybe it has happened already and I am unaware?
I suppose I ought to look up Schubert at the IMDB website.

The very young colleague who plays violin in our ensemble
took one look at Variation I, and got downright indignant!
In this one, the piano takes the song melody/theme,
and the strings either support or ornament the music.
The violinist, in this one, is required by the composer
to scoot their fingers up the neck practically to the bridge
in order to make the shrill squeaky little trilling ornaments.
What this has to do with sound effects for a bucolic fishing scene
I could not say, so I wondered myself:
are these bird calls? are they mosquitoes?
The indignant violinist, who has a dry sense of humor
and a deadpan delivery, quickly volunteered an opinion:
the little fishy has been caught and is already on the hook,
and that god-awful violin noise is the fish, shrieking for help!

And that's only the first of five variations.

It is in Variation III that I meet my personal battlefield,
in which the piano takes off like a jet plane,
and streams of thirty-second notes fill the piece from start to finish. This is all in the highest registers of the keyboard,
where one's playing is fully exposed and every mistake can be heard.
The theme, in this Variation, is taken up by the cello and string bass; and, especially with that double-bass hamming up the melody,
it sounds less like a little trout than a sporting leviathan,
a whale splashing around, say, off the island of Dominica in the Caribbean, where sperm whales like to raise their young.
While that commotion in the piano sounds less like a babbling brook with a little trout in it, than it does
like a school of dolphins performing acrobatics at sea. It's hilarious. I think that Variation alone should have an animated cartoon.

Then comes Variation IV, and WHAM! We dive into the minor key
and play this loud fast melodramatic theatrical-sounding thing.
And Schubert, at this point, cannot leave well enough alone,
and he starts going through all these switches from minor to major and back to minor, and changing keys every four bars or so ...
until we come back to the babbling brook and the trout.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Aug 20 - 06:32 PM

Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart.

My mistake -- it is he who wrote the poem "Die Forelle,"
not Franz Grillparzer
(who did indeed write Schubert's epitaph, though).

When I have enough time,
a future post to this thread
will submit something in the way of an English translation
so that everyone who doesn't have German
can share my disappointment (okay, disgust) in the text.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Aug 20 - 08:25 PM

This English translation is a patchwork.
This is because composer Schubert set three of the five stanzas above,
and singable translations exist, obviously,
taking only the musical setting into account
and ignoring the other two stanzas.

This post will include a singable English translation, for which
one Frederic Field Bullard takes the credit (c. 1904).


THE TROUT

Down in a brook swift-running
A trout both small and wise
Did dart with happy cunning,
As swift as arrow flies.
Upon the bank I laid me,
And watched, with sweet content,
The waters, cool and shady;
The trout, on pleasure bent.

With rod and line an angler
A-fishing came that way,
And, cruelly exulting,
Saw where the troutlet lay.
'If I am not mistaken,'
Quoth I, 'the brook's so clear,
The trout will ne'er be taken,
Tho' long he persevere.'

[suppressed verse]
In the stream of life,
Many fair young things dart past,
Unaware that a siren
Menaces them from a whirlpool.
Before they are aware of it,
The attraction of love draws them in,
And once the water is muddied,
Their innocence is gone.

At last the persecutor
Stepped down the bank, and stirred
And dimmed the crystal water,
When, quicker than a word,
His cruel rod was bending,
The trout had seized the bait,
And I, with grief heart-rending,
Beheld its cruel fate.

[Schubert did not set this stanza]
Remember the trout, young ladies,
As in the heedless confidence of your youth
You dally at the wellsprings of life:
Run away at the first sign of danger!
Lack of prudence often results in
The shedding of innocent blood.
Before it is too late, maidens,
Beware the fisherman.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: leeneia
Date: 04 Aug 20 - 01:08 AM

Congratulations, keb, on being part of a performing musical group. There's nothing like playing music with others to make the blood sing in your veins - no pun intended.

