I’m not sure where to begin.  I guess the best point is now, near the end.  As I meander through the twilight of my life I wish I was better at dealing with coming  to   terms with  my life and what I’ve done with it in relation to the potential I obviously  squandered or (more accurately) failed to realise, I find myself trying desperately to make up for lost time  — at least as an organist.  I realise any ambitions I had as a conductor are virtually road kill.  After all, I’m not an established conductor, and don’t have, at this late stage in my life, the résume to be able to prove myself.

So, I’ve returned to the instrument of my first love — the organ.  I want to play a recital on the wonderful instrument upon which I’m blessed to have been given permission to practise.  But, then I figure:  who am I kidding?   I think of all the music I used to play — 20-50 years ago and, even though my memory has managed to restore the five pieces I want to play, so what?  The technical struggle (my manual technique was never all that great) and the memory slips make me wonder, am I up to this?

As I see it I have a good fifteen, maybe twenty, years left.  At seventy years old I’m not going to become the next Virgil Fox or Leonard Bernstein (as I once dreamed); or even a moderately recognised composer – or recognised at all.  So, what do I do? I would like to go back to composing; but, then I realise I’m completely wasting my time.  Do you have any idea, ANY IDEA, how that affects the creative process?  The very thought that you feel that you are completely wasting your time:  that nobody, NOBODY will EVER get to experience the beauty of your creations, even long after you’re dead, might — just might have an affect on your desire to create; do ya think?

I’m tired.  As I’ve said before, music is a very unforgiving mistress.  If you haven’t sacrificed everything for her, she not only abandons you, she shuns you, by ensuring that anybody with whom you are not intimately connected (and even some that are) completely dismiss you and — worse — your work.  I wish I had a dime for everybody (as tempting as it is I won’t name them) who gave me assurances that they loved my work and would do it and then disappeared.

So, I garden, I mow the lawn, I vacuum the pool, I drink Belgian beer, I cook dinner, I walk Blaze (one of the few true pleasures in my life.  The best dog EVER), and I practise the organ (vainly, as mentioned above); but compose?  Why?  I keep telling myself I need to get back to that which, even before the organ and conducting, was what fate had determined I was supposed to do (I almost said God; but, like everything else I believed in, is obviously a fallacy).  I figure with the few years I have left it’s not worth it to try and make up for lost time.  Music, to whom I will always be her slave, will simply laugh at me at my naïvety.

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Impatience with the Impatient

Mostly Music and Curmudgeonry

When I was writing about my feelings about Boston area after we moved here, I got to thinking about why it was taking me so long to get through it, which in turn, got me to thinking about the impatience of those who have don’t have to struggle, or have little trouble expressing ideas or performing tasks, or learning things quickly with those of us who are more deliberate, or seem “slower.”  I usually find those who are impatient with people who don’t get it the first time — or even the second — to be a generally intolerant and non-empathetic group as a whole.  There’s an arrogance, and a smugness which accompanies impatient people:  they feel they “must” explain things twice to others when they (of course) understood or learnt the first time.  They simply can’t understand why others have to be so stupid or dense — or so…

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Update Since August 2017

Well, some things have changed, in most cases fortunately, since my last writing. In December I found a lovely Episcopal (remember that folks, Episcopal — Anglican Community) church who welcomed me with open arms to allow me (encourage me!) to practise on their new 3 manual Allen “Bravura” organ.  Rev. Clifford Brown was and has been more than gracious in his letting me play there.  It was almost kismet that after only one week of practising he approached me to substitute on 31 December, at which I was more pleased to offer my services.  The only caveat was that I hadn’t played the organ in almost five years, and warned him that I may not be as interesting as I would normally be.  Believe me, it was hard to restrain myself with having this wonderful instrument suddenly at my disposal; but, I was a good boy and kept things at a lower volume.  But, Oh, how much fun it was to introduce to the congregation “Mendelssohn” with the full Swell & Choir, “boxes” closed, then gradually opening up to just a foundation chorus when the congregation came in.  And then the “Engelberg:”  full smothered reeds and mixtures with 32′ in the manuals, up an octave, “boxes” closed, then opening up full right at the Dominant, then switching to pure foundations when the congregation comes in.  I managed to keep the “boxes” about half closed so as not to overpower the congregation when they were singing (it was the Sunday after Christmas after all); but, the effect was still the same.  Moreover, I got to read the Epistle lesson (I love reading Paul aloud; he’s so wonderfully intense and dramatic).  After the service Rev. Cliff thanked me and offered me a check which I, of course, refused telling him that giving me the opportunity to practise and become an organist again was more than enough payment, so he gave me a key to the church instead!

