13 April 2009

Non-Sensational Emergence of a Psalm Setting

After the ‘build-up’ [1.] of the past couple of posts, the actual recording of the first performance of Exaltabo te, Deus will no doubt be an anti-climax. The recording system and environment were a considerable distance from ideal. To the good of the ledger: My choir were brave and sang the piece with soul.

I wrote it thinking even more breadth of tempo, but for that (of course) a larger group than this brave band of singers would be required, so that phrases can be staggered without sacrifice of the texture. Whatever the shortcomings of this, it is a truer image of the piece than I was able to give when I pecked through the fresh pencil MS. at St Vincent’s Archabbey for the first, small, puzzled (but sympathetic) audience.

And, again, this performance ‘records’ the extreme ‘practicality’ of a cut, with which the composer is pointedly not happy. Indeed, he is horrified at the thought that future choir directors may consider any such cut ‘authorized’ because of the existence of this recording. So let the record state that the cut was made unwillingly, and only with the consideration that it was either shorten the piece, or not have any document of a performance of the piece (for, as I was foresighted to surmise, it did not prove possible to record the piece when we later sang it in its entirety). [2.]

[1.] “You call that build-up? That’s a disgrace to build-up . . . .”

[2.] Come to think of it, I’m not at all certain we even managed to sing the entire piece on the porch that day. (And the very fact that we were singing on the porch, meant that no recording was possible, naturalmente.)

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