Don't worry about the missing double-bass player. It's better to play the way you can than to let the music die by going unplayed.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: JennieG
Date: 04 Aug 20 - 01:37 AM

Well done, and congratulations - I admire you!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: leeneia
Date: 04 Aug 20 - 12:08 PM

Tough being the one who has to tell the young violinist that sometimes somebody else gets the lead. Maybe her therapist should be the one to tell her. :-)

Maybe nobody should say anything and let her conclude that it's Schubert's fault.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: leeneia
Date: 05 Aug 20 - 11:37 PM

Thanks for the link, keb. It's a beautiful piece, and listening to it will improve your playing. And I don't think it would hurt a bit if you slowed it down some.

Do you have a date for playing it?


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Aug 20 - 08:11 AM

Just listened to it again (Clifford Curzon and strings from the Vienna Octet). Apart from in the slow movement, I can't hear anywhere that the bowed sustain of a double bass is significant. An electric bass guitar would work just as well.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Aug 20 - 09:31 AM

I'm a big fan of a few of Schubert's late pieces. I love the last three piano sonatas and the String Quintet in C. I love the driving force of the last symphony but I've always had a blind spot when it comes to the Unfinished, Death And The Maiden and the Trout Quintet. For really nice, bubbling troutiferous music, there's the fourth impromptu of his D899 set. Unlike Mozart, who fitted a whole musical life into 35 short years, I feel that Schubert, who died at 31 of syphilis after a lot of messing about with sex workers, was on the brink of greatness rather than already great. Of course, his songs are wonderful, but I don't speaka da lingo...


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Aug 20 - 09:45 AM

I should also have mentioned the two song cycles Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise, and the Wanderer Fantasy for piano as among my favourite Schubert pieces.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 06 Aug 20 - 03:05 PM

Lining up a date to perform, rather than rehearse,
is a challenge in itself.
It's easy for us to agree to rehearse in the evenings
when all the staff (except nursing for the clinic)
have gone home for the day,
and that one room with the grand piano is vacant.

Putting on something for our fellow clinic patients
is a different matter,
and we have roughly seven or eight days to make it happen
before the violinist's discharge.
It still isn't a set date.
Knowing how things get worked out when they are
activities outside the therapeutic schedule,
if it does happen it will be close to the last minute.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Aug 20 - 01:16 PM

I bet your fellow patients enjoy listening to you rehearse. Think how nice it is to be walking down a hall and to hear the sound of real people playing live music.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Aug 20 - 02:56 PM

Leeneia, what you say is true,
as all the comments from said fellow patients have been positive.

Apart from getting everything agreed to
-- it will happen this coming week, it's just going to be loosely done --
the obstacle is the social distancing thing.
As it happens, the room with the decent piano
(as opposed to three rooms with god-awful pianos)
is one of the rooms with a ZOOM set-up,
and that might get thrown into the mix,
keeping the ZOOM circulation amongst the hospital/clinic community network.

I even heard muttering about finding a portable electronic keyboard
that could be set up out of doors,
and when it was muttered in my direction,
I replied,
Well, it would be a first for me, but I'm game
if everybody else wants it that way.

Anything could happen.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: leeneia
Date: 08 Aug 20 - 05:54 PM

That is so nice, keb. It sounds like the facility management is really behind you.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 16 Aug 20 - 02:36 PM

The performance took place on Thursday 13 August 2020
in the room with the decent [and long-suffering] grand piano.

As a performance by patients for patients at the clinic,
the evening had a mixed program[me].

The evening opened with someone singing an excerpt
from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet,
'your children are not your children' etc.
Another performer followed with some
improvisations at the piano, MOR-jazz style.
Then:

Duet for violin and viola, classical composer no one has ever heard of.
Both musicians were a bundle of nerves, and afterwards,
the violinist confessed that near the end of the piece,
when her anxiety peaked and she forgot to look at her sheet music,
she improvised / invented two measures of her part on the spot.

Duet for viola and cello with a gentle piano accompaniment,
from a Shostakovich prelude
which is famous and has been much [re]arranged.
Slow, mournful, minor-key, and deeply emotional.
The audience ate it up, and gave generous applause;
the two string players were very unhappy afterwards
because they thought it ought to have been played better.

Then, one of the clinic's Activities Department staff,
meaning non-clinical and non-therapeutic staff,
who is a chorus director in the real world,
sang the little Schubert song, "Die Forelle,"
with me at the piano. Very well received.