So, now I’m in the process of dusting off repertoire starting with the J. S. Bach Prelude & Fugue in a  BWV 543, the Fugue in g  BWV 578 (the “Little”), the Vierne Carillon de Westminster Op. 54 #6, the Franck Choral in a, a piece of cardinal significance for me especially at this time in my life, and the Cantabile from “Trois Piéces”.  It feels good to be practising again and I hope to play a recital in the not too distant future (keeping in mind it’s been over twenty years since I’ve played a recital).  It should be interesting.

Why Bother Music?

It’s been almost two years since moving to Houghs Neck; and it’s been a tumultuous year and a half in some ways.  I’m sure a lot has to do with adjusting to home ownership after spending the greater part of my life as a tenant.  Tending to matters such as mowing the lawn, tending to (treating, backwashing, vacuuming) a swimming pool, gardening, fixing/installing various appliances and equipment (as well as buying such things), taking Blaze for walks or to the dog park not to mention a general ennui about my continued, and constant external reinforcement regarding my dubiousness as a musician — particularly as a composer.  Nowadays, I even find it difficult to listen to classical music and even harder to attend a concert or recital.

It’s become an albatross, having come to the realisation that all this time (now that I have come to the sunset of my life) my life’s primary endeavour, all that has defined me (even with those ancillary interests such as art, architecture, poetry, drama, dance) — that blossomed as a result of hearing Virgil Fox’s “Encores” album — has been, for the most part, a total waste of time — of one’s life.  The fine arts are cruel mistresses and music one of the cruelest.  It’s quite evident for all of my passion for music and my love of the greatest of all instruments, and what had been for years a perdurable yearning to compose, my capitulation to others’ concerns and desires, the poor decisions made (both professionally and personally), have left me now with a handful of works that nobody thinks worthy of their time.  I’ve given up trying to ask people to even look at my work.  I’ve grown weary of either the complete non-response or those who have “promised” to perform my music and then I never hear from them again.  I’m not going to go entreating all these people about my music; my determination is: if they like it they’ll play it if they don’t, I’ll never hear from them again, and I’ll not pursue them any further.  Grovelling is beneath even my diminished level of self-respect.

Moreover, the current political/societal situation with this blatant sociopath who has done more damage to our democracy than anyone, ANYONE before including such rabid animals like Joseph McCarthy, fools like Warren G. Harding, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney and all of Fox News, along with  spineless, sycophants who make up the majority of the House and Senate.  But, that’s another subject altogether.

And yet, now that I’ve just recently (since December 2017) found and have been given open permission to practise on a most suitable organ at nearby Episcopal church, a bit of optimism has strangely entered my psyche. I’ve been dusting off and relearning old repertoire and have resumed collecting my thoughts on the Franck Choral in a, a work of monumental importance to me.  It feels good to be able to spend three to four hours a day 4-5 days a week (with Blaze patiently lying — mostly sleeping — in the nave) reworking music I used play.  Currently I’m practising on: Bach Prelude & Fugue in a BWV 543, Fugue in g (“Little”) BWV 578, the above mentioned Franck as well as the Cantabile from his “Trois Piéces,” the Vierne Carillon de Westminster from the “Pièces de Fantaisie” (third suite) Op. 54, plus one or two pieces from the Orgelbüchlein.  It’s been good for me if nothing else to stimulate my old memorisation synapses. I’d like to bring back the Choral in b and the Grand Pièce Symphonique as well as other works by Vierne that I used to play. I’m hoping that maybe in a year or two I might actually feel good enough to give a recital.

