I came home last night drunk. Not that my breath would have triggered any reaction on the RBT which often sits on Pittwater Road in Manly on a Saturday night, but I was nevertheless intoxicated, pie eyed, over the eight, or whatever other description there may be – well and truly drunk.
The reasons for this euphoria are easy to explain.
Firstly, I had just been a part of a stirring performance of a wonderful piece of music: Brahms’ A German Requiem. The more we have rehearsed it, the more I have come to realise that the combination of text and music are amongst the supreme examples of choral music. The words are well-chosen. They are profound in their exploration of the perennial human mysteries of life and death. The music makes the words come alive in a most vivid and dramatic manner. It imbues them with extra significance, painting colourful pictures in sound which etch themselves into the mind of the listener.
Secondly, I experienced a heady feeling that we had together done justice to the memory of our much loved late Concertmaster, Alexandra. It was indeed fitting that this concert should be dedicated to her memory. In preparing for and performing this concert, we somehow had the opportunity to come to terms with her untimely passing, perhaps even to allow ourselves to move on to the next challenges, as she would have surely wished us to do.
Thirdly, it seemed to me that we had given of our best for Carlos, an important issue at every concert but particularly at this one. It seemed that everyone in the choir and orchestra was committed to doing the very best they could to make the performance worthy of the music and of the concert’s dedicatee. It worked. Carlos commented afterwards, “Tonight the Choir was not just singing. You were making music. You were living the feeling of the music.” There can be little higher praise. Yet this is a modest return for all that Carlos gives to us. He teaches and cajoles us, he shares his knowledge and love of music with us, he opens his inner self to us to reveal the secrets of the music we sing. It cannot be said too many times: we are most fortunate to have such an accomplished musician and generous individual as our conductor.
And lastly, I and all the evening’s musicians had been showered with compliments from audience members, who clearly more than enjoyed the performance. “Wonderful!” “The best concert ever!” “Such a triumph for an amateur choir!” “Full marks on a stellar performance!” “What a magnificent achievement!” It is both satisfying and hugely exhilarating to be part of a group whose collective efforts can move people in this way.
So that’s how I came be drunk last night. And now, the morning after, it’s time to sober up. A hangover due to alcohol can supposedly be cured by taking more alcohol – the proverbial hair of the dog. So how will I be sobering up today? By singing, of course!