Then I stayed at the piano and was joined by
the violin, the viola, and the cello,
and we plowed our way through
the Theme and Variations movement (Movement IV)
from Schubert's Trout Quintet, based on "Die Forelle."
It wasn't perfect. I certainly wasn't perfect.
But I had played far worse during rehearsals,
and I managed to play okay, and even enjoy myself.
The violinist, as ever, critiqued themselves severely afterwards.
But we all came together and made a joyful noise,
and the applause afterwards was really very satisfying.

The grand piano lives in a large meeting room which has
windows, large windows, on three sides, situated at the end of one building.
Some of the smaller windows are casements which open and shut, and have screens.
For our evening performance, all of the casement windows were opened.
Thanks to social-distancing requirements,
only a small number of people -- performers as well as audience --
were allowed to crowd into the meeting room.
The meeting room doors were open into the foyer,
where folding chairs were occupied by other audience members.
And an uncounted number of people went outdoors
and sat/stood outside the open windows
from which to listen to the performance.

That was a few days ago, and we are still getting compliments.
The violinist, who is Asian-American, contributed to the sendoff
(had to discharge from the clinic to go back to university)
by making enough paper origami to fill a large cardboard box
and giving everybody an origami ornament.
Mine is made with gift-wrapping paper, very colorful,
which has little black-and-white keyboard images
punctuating the multi-colored design.
It lives on top of the dresser in my clinic bedroom.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Helen
Date: 16 Aug 20 - 04:17 PM

keberoxu, I'm so happy that everything went well. Artists are their own worst critics so it's no surprise that the musicians look at it from the "I could have done better" viewpoint, while the audience would have been very, very happy to be given such a wonderful gift.

And you have had the joyful experience of rehearsing together with other musicians. Your first performance in thirty years. That's an achievement to be proud of.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Aug 20 - 05:25 PM

Trying to guess who might have composed the violin/viola duet. It's not a common combination.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 16 Aug 20 - 06:09 PM

Franz Anton Hoffmeister, to answer your question;
his Opus 7, no. 1,
Duet for Violin and Viola in G Major.
Actually they only played the first movement, Allegro.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Aug 20 - 04:03 AM

Seems to have been a well planned and enjoyable gig.

I just looked up Hoffmeister (who I had only vaguely heard of) and he seems to have been more significant than historical memory gives him credit for.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 17 Aug 20 - 07:45 AM

Wonderful Keberoxu! Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Mo the caller
Date: 17 Aug 20 - 08:39 AM

I just looked up Hoffmeister too. Thought I recognised the name as H's edition, and yes, he published Mozart. Can't remember if we sang his edition of the Mozart C minor mass, I know there is more than 1 and the notes are shared differently between the 8 parts, so not all of the online 'learn 2nd alto' cheats are helpful.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: leeneia
Date: 17 Aug 20 - 10:58 AM

Congratulations, keberoxu! I can tell you are still basking in the glow of it, and deservedly so.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 18 Aug 20 - 11:04 AM

You are all very kind with your encouragement and congratulations,
and you have my heartfelt thanks.

The remaining musicians want to keep going!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: banjoman
Date: 21 Aug 20 - 07:02 AM

The Old Trout Band used this music as their theme. We used to say "Last night the OTB played Schubert - and lost."
Good luck and best wishes


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Aug 20 - 08:45 AM

Bully for you!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: open mike
Date: 23 Aug 20 - 01:31 AM

the healing power of music!!! therapeutic for all!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Aug 20 - 09:25 PM

About that Shostakovich prelude,
perhaps you would care to hear what the composer actually wrote.
The little piece is scored for
two violins and piano;

what we performed was a (re)arrangement
where the piano part is the same, but the strings are
viola and cello,
so in some places the melodies go an octave lower than in the original.

Shostakovich Prelude (by way of Macedonia -- good on them!)


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: JennieG
Date: 26 Aug 20 - 02:08 AM

I have been remiss in adding my congratulations - so, well done!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Sep 20 - 08:42 PM

This month we are moving on to Brahms.
We are now looking at Brahms' Opus 91,
in which two songs for voice and piano were in fact composed
to be performed with viola as well, hence informally
they are sometimes called the viola lieder.

The first song is a setting of Friedrich Rückert
describing a beautiful sunset/evening scene.
The second is a German translation of a Spanish lyric
which is for the infant Jesus,
a lullaby sung by the Blessed Mother.