As to composing, maybe, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.  One can only cram so much of 40 plus lost years into the few I may have left.  We’ll see.

First Disappointment

It shows that I haven’t added anything to this column since the end of May.  I must admit I’ve been a bit of a recluse as of late.  Maintaining a house with a large (12,000 gallon) above ground swimming pool coupled with my natural tendency towards ennui, my increased depression over the state of our once great, now widely disparaged, nation, my preoccupation with my wonderfully loveable, extremely handsome, funny, doggie-dog Blaze, plus my growing disconcertion with social media as a rule, among other matters, I just haven’t had the will to express my thoughts; notwithstanding, I continually wish to do so.

It’s interesting; I haven’t had to mow a lawn since my high school days back in Pitman, NJ.  Then there’s the pool:  skimming, vacuuming, treating the water, backwashing, it’s been a bit of an effort but one well worth it; on a hot day (yes, we do get them up here in New England) there’s nothing like diving into that pool.  I still “pinch myself” realising that I own the bloody thing.

Then there’s Blaze.  What can I say.  He’s not only one of the most beautiful dogs (I’m almost embarrassed by the number of time people tell how pretty he is) I’ve seen, but he’s a total baby.  He has the most even temperament, loving disposition anybody would ever imagine.  When Rosemary comes home from work he’s so excited he wags his tail AND his head!  He has the physique of a runner, and he proves it.  He is the fastest dog I’ve seen and it is (to coin a cliché) poetry in motion to seen him run.  There is a very large dog park in Hingham, MA (about 15 minutes away); it’s the size of any other state park (they call them reservations up here), but it’s primarily an off-lease park for doggies.  I can’t tell you how much Blaze loves this place.  First, it’s on Weymouth Bay so dogs get to swim if they so desire, it’s big with lots of open space to play and run, which are two of Blaze’s favourite things to do (the others are sleep and eat — surprise, surprise).  One of the traits I love about Blaze is he so, so friendly.  He thinks every other dog he meets is his new BFF — big, medium, tiny it doesn’t matter; all he wants to do is play.  As to his speed, he has yet to encounter a dog that’s as fast (much less faster) than him.  He is truly amazing to watch.  And LOVES to run.  So yeah, I spoil Blaze something terrible; but, what am I supposed to do?  He’s such a loveable baby.  And he behaves (for the most part).

Okay, so what’t the problem?  Well, two things:  First is me, I must admit I’ve been having difficulty with motivation:  more importantly prioritisation.  I can’t get my butt in gear until later in the day.  Unfortunately, it’s usually the time I need to think about getting dinner together.  If I could get my “chores” (including walking Blaze) done before noon I’d have at least four hours to what I used to think was important to me — music and art. ADD and low level depression (what used be call Dysthymia) have been, I must admit, an hinderance to my focus.  The problem is I know that I still have much to offer (not that anyone would take me seriously, since I don’t have s PhD or am not an internationally recognised performer).

Then there’s the organ/church thing.  I approached a nearby Congregational church (about two blocks away) about permission to practise on their organ.  It’s not much, a two manual Allen from probably the 80’s; but, it was something on which I felt I could start playing the organ again.  I even offered my services as a substitute — gratis — for the privilege of practising.  So, here were the church’s criteria:

Notwithstanding my resume, etc. they don’t give out keys to the church, so I could only practise there when some one else or other activity was at the church:  in this case it the Boy Scouts, who met in the basement on Monday night (right about our dinner time, but, eh, I figured): i.e., once a week for about 1½ -2 hrs.

If that wasn’t restrictive enough, since I was compelled to only be there (mind you I was up in the sanctuary, the scouts were down in the basement; i.e., I had no [nor did I want any] contact with them; but, since I was in the same building as them, even though they had more than enough adult supervision, they requested that I fill a CORI (Criminal Offence Record Investigation) form!!

