There wasn’t much music at my high school, but in my last couple of years there, the school employed its first music teacher and lo, there was a choir, which gave me great delight. This madrigal was one of the first things we sang and I can remember it well.
When I started A levels, at Newcastle College of Arts and Technology in 1977, I encountered other musicians of all backgrounds and ages and oh, it was wonderful.
In the first year, the music department choir and orchestra performed a few works. Rossini’s Stabat Mater, which was the most amazing fun. It’s supposed to be sad, but Rossini doesn’t do sad very well and his irrepressible spirit breaks through pretty quickly.
I bought the LP, with this young-ish tenor, Luciano Pavarotti – what an introduction to music that was!
Rossini had a sly sense of humour. He’d write a new opera, but the overture, which should introduce the opera, would be from one of his other works. I can imagine the audience sitting up sending a collective wave of thought of WTF??
The Stabat Mater is a very satisfying singing experience for a choir, until they attempt to sing the unaccompanied quartet Quando Corpus, which is evil and intended to catch out the quartet – or choir – either can sing it.
The final chord is C minor, which is the first chord of the last movement, In Sempiterna Secula. This final C minor chord comes after a lot of chord progressions and even moves into the relative major – which makes it so difficult to end on the right note and even on the Pavarotti recording, it’s not on pitch. The last chorus, a fugue, for the soloists and choir – what fun, was a delightful introduction to counterpoint.
I wanted to sing those solos – both the soprano and alto, but never did manage the soprano solo ‘inflamatus’ with its grand high C, but I do know someone who could nail this…
There’s a magic duet. Just once, I’d like to have a go at the alto/mezzo solos and duets. I know this is about as likely as a lottery win, but I’m forever hopeful.
The Rossini is a great sing, but with a young Luciano doubling the tenor line in ‘In Sempiterna’ it’s magic.
I’m listening to it now. You can download it from iTunes, Rossini Stabat Mater, London Symphony Orchestra with Ivan Kertesz – look for Luciano Pavarotti’s name and it’s well worth listening to.
Anyway, back to madrigals. Well okay, not then as my brain is filled with Rossini and the two styles of music can’t exist in the human brain at the same time, or else a paradox will occur and the world will be filled with a million Lucianos.
I’ve been watching too many Doctor Who dvds…
I reckon that all in all, I’ve been pretty fortunate really. I had my six-monthly check with the neurologist at the local hospital and he reckons that thanks to starting Rebif as soon as possible, that it’s delayed progression and that the dreaded wheelchair isn’t going to be needed.
I have to keep fit and in shape, which with MS isn’t easy. Really, it’s not. Honestly. It’s like wading through treacle.
I can remember the chamber choir at college. It was very, very good. We got to sing a great deal of extremely satisfying music and I treasure that memory. I think my favourite was Thomas Weelkes ‘When David Heard’, but it’s a bit of a toss-up between that and ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’. I’ll bet you’re humming it…all together now.