Because Brahms uses a tune --
"Josef lieber Josef mein" -- from traditional music,
the lullaby is easier and more accessible.
The Rückert setting, while very beautiful,
really tests the viola player, as that part
is enormously complex and sophisticated --
it's murder for the violist to sight-read, which
my colleague was doing last night, poor thing.

But both songs are brief and tuneful, and if we ever get them
up to performance speed, and perform them for our fellow patients,
I suspect they will go over well.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Sep 20 - 11:49 AM

I have opened a music thread for the
"Geistliches Wiegenlied" which is
Opus 91, no. 2, by Johannes Brahms.
It is of interest in itself because it is not
a typical art song/German 'Lied' with
a text by a German poet, set to music.

For this song, Brahms helped himself to two different traditions.
For the singer, he set to music a German translation of
a Spanish lyric, from about 1600 A.D.,
of a lullaby to be sung by the Virgin Mary;
it makes no mention of Joseph, but begs the winds in the trees
to stop making so much rustling noises,
that the baby Jesus may not be awakened from slumber.

Now, when Brahms encountered the German-language translated text,
it reminded him of a German Christmas carol, which DOES mention:
"Joseph, lieber Joseph mein ..."
and features the Virgin Mary asking Joseph
to help her rock the baby Jesus to sleep.
Rather than combine the two texts,
composer Brahms borrowed the melody at the beginning of the German carol,
which is played by the viola as a counterpart
to the singer's melody and text.

I thought the song merited its own thread.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 Sep 20 - 06:22 PM

Before month's end, our Trout Trio reunited in a practice room
(with a spinet, not a grand piano --
the night was chilly, and that room was not as cold)
in order to read through some stuff together.

By this time I had actually ordered, and had delivered,
a decent edition score of Schubert's entire Trout Quintet.
I looked over the remaining four movements.
With a violin, as a Trout Quartet,
we could have faked our way through all five movements.
Without a violin, well ... actually
there were two additional movements that we could get away with.

The opening movement and the final (fifth) movement
absolutely require the violin part, so we left those alone.
But our Trout Trio, moving on from the Theme and Variations,
read through the
Scherzo with its attached Trio (the quickest and lightest of all the movements),
and Movement Two, an Andante something or other.
That second movement was the interesting thing.
The violin actually has relatively little to do;
I was able to play the violin part, where it was essential,
with my right hand at the piano keyboard.
In a couple of spots in the second movement,
the viola and the cello (the rest of the Trout Trio here)
have a soulful duet melody,
while the violin, the string bass, and the piano
turn into a rhythm section.

It was only a read-through, but it was a lot of fun.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 Sep 20 - 03:40 PM

The late pianist Emil Gilels, with the Amadeus Quartet,
in their Deutsche Grammophon studio recording of
the second and third movements of
Schubert's Trout Quintet --

the movements referenced in the previous post.


D. 667, movement II: Andante

D. 667, movement II: Scherzo and Trio


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 30 Sep 20 - 03:12 PM

Actually, I am coming to think of
Movements I and V of the Trout Quintet
as the "bookend" movements,
which prop up
the most tuneful movements which happen in the middle.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: leeneia
Date: 01 Oct 20 - 01:52 PM

I'm glad to hear you are still playing. I, in the meantime, have got my dulcimer out of its case and started playing again. It's addictive; I tell myself it's time for bed, but it won't hurt me to play just one more song.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Feb 23 - 05:01 PM

Transition to: my first choral singing in forty-five years.

I just joined the Berkshire Lyric Chorus.
They are preparing Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem (German Requiem)
which is a big piece and they will need MANY voices.

Three days ago I attended the first rehearsal for the new year.
My anxiety and nerves were really intense, I surprised myself.
I did so much choral singing at university that I thought it would go easily.

The rehearsal, regardless, went well enough and
the group sounds promising.
The Brahms concert is scheduled for 4 June, it is now February.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 10 Feb 23 - 12:47 AM

good on you! you have lots of time to get comfortable


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,Dick Miles
Date: 10 Feb 23 - 02:29 AM

well done may you have many more


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Mo the caller
Date: 10 Feb 23 - 12:49 PM

Not an easy piece. We sang it last year. Good when you get into it though. And never having learned German didn't help.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,Beachcomber
Date: 10 Feb 23 - 08:02 PM

From your writing, Keberoxu, you sound like a remarkable man, and an accomplished musician. I wonder what age you are ?


