One of the reasons I haven’t posted much this week is that I have spent a lot of time at Symphony Hall, getting ready for the first concert of the season with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. The program, an evening of compositions by Maurice Ravel, includes a complete performance of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, his brilliant ballet composed in response to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
For much of the work, the chorus has an atmospheric rather than a soloistic part; there is no text, for one thing, but rather humming and vocalizing with various vowels. But there is a section near the middle that woke me up in yesterday’s orchestra rehearsal: a fairly difficult section for chorus a cappella (mostly—there are a few punctuation points provided by the orchestra in places). In the chorus room the section was difficult and muddy. In the hall, on the other hand, with James Levine conducting and with the orchestra providing responses to our lines, it was a completely different beast, raising my hair and pricking my skin in a way that hasn’t happened musically in a very long time. If we can recreate half of what happened in yesterday’s rehearsal, the performances tomorrow and Saturday night should be quite special.
Nota bene: we’re also taking this show to Carnegie Hall on Monday night. So all of you New York-based readers (yes, Tin Man, I’m talking to you), come check us out.