Our first rehearsal of the season with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay was held last night. If the opinions of other singers I have connected with in social media are any indication, beginning a new season is a much anticipated event. Making music together is such an energizing experience that we all look forward to getting back together to tackle our next musical challenge.
For me, learning a score and preparing it for performance is a process that I am fascinated with. Between rehearsals, I spend time studying the score and practicing the music, an iterative process I follow to internalize the direction we get each week in rehearsal. As I become more confident with the music, I become more emotionally attached to it. This attachment grows until it reaches a fever pitch during concert week, culminating in the live performances we present to our audience. Then, in a flash it is over, and an emotional denouement occurs. Like saying goodbye to an old friend, the score is put on the shelf, perhaps never to be encountered again.
On some occasions however, choral music that has a high degree of popularity is presented repeatedly, such as Beethoven’s "Symphony No. 9", or Handel’s “Messiah”. This is the case with Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”, which the most frequently performed choral work in the repertoire. We last sang it in the Fall of 2011, and it is on the Florida Orchestra’s schedule for November, 2014.
To me it is almost like an old flame that has come back into my life after an extended absence. As the British rock group The Searchers sang in “Needles and Pins”, “I saw her today, I saw her face, and it was the face I loved.” Although some musical works may inspire awe or a sense of beauty, Carmina with the themes of romance, longing, courtship, and celebration seems to symbolize a more romantic relationship, a dance like the courtly “Reie” or the frenzied “Tanz”.
During last night’s rehearsal, we sang all the choruses in the Carmina score, so in a sense were all “drinking from the fire hose" as were became immersed in the complete piece. For our new members who may have been looking at the score for the first time, it must have been a daunting experience!
For me personally, singing through Carmina brought back a rush of emotions, almost as though I was transported back to our last concert performances, with all the emotional highs that came along with them. Dancing with Carmina, I have fallen for her all over again. I think we will get to know each other even more deeply this time. I know that we will have to say goodbye once again, feeling those needles and pins, but for the present….oh what a time we’ll have!