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Feb 23 - 09:28 AM

Thanks for asking.
I am a sixty-five-year-old woman.
The year I went off to university as a freshman was 1975.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Feb 23 - 10:56 AM

The rehearsal, regardless, went well enough and
the group sounds promising.


That's what any of us hopes for! You've landed in the right place at the right time.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,Beachcomber
Date: 11 Feb 23 - 06:15 PM

Delighted to hear that your rehearsals and the "Opening night" went so well Kerberoxu. I'm also not surprised to find that one of your obvious determination is a woman. Good luck to you.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Feb 23 - 11:34 PM

Good for you, Keb! Keep us informed of progress.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 16 Mar 23 - 06:14 PM

The chorus which I joined is participating this weekend
in a variety show spotlighting all things Irish and Irish-American,
a matinee appropriate for the whole family.

That means there will be some groaners amongst the jokes and skits.
The chorus, however, will open and close the show.

In between are two other choruses, one a children's group,
and an Irish dancing troupe.

ON both Saturday and Sunday, the show begins at 3 pm.
And nobody knows, as yet,
how long the whole thing will take.

We'll find out when we perform it.

Saturday we have a 1:30 pm call, as we will be part of a final rehearsal.

I have a funny feeling it is going to be chaotic.
Better that than boring, I suppose . . .


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 16 Mar 23 - 06:34 PM

you are living in Interesting Times ...


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Mar 23 - 10:58 PM

Please report back and tell us how it went. And if someone records for Facebook or posts it on YouTube, a link would be lovely!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 19 Mar 23 - 06:06 PM

Well, both performances are over,
and both were sung to a packed house, with more people than seats,
some were standing along the wall.
The audience applauded warmly and participated in the singalong part.
The experience was fulfilling yet tiring.

Of interest to Mudcatters:
the teenage girls' chorus sang "The Parting Glass"
in an arrangement by the Wailin' Jennys (three-part harmony).

The skits and jokes went down well also.
One of the funny songs was
"Who Put the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy's Chowder?"
THe children's chorus sang that one,
along with the Unicorn song.

Good grief, I almost printed Unicron song -- pandemic misspelling.

Speaking of pandemic:
THis event would be considered a super-spreader,
packed to the walls as the hall was.
I don't know the auditorium's capacity,
it was of course on the small side.
Only a handful of people, mostly older people, wore facemasks;
the rest savored their liberty from facemasks, plainly.

The adult chorus sang:
Deep Peace
Salley Gardens
Danny Boy
Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair
A Gaelic Good Night (an Irish room blessing)

And the dance-school troupe of student Irish step-dancers
brought the house down.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Mar 23 - 09:03 PM

Sounds beautiful!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: JennieG
Date: 19 Mar 23 - 09:11 PM

Sounds like a great concert - well done you, and well done to all the performers!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: leeneia
Date: 19 Mar 23 - 11:36 PM

It sounds like a wonderful concert, keb. We are all proud of you.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 20 Mar 23 - 03:29 AM

I'll second that!!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 20 Mar 23 - 05:55 AM

I'm a little late to the party.

First, congratulations on finding some rewarding outlets for your talents. Long may it continue. I'm much the same age as you and rather frustrated at the moment that I don't have such an outlet.

Then two things about the "Trout".
1) Many years ago I took my eldest son to one of Hilary James' and Simon Mayor's "Musical Mystery Tour" shows, and after that all my children got great pleasure from their cassettes (I said it was many years ago). One cassette included this wonderful treatment of the "Trout Quintet" with non-Schubertian lyrics The Slippery Slimy Trout - hopefully some others will also enjoy it.

2) More recently we got a Samsung Washing Machine and also a Tumble Drier from the same manufacturer. When they finish a cycle, they play a short burst of the "Trout" which always makes me laugh and break into Simon's song...


