Josef Rheinberger: Kyrie from ‘Mass in E flat’
VOCES8

There are times when a student really needs to play a solo being worked on in front of an audience. The experience of doing that is so important. But where to play?

Wellllll … if you are a church goer I can highly recommend that. It can be a very safe place to play, and the congregation will be quite appreciative if you have prepared well and are ready to do that. (I did attend a service once where the playing by a beginning adult student was so poor that it was incredibly painful and someone in charge even came up to me after and apologized — I suppose because I was a professional — which was rather sad. So DO prepare, and ask your teacher if you are ready to do this please.)

You can also play at senior centers and rest homes. You have to be ready to have some interruptions by your “audience” but even that can be a good thing for you: you learn how to keep going and not let distractions cause an issue with your playing.

You can play for your school if you have talent shows or the like. (But of course some students can be brutal and mean so only do this if it’s a safe option.)

Perhaps, if you are young, you have a parent with a workplace that allows music in the lunchroom for entertainment. Ask!

The most important thing is to get experience performing in front of a live audience. It helps one deal with the inevitable (mostly) nerves. It is also informative: do you have the endurance to get through a work? (I played a solo in my senior year of high school and I’d never tried to get through the entire work without stopping. Turns out that between my nerves, the reed battle, playing band works right before the solo, and lack of experience I learned a painful lesson: I couldn’t play the entire piece without falling apart!)

Just some ideas for you … don’t just assume that “I play it perfectly at home!” is enough to guarantee you can play it well when you are in a performance.

This is a quick, “I really should post about this now” kind of entry because I was offered a copy of this book about the Philadelphia Orchestra’s trip to China in 1973 quite a while back. I immediately wrote back to say “yes, I’d love to read it!”, as it sounded so interesting … and it is. But I’ve been neglectful in posting, and of course the reason the book was sent to me was so I could promote it.

These days going to China isn’t as huge a thing (although I’ve never been), but I remember when my husband’s aunt went shortly after things opened up. It was a gigantic deal. This book covers the tour with interesting little tidbits and interviews and I highly recommend it.

The issues with music, music choices, and the disagreement over playing Beethoven’s 6th (I had no clue Eugene Ormandy didn’t like the work before reading this) are covered along with so much more. Reading about the history and the rules about what could or could not be played and heard in China is fascinating. (I did have some parents who talked to me about growing up there when things were very restricted in so many ways — If one wore something resembling bell bottoms someone with a scissors would come and cut up the bottom of the pant legs!)

I have yet to finish the book (I’m a slow reader!), and I think I’ll go spend some more time with it right now.

William Byrd: Ave Verum
VOCES8

TEXT
Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine,
cuius latus perforatum fluxit sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.

O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.
Miserere mei. Amen.

TRANSLATION
Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary,
who has truly suffered,
was sacrificed on the cross for mortals,
whose pierced side flowed with blood:
Be for us a foretaste [of Heaven]
in the final judgement.

Oh sweet, oh pious, oh Jesus, son of Mary,
Have mercy on me. Amen.

I don’t like competitions. I used to say I’m not competitive, but I have learned, from playing Scrabble with my daughter, that in fact I truly AM competitive. And I want to win. Always. I was reminded of this, too, because our older son pulled out the Scrabble game that used to live here and score sheets had been saved. How many times did I write, “Patty wins. AGAIN!!”? Or “Patty allowed Dan to win this time,”? Sadly, many, many times (especially the former, since I grew up on Scrabble and he didn’t)! So yeah, I’m competitive. I admit it.

But I still don’t like competitions. Sort of like my not liking auditions.

I’m not talking (or writing) about competitions or auditions that include me: I don’t do either. I’m talking about the ones I watch.

Why?

Because I always feel sorry for the people who don’t win. They are all such fine musicians. On a different day a different person might come in first. That’s how it goes.

Still, I must admit I’m rather hooked on watching the Cliburn competition. The pianists are just so astounding!

So I might not like competitions, but I still do watch them. It’s encouraging to see younger musicians out there with talent that far surpasses mine. It’s wonderful to hear their musicality at such young ages. I look forward to seeing where these amazing Cliburn contestants will go with their talents.

The Cliburn competition is nearly over, but you can catch a bit more live, and you can always check out the past performances on the Cliburn YouTube page.

Richard During: Ave Verum Corpus
Sung by Wong Xiu Min, Rachel Chia, Sophia Soon, Damian Teo, Ethan Chia, Teo Jun Hua, Seow Mao Yu, Kenny Tan, Jason Eng, Chia Chee An

It’s been reported that an oboist has been named as the new principal of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The blog begins with this:

Reliable sources — from multiple time zones, FWIW — have confirmed that Marc Lachat has been offered the position of Principal Oboe of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Of the six finalists I identified previously, as many as four were “qualified” by the orchestra’s audition committee, and Gustavo Dudamel (Music & Artistic Director) chose him.

But I’ll leave it at that so you read it from the source.

Bach: Cantata BWV 37 “Wer da gläubet und getauft wird”
J.S.Bach Foundation

From the YouTube page:
Choir and Orchestra of the J. S. Bach Foundation
Rudolf Lutz – Conductor
Soloists:
Bernhard Berchtold – Tenor
Matthias Helm – Bass

Johann Sebastian Bach – Cantata BWV 37 “Wer da gläubet und getauft wird” (Who believeth and is baptized)

00:00 Cantata BWV 37, Concert from 21.05.2021
00:40 Chorus: Wer da gläubet und getauft wird
03:33 Aria (tenor) – Der Glaube ist das Pfand der Liebe
10:37 Chorale (duet soprano, alto) – Herr Gott Vater, mein starker Held
13:31 Recitative (bass) – Heil und Segen
14:25 Aria (bass) – Der Glaube schafft der Seele Flügel
17:22 Chorale – Den Glauben mir verleihe

William Byrd: Haec Dies
VOCES8

TEXT
Haec dies quam fecit Dominus:
exultemus et laetemur in ea,
alleluia.

TRANSLATION
This is the day which the Lord hath made:
let us be glad and rejoice therein.
Alleluia.

Scott Hostetler playing the Brahms Trio … simply gorgeous.