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Conductor's Notes - Tuesday 17th January

Hello you fabulous lot! It was such a delight to see you all and get singing again on Tuesday - a great start to 2023! Lots to cover below, so thank you for your patience in reading this through.

What we did on Tuesday 17th January

As I normally try to do in our first rehearsals, we got through as much music as possible, but still managed to make a start on some highly-detailed rehearsing.

We began with Eternal Father, strong to save, with a focus on learning the notes for verses 2 & 3, and working on ensemble of the homophonic textures. After this we looked at They that go down, doing some excellent work again on the ensemble right from the get-go. A reminder to keep the top of page 4 & 5 (for example) really smooth, not blooming on each note - use a 'zzzz' or 'vvvv' exercise to help with this. We also did some good work on the more agitated sound of page 6, finding real contrast to the smooth and delicate opening and ending sections.

After the break we worked on Songs of the Fleet. The hardest thing about this is going to be the lack of accompaniment, so it's worth listening through to it a few times to familiarise yourself with the starting chords. The opening of I. Sailing at Dawn for example is a good moment of this - we listened to the bass line heading towards the tonic note of Eb to help us find the chord. Remember to count at the entries 6 before the end... the rhythm is slightly different. Lots of good text work in II. Songs of the Sou' Wester, just keep the energy alive throughout this. We then changed mood completely and sang V. Fare Well, which was beautifully done, even if we need more confidence on the chords - again, worth listening to as part of your practice. We looked at the final 'patter song' that is IV. The Little Admiral, learning it altogether first from after Letter K to the end, before T/B worked on the opening. Finally, we looked at III. The Middle Watch - a brief look at the opening of this, getting our heads around the harmony and the 6/4 feel, particularly with the undulating accompaniment.

We finished the rehearsal by talking through the Mäntyjärvi, identifying each section, and singing through the Arbo.

What we'll do on Tuesday 24th January

We'll start by looking in-detail at the Arbo - it's not hard, but we need to make it musical and expressive. After this, we'll spend most of the rehearsal on the Mäntyjärvi, looking broadly at each section, and getting an overall feel to the piece. We'll finish with Stanford V. Fare Well as our 'cool down'.

Marked Scores

Will be up soon - apologies these aren't ready yet. In the meantime, I've provided the full score to the Stanford, so you can look through it with the accompaniment.

newChoir ‘23 Spring 1
Download PDF • 71.83MB

Spotify Playlist

As with every term, you can find most of the music on Spotify (or YouTube). Here's the Spotify Link.

The Vivian is available HERE.

The Arbo is available HERE.

Mäntyjärvi Learning Resources

Nick Watkins, member of Chipping Norton Choral Society, North Cotswold Chamber Choir, and friend of newCHOIR, put together some learning tracks for Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae when NC3 did it last year. He's very kindly allowed me to share them with you. Below is the link to a folder of each part, highlighting your notes, beginning on page 6.

It'll be incredibly useful going forward in learning the piece, particularly as we can focus in rehearsals on putting it together, rather than 'note-bashing'!

Do check them out HERE.

Suggested Listening

I'm off to London today for an Acafellas gig tomorrow, so I thought I'd share one of the gorgeous pieces we're doing - it's a 'very American' performance, but that doesn't get in the way of some juicy harmonies! A great de-stresser for the day. Check out Ebb Tide HERE.

Have a great weekend and see you on the 24th.

- Ben

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