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 20 Mar 23 - 08:38 AM

my washing machine just BEEPS, but as it's dying I might look for a new one that plays music!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Donuel
Date: 26 Mar 23 - 09:56 PM

Good on you Keb.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 May 23 - 07:13 PM

The same amateur chorus, with which I performed on the weekend of St. Patrick's Day with the Irish theme,
is performing in the next ten days.

This time it is "ein Deutsches Requiem" by Brahms, with soloists and a very full orchestra. So full, in fact, that the chorus director has a little anxiety about the chorus not being full enough to match. A bigger chorus would be more standard towards a performance of this piece. But we are going to attempt it anyway. The performance will be on a Sunday afternoon, the first Sunday in June, and although the performance is indoors, I am hoping that the weather will cooperate.

I'm having to pace myself carefully in rehearsing the Brahms and most probably in the performance to come.
For one thing, I don't have the high notes that I used to have, and I am singing second soprano.
There are places where I simply lip-sync and let the other second sopranos carry the line without me. It's a dirty trick, but it works.
The Brahms Requiem is seven movements long and lasts over one hour.
So I feel justified in doing whatever I have to in order to not burn out my singing voice.

This coming week, we will have a piano rehearsal on Memorial Day evening, and then there will be rehearsals every other day, two of them with the orchestra; the performance is two days after the last rehearsal.

I hope the experience is a happy one. There is good reason to be hopeful of this. It's still a big undertaking and if I am honest, I have a little fear about how all of us are going to get through it.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Helen
Date: 25 May 23 - 07:20 PM

Sandra, we recently bought a new musical washing machine too. It's kinda fun.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Helen
Date: 25 May 23 - 07:22 PM

And keberoxu, I hope your performance goes well. Even the lip-syncing.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 May 23 - 09:49 PM

Keb, a friend of mine in New York City loved to sing with groups. He was active with at least one barbershop quartet. We were both park rangers at Ellis Island, and one day he came out with his group and the stood on the balcony of the Great Hall and sang a couple of songs. The acoustics were amazing! Brooklyn has a robust Norwegian population and he also performed with a Norwegian male choir. In my part of the Puget Sound where many Scandinavians settled there were lots of these groups, and I heard a few as a kid. I went to a concert Joe performed in and it was like seeing all of my cousins and great uncles there on stage - tall, thin, pale Norwegian men. The fact that my friend was a fairly brown skinned, black haired Italian meant that he was the raisin in the oatmeal up there. And after the concert he said they surprised him by listing a song he hadn't practices, so he did the lip sync thing the whole time. We wouldn't have known if he didn't tell us.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 01 Jun 23 - 04:36 PM

We had our first rehearsal in the concert hall, with the orchestra.
Nobody warned us that the hall would have the air-conditioning and the fan going the whole time.
It was so cold and drafty in there!
I was thankful that I had brought a jacket and worn shoes and socks,
even though the daytime had had sandals temperatures.

The orchestra is in front of the chorus,
and the conductor is in front of the orchestra --
so there is a distance onstage between conductor and chorus.
That was enough to disorient some of the chorus members,
who are used to being up close and personal.

The Brahms Requiem sounds so beautiful with the orchestra!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 03 Jun 23 - 06:46 PM

Last night we had our final rehearsal, which was long and tiring,
my energy flagging the whole time.

Then when rehearsal ended and we headed from the concert hall for our parked cars,
the heavens opened up and the rain absolutely poured down.
The rain was in the forecast, so I had come prepared (umbrella, waterproof footwear),
but many of my fellow chorus members were totally unprepared for rain.

It had been such a hot day -- triggering these thunderstorms --
and the road pavements were steaming in the rain, looked like fog.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Jun 23 - 10:49 PM

I'm glad you got to hear the chorus with the orchestra - when there's an audience it will be more exhilarating. Enjoy the experience!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 05 Jun 23 - 06:40 PM

Well, the Brahms Requiem has been performed. It was yesterday.
The day was very cold for the first Sunday in June,
and some of us turned up wearing winter coats over our concert blacks.
But at least there was no rain, and the sun came out.

The performance went very well, I think.
It's hard to tell how it actually sounds when you are in the thick of it.
We choristers were behind the orchestra, and
the orchestra was facing away from us, toward the audience.
So we literally did not hear what the audience heard.
But what I could hear sounded good.

