Friday, January 06, 2006


So we had our last Wednesday rehearsal of the semester for Chapel Choir today, and since we only had two songs to rehearse in two hours, Rodney (our director) let us spend the beginning talking about the Requiem. Patty, one of our star sopranos, said she's had nothing but Verdi stuck in her head for months (this made me feel better, because I thought I was the only one...I've been singing in Latin down the hallways for a full 10 days). Rodney said - get this - it was the BEST VERDI REQUIEM HE'D EVER HEARD (in person).

The only way for you to understand the way this made me feel is to also understand how I feel about Rodney. I am in awe of Rodney. I can't decide whether to love him or be terrified of him. The image that springs immediately to mind is the apes and the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, though I know that's not right for many many reasons. If Rodney told me I had a good voice, I'd go audition for American Idol. If he told me I had a bad voice, I'd go pretend to be a lemming and drown myself. That's just the way it is. (As it is, he tells me I can't read music, but that's a skill failing. So I've just stopped auditioning for stuff because of it.) I'm afraid to talk to him, because I might annoy him (which in turn makes me annoy him even more, I think, because it means I sleep through a lot of Sundays and never apologize for it, but, uh, that's just part of what makes me...crazy?).

Anyway. BEST VERDI REQUIEM. And that we were so good the orchestra and the soloists drew emotion off us. That you could hear every consonant in every part of the Chapel (you try enunciating in a building with a 7-story-high vaulted ceiling and then MAYBE you'll understand how big a deal that is). That it was the most emotional and best-felt oratorio Chapel Choir'd done.

But now, after that, I don't know how I can buy recordings. There won't - you can't - you don't feel a recording. You'll only hear the bad and superficial parts. The part in the last Libera Me, where I was singing so hard my chest was vibrating and I still wanted to put out more sound because I wanted to make it better, greater, more glorious - you can't hear that. The whole Chapel full of people leaning in and holding their breaths at the first sob of the cello - that'll just register as so much less ambient noise. The part in the Agnus Dei where at least one of us was so moved she burst into tears - can't hear that either. The fact that I, normally the town fuckup, was so carried along by the flow that not only did I not make a single mistake or wrong entrance (!) but didn't even need to look at my score for a good 75% of the oratorio (!!) - well, nobody knew that but me. And you, now.

But I -- oh god, you guys, you don't know how depressed I was that no one came, because I was so tired and so sick and had sung two services that day and we still managed to do the most beautiful, beautiful thing I've ever been a part of, and no one was there to see it.

I went out to the bus stop, hung my head, and tried not to cry.
posted by Allison @ 8:27 PM 18

I am listening to the Verdi Requiem on headphones. I have to stop at points and just listen, shivering with the magnificence of it all. This is the most fantastic recording and I have awaited it with anticipation for a long time. This is a 2 CD set from a live performance at the Duke University (North Carolina) Chapel, April 2005. It is with the Duke Chapel Choir, the Duke Chorale, the Chamber Choir of the Choral Society of Durham, and Duke Orchestra with Rodney Wynkoop, Conductor. This consists of a few hundred voices, and they fill the chapel with an incredibly resounding, almost overwhelming performance.

Allie is in the Chapel Choir, and she took this CD set home to NYS for me at Christmas time. I just received it in the mail today from her mother. I had wished at the time of the performance that I could go to Duke, and now I finally have a chance to at least hear the results. Usually I watch and listen to the Chapel Choir on the Chapel website, when they record the Sunday morning services. I have also seen the Messiah, before this past Christmas season. One time I happened to catch it live, and that was a great feeling, watching something that Allie was singing in and seeing them all in “person”. The Messiah is not available from December 2005. But, Allie was sick and could not perform anyway. She didn’t want to spread her germs to the other singers, and she also did not want to damage her throat.

This is the second time that I have listened to the Requiem today. The first time I had it on the small stereo with no headphones. I had to check it out now and see how it sounds. It is absolutely splendid, and it has made the tears flow so far. I get goosebumps. I am still on the first disk. I wish many people could find out about this recording.

Maybe I’ll contact my local classical music station. I listen to that station every day. If any of my very tiny audience out there could find a copy of this recording, I highly recommend it.


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