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Jul. 11th, 2011

freewaydiva: (Music)
...where was I?

Yes. Saturday!

I ran into an unexpected face in the hotel lobby on Saturday. Turns out that one of my favorites from last year in Seattle decided to cross the pond this year. Yay! Ran into a few other familiar faces at breakfast, and then we were off to the school to get ourselves situated. I'm in a different dorm than the last time. One without ethernet cables in the rooms, for all that the internet is alive and well, there. (Fortunately, another dorm we're using has extras, hence my typing here, now.)

This year, as you may have heard me wax on about at great and wondrous length, is a bit different, in that we're doing Thomas Tallis' "Spem in alium," a 40(!) voice motet. However, it is also delightfully the same in a lot of respects. This year the US and Canada are well-represented, as well as England, Sweden, Italy, Russia, Spain, Australia, Germany and France (an ex-pat, but still...she lives where she lives). Several people are here from my last trip, which has made it really easy to slip right into the pattern, and there are lots of new folks who are just delightful. It seems to be a decent blend of personalities, and I have to mention how high the musicianship bar is, this year. We're tearing through sight-reading like it's no big deal, which is making it even more fun since the angst is lower.

The food, as expected, is fairly dreadful. Apparently that's something upon which the kitchen, here, prides itself. ::blink::

So, for those playing along at home, the music for this session is as follows (and please go track down youtube footage or audio recordings - it's lovely stuff!):

Spem in alium - Tallis
Dum Transisset - Taverner
2nd Service (Magnificat/Nunc Dimittis) - Byrd
Verbum Caro - Sheppard
Ave Maria - Parsons
Domine, quis habitabit - Parsons
The Lord's Prayer - Sheppard
Christe qui lux - White
Te lucis ante terminum/Procul recedant - Tallis

In addition, there's compline and sharing, but more on that later.

The beds are horrible, the tiny irritating bug life is prolific, and the bar is well-stocked. Thankfully, there are two coffee shops, two doors apart, directly across the street and a lovely little restaurant tucked away behind the parish church, so I will neither starve nor thirst to any great extent, while I am here.

Sleep, on the other hand, may be a bit hard to come by...
freewaydiva: (Music)
Sunday was the first full day of Tallis-ing. It always feels like Monday, to me, and it takes me well into the afternoon to remember that it isn't, which explains why nothing is open. Also, quick props out to the Old Wisteria Hotel - I'd forgotten my plug converter in my room when I checked out, and they sent me a very nice email to let me know. When I was coming up the walk on Sunday, the really nice receptionist - Katie, I think - had it in her hand to give to me. Great service!

So, the day quickly got into the normal pattern. Notices, warm up, Spem rehearsal, break, full-choir rehearsal, short lecture, lunch, Spem rehearsal, break, small group rehearsal, break, another small group rehearsal, supper, full choir rehearsal, compline rehearsal, compline, bar. It's a lot of singing. A LOT of singing. Hard, but fun work. And we're making serious headway with some challenging stuff.

One of the things I really love about doing this course, is that Peter and some of the tutors are always researching the subject area, something from which we benefit by being their performance lab-rats. Last year, it was a piece that Deb's colleague found moldering in the back of a convent in Italy. This year, Peter found and arranged the Missa Euge bone by Tye, which is GLORIOUS. Really lush and lovely. We tackled the Agnus Dei on Sunday evening, and it's just beautiful. I'm assuming that we'll work it into the concert rotation, somehow. Yay!

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