I can't say it was a transporting experience for me.
No, I was working hard the whole time,
more perspiration than inspiration, for certain.
Watching the conductor's baton, glancing at the musical score and turning pages,
taking deep breaths in the right places,
spitting out all that German diction . . .
in the meantime the soles of my feet went somewhat numb
from standing for the better part of forty-five minutes
before there was a place where the chorus could sit down for a time.

The hall had a few empty seats but it was largely filled, and it's a large hall.
So we had a good turnout, and we were warmly applauded,
you can't ask for more from the audience
(they listened very attentively, with no disruptions).

Afterwards I met up with a dear friend
and we went out for cups of hot chocolate at a nearby cafe.

Then I went home and collapsed!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: JennieG
Date: 06 Jun 23 - 12:29 AM

Well done, keberoxu - you certainly earned the hot chocolate and the collapse after that!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 06 Jun 23 - 06:10 AM

as person with chronic lower back & leg pain, I salute you! In the 90s a friend sang in classical choir with an injured foot which she propped on a brick or something to lift it up.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Jun 23 - 07:15 PM

The chorus director and I see each other at least weekly,
he comes and provides music in the place where I am staying these days.

So he and I have reviewed the performance,
as people do who have been thick in the battle of it.
There were many things that pleased the director.

But he has some justified animus towards the tympani player.
The stage was so crowded that the tympani had to be positioned,
not on the same level as the rest of the orchestra,
but on a platform well above them, where the drums were clearly heard.

And in spite of the director's constant signals to play more softly,
the tympani player kept a big ****-eating grin on his face
and played as loudly as ever.
It was so bad that a flock of singers in the alto section,
unfortunately positioned right next to the tympani,
abandoned their posts in order to move back and center,
away from the drums, where they could hear themselves think if not sing.

I believe there will be a video online at some point of the concert,
but it is in production this month, if I heard right.

I miss those weekly chorus rehearsals,
but I am glad the performance is over!
The chorus does not meet again until September,
when we start rehearsing the annual Christmas concert.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Jun 23 - 09:26 PM

Too bad about that drummer! It sounds like a lot of work, but it also sounds like time well spent.

Let us know when the video is released, please!


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Jun 23 - 09:36 PM

I'll second that


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Jul 23 - 07:45 PM

I seem to have forgotten how to make blickies. However,

my amateur group, the Berkshire Lyric Chorus,
has its own YouTube channel,
where you can hear our concert this year
as well as videos of concerts from several previous years.


https://www.youtube.com/@berkshirelyric1600


Link added. ---mudelf


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Jul 23 - 11:53 PM

This is your performance link. The Brahms Requiem. Nice sound in the video; did you like the acoustics? The camera pans the chorus at this point; do you see yourself? (You don't need to point yourself out.)


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 05 Jul 23 - 01:11 PM

What a nice looking group

Tea & Melba Toast, please


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 24 Mar 24 - 07:24 PM

Very late response to Stilly's question,
if I could see myself in the concert video,
because I just now reviewed the video myself.
I am visible because I have this cap of short white hair
surrounded by women in solid black dresses.
The white hair really stands out -- like a fake wig or something!

And, you know, we really did sound good.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Mar 24 - 09:12 PM

It is a nice performance, given a little time it lets you watch it as a spectator, not remembering standing there. And there are several caps of white hair in that group.

What will you be singing next?


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Mar 24 - 05:07 AM

well done, it is important to keep at it if you can, if one doesnt then the nerves can take over for a lot of people, and it becomes harder the longer the person doesnt do it


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 25 Mar 24 - 08:56 AM

Are you Black Irish, keberoxu? They're known to go prematurely gray. It's not so bad, at least people hold the door for you ( - :


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 25 Mar 24 - 11:08 AM

The next program for the chorus I sing with is
Anton Bruckner's Mass no. 3 in f minor,
which is a massive undertaking.
We are rehearsing it now and it is very difficult, moreover it is long.
At least the text is Latin,
as opposed to last year's Brahms which was all in German.

