A week to remember

Next week will be very special for members of the Choir.

All the preparation and planning will come to fruition as we move towards the culmination of fourteen weeks rehearsing Handel’s Messiah.  As Carlos said last night, this is the time to see the music as a whole, to feel the overarching message permeating the work by understanding connections between individual pieces.

Some people prefer the buzz of the performances.  For me, the most magic moments come at the last rehearsal.  The music is all together, and there are no distractions.

Distractions?  Well, for those of us who are easily distracted, the audience can be quite a challenge.  Weren’t Fred and Linda supposed to coming tonight?  Who is that in their seats?  Or maybe they are somewhere else?  Or perhaps they are coming tomorrow?Then someone walks out stifling a cough or something worse, and then the doors at the back open and a car drives past or the front-of-house folk busy themselves with the poor stricken owner of the cough or worse.  And that could be just the first quarter of an hour!

There was an opportunity at the recent Sydney Chamber Music Festival to ask professional musicians how they manage to avoid being distracted by the audience.  The answer is that for them it is not an issue, not just when the auditorium is unlit but even when the it is fully illuminated.  Cellist Michael Goldschlager put it succinctly when he said that for him a performance is a contract between him and the composer, (not the audience), where he reproduces to the best of his ability the sounds which the composer intended.  The audience is in a way immaterial; if they happen to be there that is fine, but he would play the same even if there were no audience.

Next weekend we will play to two full houses, houses full of potential distractions..  Maybe I need a few lessons in the Alexander Technique to improve my focus.  Maybe I should discipline myself to watch only Carlos.

Whatever, I suspect that next Thursday will remain my moment of the week.