Monday, October 18, 2004

Mozart and movement

My only concert this month was this past weekend. This time it was
like going home - the concert was in Dillenburg, where I've performed
probably 10 times since I moved to Frankfurt. The church musician
Joachim, is always a pleasure to work with - one of the few catholic
church musicians who actually does interesting projects. He usually
hires a baroque orchestra (or instrument ensemble) and chooses
wonderful music. This time it was Mozart, it's been a long time since I
performed any Mozart (probably since college in Madison!) and I think
my voice has really grown into his music. I enjoy singing it, it's not
hard work. Joachim had hired a small group of instrumentalists the
core of which (cello, organ and first violin) I'd sung with in Dillenburg
before. I also knew one of the trumpet players who recently moved to
Berlin from Frankfurt. I also know a few of the choir members and it's
really nice to see them again.

The program was the Credo Mass with readings from a book "Would
like to have been Mozart? - Meditations on Mozart's Credo Mass KV
257" by Peter Bichsel. THe readings were short - 5 minutes maybe -
between most of the mass parts, and were very interesting. I wonder
if the book has been translated into English? At any rate, it would be
an interesting read. Some ideas from the book: the more he listened
to the mass the less he could think of to write about it - Music defies
language; music is unsuccessful.

The Alto soloist, Claudia Ramroth, was fun to sing with. She was at
Elysium's concert recently in Gem√ľnden and said she loved it. It's
amazing that we should cross paths again in this way. And wonderful
to hear that a singer was so moved by our performance.

So, having sung Mozart with Joachim, he's hired me for 2 more
projects next year. Mid-March we will be performing the Passion
according to St. Luke by Telemann, which is a big chunk of music for
the soprano soloist. Five big da capo arias! I ordered the music today
and I'm looking forward to delving into it. Then we will do a repeat
performance of the Hildegard von Bingen program with the women's
chorus the end of April. The Hildegard program is what brought us
together in the first place, so it's always a joy to do it again.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Puppeteers and Poetry

On Friday Oct. 1 I had a repeat performance of "Sad Hotel" - a
combination of poetry reading with musical accompaniment and
songs on poetry by Anne Sexton. Jens (the pianist and composer)
and I had one last rehearsal on Thursday night and then took the train
to Magdeburg together the next day. We met Barbara (the actress
reciting the poetry) at the train station and took the tram to the theater
immediately. What I didn't know, was that the theater wasn't just any
theater, but a puppet theater! Most people probably think of
marionettes and kids when they imagine a puppet theater and indeed
that is how most puppet theaters (including this theater) earn most of
their money. But Puppet Theater can be much much more than what
most of us imagine. The Magdeburger Puppet Theater does
productions for kids during the week and productions for adults at
night and on the weekends. They are premiering a biographical
production on the life of Anne Sexton Friday, Oct. 8, 2004, which is
why we were asked to come and perform there. The director of the
theater was doing some web research and stumbled across the notice
about our performances in Heidelberg in May. He wanted to give the
Magdeburgers the opportunity to learn a little more about Anne
Sexton and had us perform and had someone give a lecture last
night. Take a look at their website:

http://www.puppentheater-magdeburg.de

They were so friendly and helpful and also extremely interested in
what we were doing. It was interesting doing it in a real theater. The
Prinzhorn Museum in Heidelberg was a bit more live acustically,
which was really nice for the musical aspect of what we were doing.
But the Puppet Theater was really good for clarity of text. It was
interesting to experience the drastic difference of the two spaces.
Plus the Puppet Theater has a whole team of people who were there
to help us with lights and sound. It was heavenly!

They are doing their Anne Sexton production in Stuttgart on October
13 and the end of October. I'm going to go to one of the shows and I
would highly recommend it!