Monday, April 9, 2012

Mozart Requiem

The concert we'd all been looking forward to since September finally arrived last weekend. We performed the Requiem in Woolsey Hall with a wonderful orchestra of professional musicians, and soloists from the Glee Club. Although we only had a few weeks to practice the chromatic runs in the fugues, debate the contributions of Levin and Sussmayr, agonize over the beauty of the dissonances in the Confutatis, and learn to "call upon deep wells of personal frustration" while singing the Dies Irae, we savored every minute we were able to sing this masterpiece in German Latin. Rachel Protacio '15 writes about her experience:

Mozart.  So much tradition, so much excitement, so much wishing we could sing it again.  For me, Glee Clubbers intrinsically represent a wide range of perspectives when it comes to music, and yet Mozart’s Requiem almost immediately captivated us all, bringing us on a gleefully shared journey of twists and turns, bashings of Süssmayr, a myriad of firsts, and ultimately, a wonderfully-received concert.

After months of rehearsal, the long-anticipated Saturday arrived, and I am completely sure that Mozart was running through the heads and voices of every one of us.  (“Confutatis” during breakfast, the Introitus as we trekked to Woolsey for rehearsal, one or two movements more before we made it on stage.)  More importantly, our first non-stop run-through during morning rehearsal was exhilarating.  In the empty Woolsey, you can hear the music reverberating after the end of each phrase, and hearing the echoing grandness of all our voices singing the Requiem with the accompaniment of the orchestra portended an extraordinary concert.

So began the firsts: all the newbie Gleeple performed for the first time on the stage of Woolsey with an orchestra, a quintessential Glee Club experience; most of us heard the amazing solo quartets of extremely talented members for the first time and were blown away; Abigail our manager gave her first and last pep talk and inspired us to sing knowing that we could make our one performance of the Requiem special and memorable; Jeff told us with fifteen minutes to go before the concert that we would be filmed, which was quite the novelty for those (i.e. all) of us who did not expect it.  I might also add that for me, who entered the Glee Club with perhaps minimal knowledgeability about the Requiem, the experience in general was one of pure excitement.  Many times, I thought about how rehearsal accompanying for part of the work affected my experience of it.  It afforded me the chance to hear every voice part from my seat at the piano.  Even more interesting was my hearing how the reduction was actually divided up among the instruments in the orchestra.  What great music!  No wonder the Glee Club anticipated this one concert all year!  Moreover, nicely tacked onto the beginning of our concert was Ave verum corpus, which is both musically relevant to the Requiem and, as the concert began, was a gorgeous and tranquil way to lead the audience into the evening.

The performance itself was so well attended, and our desire to share our music with everyone surely drove the concert.  It could not have gone better, and the audience graciously showed that they thought so, too.  It was absolutely a concert to remember.  At the end of the day, our experience with the Requiem was one of great enjoyment and accomplishment, and it left each of us with great music that even now is running through my head.