Just so I could have access to lousy electronic organ on which to practise at a most inconvenient time for me.  I wanted nothing to do with those kids — or anybody — all I wanted to do was practise the organ; in exchange, I was willing to offer my services as a substitute organ (and as a scripture reader) for free.  Needless to say, after being gratuitously insulted, I’m on the prowl for another organ on which to practise.

Why is it that my first major disappointment with my new home involves a church?  What is it about suburban churches, especially non-liturgical protestant churches, that often manifest those paranoic tendencies which are so contradictory to their so called “Christian Message” of openness and love?  Those signs of “All Are Welcome” outside the doors are such a prevarication of who they really are It’s such a sham.  I’m sick of it.  It’s come to the point I wish, I really do wish at times, that I never, NEVER, became an organist, almost to the point of despising the instrument.

Thank God for ragtime.

American Music on the Radio on an American Holiday

On this Memorial Day (2016) I thought this was worth a reblog.

Mostly Music and Curmudgeonry

Being the curmudgeon that I am, modern technology doesn’t generally impress me; and on those occasions where it has, such as Facebook, I have ultimately found it wanting (more about that some other time).  Nevertheless, there are those instances in which technological advancements have not only impressed me, but have actually proven to be most useful.  A case in point: internet radio.  Through the glories of digital technology I now can listen to virtually any broadcast radio station, plus any station which is solely designed to be heard on the internet through streaming, much of it via iTunes.  On any Wednesday I could be listening to a Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3, or  All Night Classics on the ABC (Australia), or L’Air du Temps on RTBF (Belgium), or something on WFMT, VPR, WRTI, WGBH, WQXR, MPR, or any of the exclusive online services such as Organlive, Connoisseur Classics, or RadioIO…

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How did This Happen?

Did you ever have one of those days later in life in which you came to the realisation that, quite literally, everything — and I mean everything — for which you strove, to which you aspired, to which you devoted essentially your entire life, gave you definition as an individual had not even remotely been fulfilled?  Somehow I doubt it.  So far, everyone I know, whether it’s from my childhood, college, to later in life (including Facebook and other social media) has to some extent achieved a level of success in life.  It may not be exactly that for which one originally strove, but it may have been close; or, at least, a not unreasonable approximation.  Then there are those who found a level of success in a completely different field altogether.  You may have started out wanting to be a musician, but somewhere along the line, whether for personal, philosophical or simply practical (i. e., financial) reasons you ventured into a completely different line of work.  Or, as in the case with many, perhaps most, artistic people, you found a way to do both and still manage to attain some satisfaction in your artistic endeavours.

I, on the other hand, have failed abysmally.  Mind you, I really don’t blame anyone but myself; and perhaps, the occasional uncontrollable circumstance.  Nevertheless, I fully realise that, as the cliché goes, since I made my bed I must sleep in it.  That doesn’t palliate the remorse or regret, much less the pain.  In fact, it only militates against any assuagement of my despondency.  All it does is remind me of the sequence of bad decisions I have made throughout most of my life, the first and worst of which was wanting to be a musician — an organist in particular.  But, that was only the first of many, many unfortunate, notwithstanding good intentioned, decisions:  most of which were what I had considered at the time to be pragmatic or realistic junctures in light of my relative youth and aspirations, but were actually more survival expediencies than goal directed stratagems.  Some decisions turned out to be just plain stupid; but, stupidity is the special preserve for the young — I guess.  Eventually we’re supposed to grow out of the stupid phase; you know, the “with age comes wisdom” thing.  Unfortunately, wisdom comes a little (or a lot) too late.   

