On top of this more musical focus, there is the incredible music of Bach. I found the energy of performing this masterwork to be different from other performances. Part of this is the story, of course, but I was also keenly aware of how great the music is. It is pristine, clear, meditative and yet passionate and expressive – so human and so divine. I wanted to perform well not to feel good about myself and my work, but because I felt that Bach’s music demanded it of me. I felt that it was a privilege to sing, and I ended up coming to the stage from a place of humility. It was a great relief, and I felt like it was a form of spiritual spring cleaning in a way. I certainly feel fresher and more ready to work now that I am back at home.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Immersed in Bach last weekend in Chicago, I began to notice how much my ego has come to play a role in my music making as of late. Part of it is the nature of singing oratorio pieces as opposed to opera. We show up to rehearse, rehearsals are short and to the point, and then we perform. The focus is on the music, and on the group as a whole and less on people’s voices and how high or fast they can sing (Carmina Burana excepted). The operatic world can be very focused on things like fach (a vocal niche in terms of repertoire), the size of a given role, how well you sing the high note in the aria, etc. Part of this is because opera is a form of theater, while oratorio work is a more musically focused event. I feel blessed to be able to do a healthy mix of both.