And my hair used to be auburn-red, since you ask, paperback.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 May 24 - 02:07 PM

The Berkshire Lyric Chorus, which I sing in, will perform two weeks from today.
We're opening with Da Pacem Domine, a short a cappella work by Arvo Part.
Then it's Brahms's Nänie for chorus with full-scale orchestra, although the work is short.
Finally Bruckner's Mass no. 3, long enough for an entire concert in itself.
(Our director likes lengthy programs for some reason.)

The performance will be in Seiji Ozawa Hall on the Tanglewood campus in Lenox, Mass.
I am hoping the weather will not be too hot,
and the director is hoping we sell enough tickets to pay the rent on the hall.
(The Tanglewood season has not started yet, and our chorus always gets their performance in
before the start of the BSO season.)


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 May 24 - 07:58 PM

Da Pacem Domine has a Latin antiphon for its text. It reads:

Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostris:
quia non est alius qui pugnet pro nobis,
nisi tu, Deus noster.

The Book of Common Prayer version reads:
Give peace in our time, O Lord.
Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 May 24 - 08:13 PM

That Bruckner mass was one of the first classical pieces I ever heard live - monumental, overwhelming work. (Dorian Choir, 1960s, New Zealand). It's incredible that mostly-amateur choirs can do stuff like that.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 May 24 - 08:14 PM

I will spare you Friedrich Schiller's original text
(unless someone insists on asking for it) to
Nänie, set to music by Brahms.

Here with much help from the Wikipedia article
is a modest attempt at an English translation.


Even beauty must die! That which subjugates men and Gods alike,
Moves not the steely heart of the Stygian God Zeus.

Only once did love come to soften the Lord of the Shadows,
And just at the threshold, sternly, he called back his gift.

Nor did Aphrodite stanch the bleeding wounds of that fair youth,
Torn savagely by the boar in his delicate body.

Neither was the godlike hero rescued by his immortal mother,
When he, at the Scaean gate, falling, fulfilled his fate.

But she rises from the sea with all the daughters of Nereus,
Raising a lament over her glorious son.

Behold! The gods weep, all the goddesses weep,
That the beautiful perishes, that perfection itself dies.

But a lament in the mouth of those who loved the departed one is a noble thing,
For that which is ordinary goes down to Orcus in silence.



That's Schiller for you, and Brahms has the last word in his interpretation,
going back to the penultimate line with which to close the piece:

"Auch ein Klaglied zu sein im Mund der Geliebten ist herrlich."

The music is ineffable, it moves me to tears.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 01 Jun 24 - 10:19 AM

Our chorus got in the newspaper. We got a story covering
our performance tomorrow afternoon.

Unfortunately, only newspaper subscribers online can view the story,
so I can't link to it. It's in the Berkshire Eagle.

The report interviewed our director about the music we are performing.
They also interviewed the soprano soloist,
as she is a former chorister who came up through the ranks,
beginning at the age of fifteen, with our group.
So she is a local girl made good, getting her first solo gig
with three other singers who are from out of town, in the quartet of soloists.

I'm getting excited about our concert tomorrow.
Tickets are selling well, and the weather should be good.
(It's not an outdoor concert, though,
we are performing indoors in a concert hall.)

Jack Campin, thank you for your enthusiasm about the Bruckner.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Jun 24 - 10:58 AM

It sounds like fun - I hope everyone has been able to rehearse free of various respiratory diseases making the rounds. Post any follow-up articles if you make it to the local arts publications or channels.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Jun 24 - 10:43 AM

Well, the Berkshire Lyric Chorus had its spring concert yesterday,
and we choristers are recovering from the strenuous performance.
Thankfully the concert was well attended
(to cover the rent paid for the hall, and the orchestra),
and people in the audience have let us know they liked it.
Actually the Bruckner Mass made a strong impression,
at least on those people who didn't think it lasted too long.
Some of them were in tears, they were so deeply moved.

There was concern on my part that
I would feel too emotional while singing the music;
not the case, I was working too hard and
concentrating on the conductor too closely to get emotional about it.

There may be a video of the performance,
but it will be a while before it is ready for YouTube or wherever.

I'll see the conductor socially tomorrow night,
and we'll see if he is still exhausted by the whole thing.
Actually I think it was a big charge-up for him, unlike the chours.


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Subject: RE: my first performance in thirty years
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 Jun 24 - 02:03 AM

well done choristers, musicians, conductor & audience!


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