Interesting couple of weeks at St Paul’s. Four pieces of mine are slated for the Evensong we are singing at 5pm Sunday, 17 December; and three of them we read for the first time only this past Wednesday, the 6th. There is, of course, a lot of finishing ahead; but at the least I am relieved that there were fewer train-wrecks in the initial read-through of the Magnificat than I might have expected. The Nunc dimittis and O Gracious Light went pretty smoothly, as they ought. And it was the third time we’ve had a swing at Nuhro, which is still a bit of a distance from ready, but achievable. I simply do not know quite when we’ll rehearse everything, not only for the 17th, but the ton of music which we’ve got on our plate for two services on the 24th (a Lessons & Carols in the morning, and the Christmas Eve service at 8pm). In the past, we’ve always had supplementary Saturday afternoon rehearsals before the special Sunday afternoon events, but no such rehearsals are on the schedule (and while in musical principle I would welcome them as late additions, practically, I cannot be there anyway, as my Saturday afternoons in December are all hired out). Recent track records show that we don’t cover nearly so much ground in the Wednesday evening rehearsals as we need to, and if anything, this need is yet more intense this month.
We shall see.
[ 8 Dec 2006 ]
In hindsight, I had more foundation for apprehension than I was quite permitting myself to yield to at the time. This was the third (and probably final) Evensong at St Paul's in Boston to contain music of mine. Both the first (16 November 2003, under Mark Engelhardt's direction) and second (19 March 2006, myself directing) featured music newly composed for the occasions; and (one might almost say) in spite of the pressures of preparing "untried" music like that, both yielded creditable performances, which the composer has been able to permit the larger public (small though his larger public be) to hear. No such matter, from the Evensong from 17 December 2006. Indeed, how could it be otherwise, when the choir (most of them new to the Cathedral as of two and a half months prior) did not read through the music together until the 6th (eleven days before the performance).
If I had been in charge of the choir . . . but no, no: that way madness lies.