Musical Meanderings

This is a blog centered around some of the musical encounters and experiences that I come upon in my daily life as a musician.

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Location: Alameda, California

Monday, November 06, 2006

Faure Requiem

What a beautiful piece we performed yesterday. I say we, because I don't really know who the group was. That's the way it is with playing these things here and there and everywhere, you don't even know who the group is sometimes. I know the name of the man who hired me, which was Jim Gilman. He was this great church conductor who was blind as a bat. He was one of those guys that has to put the music literally all the way up to about an inch in front of his face to check it. So, he memorizes the score, of course. This man had a great spirit, and he was all excited about the music and the performers, and I always love to play with someone like that.

So the Faure Requiem is a chamber group of strings with no violins. This is kind of odd but it makes the music sound very rich. And then, somewhere near the middle of the piece, when a section violist picks up a violin that he had tucked away somehwere and plays a violin solo, it sounds really high and almost eery in this lush context.

There is also a large choir, and, get this, a boys choir, singing these wonderful lyrical melodies way high up in angelic voices. This particular choir came from some boys academy in Berkeley and they were very good. The boys were something else---somewhere between sweet and cute and handsome, somewhere between being little boys and young men, aged, maybe 8-12, with matching blue pants and plaid shirts and green vests, big eyes blinking, very serious and solemn
with the subject matter of the requiem and their very important musical mission...

There was an Asian boy who sang a solo in the Pie Jesus movement. The tambre of his voice was perfect, the ultimate of innocence and sadness and beauty, I think. He was definitely an angel accompanied by an organ, and when he sang, we were all transfixed.

The orchestra part was fun to play, as it was real chamber music, four cellos, and we each had different parts, so we could all be heard at different times. And the cellists were all new to me, and they were all very good, so this was great.

It was a memorial to all those that had died on the streets of Oakland in the last year. The names were read during the service: 120 murders. The families were in the audience. They all seemed to enjoy the music and the memorial service.

We finished at about 6pm and they were serving food, so, on my way out I got some little sandwiches to eat in the car on the way home. A very nice way to end a pleasureable concert!

ps: I have now found my program from yesterday's performance. So Jim Gilman is the Director of Music at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Oakland. The adult choir was the Laudate Chorus, and we apparently were the Laudate Orchestra. The boys were from the Pacific Boychoir Academy.