We’re almost there! (Here’s my memorization progress to date.) Almost finished memorizing, and almost to the REAL rehearsals. We have a fairly brutal rehearsal schedule, by TFC standards:
- Friday night off-book, 7-9ish
- Saturday with Mo. Suzuki, 1-3p, 4-6p
- Sunday with Mo. Suzuki, 1-3p, 4-6p
- Monday 1-4p with orchestra
- Tuesday 9:30a-1p, 2-4p with orchestra
- Wednesday 6:30-10 with orchestra
- Performances Thursday, Friday, Saturday
What’s clear from this, given that we’ll be singing every single day for 9 days, is that pacing will be key. That means singing properly, with support, and most importantly not over-singing. It will be tempting to do so in order to be heard over the orchestra. We just have to trust that Suzuki will rein in the orchestra volume to be appropriate for a chorus of 60. After all, the BSO is used to 100-120 of us back there for most of our concerts!
Despite the heavy schedule, I personally am finding excitement building for the long rehearsals with Suzuki. A short article in the New Yorker praises Bach’s compositions (and basically calls Gardiner’s recordings the quintessential Bach to own) but highlights the Bach Collegium Japan and their recent performance of the B-Minor Mass at Carnegie Hall with 21 singers and 26 players. He writes how baroque performances tend to be either very austere or overdone, but that Suzuki “follows a pragmatic middle path…. In interpretive style, he tends toward subtlety rather than flamboyance, avoiding the abrupt accents, florid ornaments, and freewheeling tempos that are fashionable in Baroque performance practice. He is strong on clarity and musicality, sometimes lacking in force.” That sounds like a good preview of what to expect over the weekend and for the actual performances.