Concert yesterday

Here’s the program.
We didn’t take pictures yesterday, but here’s one from last week in Lowell, at the ALL gallery: [Cantabile band]

The Cantabile
Band
does a fair amount of performing for a dropin group, but
it’s mostly things like The
Walk for Hunger
and background music at Boston Wort Processors picnics.

There’s a big difference between that and playing a concert for
a bunch of people who have paid money for the privilege of sitting
and listening to the music.

This difference may be particularly acute in the case of the
Renaissance polyphony that we specialize in. There’s a fairly
long distance between being able to sing it well enough that
everybody in the group enjoys it, or so that people walking by
think it’s pretty, and being able to actually stand in front of an
audience and put together each line in its precise relationship to
all the other lines so that the audience can hear it all.

Five people from the dropin group signed up for this concert.
Three of us don’t treat it as a dropin group, and come every week,
and learn the music we work on as we work on it. Two of them come
much less often, and started rehearsing this playlist in January
with very little acquaintance with any but the more commonly
performed pieces.

In addition, the soprano/harpsichord player fell and broke two
ribs and her left wrist in early February.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached this
concert. I knew it would be a stretch when I signed up to do it.
I think I can report with satisfaction that we did stretch. I can
also report that if you’d been there you could have seen a number
of places where we could have stretched harder or better. But I
think the concert yesterday was what that group can do this week,
and if we turn out to be able to do something better next month or
next year, it will be largely because of the work we did the last
two months.

Things I personally learned include:

  • Always make anything you’re playing comfortable. If it
    isn’t after a couple of weeks of practicing, either change it or
    drop it. One of the pieces I got a lot of compliments on after
    the concert was the van Eyck variations on Come Again,
    which I interspersed with the 6 verses of Dowland’s song as the
    ending number on the concert. Since it was interspersed, I had
    to play it on the G alto so that it would be in the same key we
    were singing in. On that instrument, I can’t reliably hit the
    low G, so I was getting tense about it and not hitting other
    things which should be easy. So I just rewrote the piece so
    that there weren’t any low G’s.
  • Always make sure that everybody knows where the cadence
    points are, and rehearse starting from each of them. This way,
    if someone makes a terrible mistake and gets lost, they can get
    back again at the next cadence. In the Lowell tryout, it turned
    out some people couldn’t do this on The Silver Swan.
    We worked hard on that piece on last Tuesday’s rehearsal.

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