Monday, August 31, 2009

More weddings - and singing for them too

I apologize for not having posted in a while. To be honest, I've entered the nesting stage, I think, and don't have a ton to post about. I really must figure out what I can post about when I take my baby break from teaching and singing, which will likely be from October through the end of the year.

Anyway, what I have been doing lately is singing at weddings. A couple of friends here in Hanover got married recently and asked me to sing at their weddings.

The first was in a beautiful church in a convent outside of Hanover. I was worried about this one, honestly, because the organist didn't arrive back from her vacation until 2 days prior to the event and hadn't received the music. We were doing Schubert's Ave Maria, which is no big deal for anyone worth their salt. But the other song was a German pop song made famous by Yvonne Catterfeld: Für Dich, written by Dieter Bohlen (who else?!?) of the German Pop Idol series "Deutschland sucht den Superstar". I believe there is even an English version of it. The music the couple provided us with was sparse and when playing what was written gave no indication of what the song should actually sound like. The rehearsal with the organist was a disaster. It sounded strange on an organ and she'd never actually heard Catterfeld's recording. I suggested we might actually use a Karaoke version I'd found on iTunes (for rehearsal purposes), if we could get a decent sound system. We organized that contingency plan, just in case the organist didn't manage to arrange the accompaniment well. As luck would have it, she had listened to the recording I gave her and practiced the shit out of it, so it sounded decent enough. The difference between everything being played on the organ and the one song a recording was actually worse than doing this pop song on the organ. The bride and groom were over the moon with how it turned out, so a win in the end. The organist was actually good and a nice person, so that if anyone hires me to sing and needs an organist I have someone I can recommend.

The next wedding is Saturday, Sept. 5 for a good friend of mine. They were initially reluctant to ask me to sing considering my state (9 months pregnant), but in the end we decided we'd choose a song and if I don't feel up to it, then I just won't sing. Luckily, I've been spared much difficulty with singing this pregnant. I have a VERY long waist, which means there is lots of room, UNDER my diaphragm for baby. I just don't have an abdominal muscles for emergency support at the end of phrases. All that means is that I have to breathe a bit deeper or more often and make sure I'm not tempted to have to eek out that last drop of air in my lungs, 'cause it just ain't happening. So far, I feel fine and my voice is shaping up after the long bout with a throat I had in August. I will sing Mozart's Laudate Dominum from the Vespers, which is just a lovely piece. The organist knows the version with choir, but I have a version with violin obligato, so he will work out a hybrid of the two. We'll rehearse the day of and so we'll just have to assume it will go well. :-)


Monday, August 03, 2009

Review: Lister Musiksalon - Vivaldi and Bach

Oh, it's been a while now, but Magnus and I attended a concert at the Lister Musiksalon (the List Area Music Salon), which is run by our neighbor, Roger Heimann, out of his design/advertising studio.

This was the 2nd one I've been to, and coincidentally they were both by Professor Adam Kostecki a Hochschule für Musik und Theater (the Hannover Conservatory for Music and Theater) violin professor. Now, I like violins, but it wouldn't necessarily occur to me to choose to go to a purely violin concert. The first concert I heard at the Musiksalon was a recital of this professor's students. The quality of the playing and musicality of these kids was very high and so when I heard that Prof. Kostecki had put together a little orchestra of HMT students and they would be playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Bach's Double violin concerto I decided it was time I go again. Broaden my horizons, you know? :-) Ha! I'm a sucker for baroque music, even without voices.

Now having heard the concert, I'm not sure I've ever actually listened to the entire Four Seasons consciously. Everyone, literally everyone knows a few snippets from their inclusion in advertising, and I'm no different. But the entire piece is just marvelous and the student orchestra did a fine job. Even if they were playing modern instruments. :-) Prof. Kostecki played the solo violin in the first and 2nd movements and a student played the solos in the 3rd and 4th. I was moved by the professor's performance. He is from Poland and has his students play a lot of polish music, which I am pleasantly surprised to say, I've liked a lot. The orchestra did an encore by a polish composer, Henrik Mikolaj Gorecki, which was just fantastic, with elements of minimalism.

I just heard that the orchestra (also called Hannover Kammerorchester) has traveled afield to give concerts. If you see one led by Prof. Adam Kostecki, Hannover go hear them. It's worth it.