You see, there is this really noisome trait I have — rationalisation.  I can’t tell you the number of times I left a situation — either personally or professionally — and learned very soon how bad a mistake it was.  Now, almost everybody has done this sort of thing at one time or another.  But, it seems there are those of us who have made a career of making decisions later to be regretted.  Not occasionally, not seldom, or sporadically, but steadily, constantly, habitually.  Everyone of these decisions were attempts to get myself into a situation in which I could finally find the time and space to consistently practise my craft and get my musical career back on track (operating under the delusion that it actually was at one time).  Unfortunately, to list these unfortunate decisions is not within the purview of this rant and would be far too numerous much less humiliating.  I have to live with these incomprehensibly obtuse decisions.

And now?  Now I have pretty much abandoned the art form to which I had devoted my life.  The three aspects of music in which I had hoped in some fashion to succeed — conducting, composition, the organ (not necessarily in that order), I now know will never happen.  Conducting I gave up long ago, even though I am an innate conductor: vastly superior, even now at this unpractised stage in my life, to 99% of the boneheads out there;.

As to the organ, since moving to Boston and receiving the decided cold shoulder from “my guild,”  I have pretty much bid my adieus.  This explains my not adding any further installations to my commentary in the “Choral #3 in a” by César Franck.  What the hell good is it to express ideas about how to perform a piece of music if you can’t actually demonstrate those ideas?  At this point I don’t even have the confidence to apply for a church job simply because I don’t feel I could execute a decent audition anymore.  Ultimately, I guess, it’s a good thing.  At least I’ve come to acknowledge the reality of my pathetic station as an erstwhile organist.  Oh, but there’s an additional sad irony:  I masochistically signed up as a volunteer for a number of activities for the AGO convention when it was here in Boston.  How’s that for pathetic?

Composing?  The last and most hurtful failure of all.  As a composer one always has in the back of his/her head the hope that, no matter how remote, someone will eventually perform your music.  Little disgusts me more than the successful composer — or even the “unsuccessful” one who has only had a few pieces performed — who, in responding to the lamentations of his/her completely unperformed brother or sister, pontificates about how one should be doing it only for itself; that composing is an end in and of itself; you do it for the sake of the art, not for the glory, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.  That’s easy for them to say.  They’ve been performed, no matter how infrequently.  They’ve heard their music performed by someone other than themselves in their studio or living room.  Every composer, I don’t care how artistically virtuous, composes with idea that he or she has something to share with the world, that each and every creation is meant to be heard; i. e., performed.  When that hope, even in the most perfunctory or trifling manner miscarries, that desire, that compulsion to create eventually disintegrates and eventually atrophies.  Why bother?  I don’t expect my “colleagues,” “brother or sister” composers (much less performers) to sympathise, empathise or even remotely understand.  At this point I rightly don’t care.

You see, there’s huge frustration here.  I listen works by people who have absolutely no business calling themselves composers — but, then again considering our current environment —  and yet, their music gets performed.   Even worse, they get paid to write their drivel and even win prizes for it (case in point Libby Larsen’s little ditty she composed for the 2014 AGO Convention in Boston). I don’t need to go into why, We all pretty much know that talent has little to do with winning competitions or receiving commissions.

All of us have experienced failure and disappointment at various times in our lives, some of us more than others, some of us more than most.  And then there are those of us who, in spite of our best efforts to the contrary, persist upon bungling it.  I guess some of us are born to screw up; which brings me back to the rationalisation factor.  Long after it had become clear that I was not going to achieve anything near, or even remote, to my musical aspirations I somehow convinced myself that there was still hope.

Anyway, it’s taken a long time, but I think I may have come to terms with my life of “should-haves”  and failures — noble and ignoble. I realise at this late date that whatever I do from here on out just becomes another facet of the survival mode into which I have fallen.  Oh, there are plenty of excuses, some of them plausible, even valid; but, at this point it really doesn’t make any difference. I just have to content myself with knowing that my knowledge, skill, talent and innate musical acumen notwithstanding, I  will live out my years as the organist without an organ, the conductor without ensemble (vocal or instrumental), the accompanist without partner, the teacher without a student, the writer without a reader, the composer without a performer, the performer without an audience.

Ain’t life grand?

Mahler 8 in Phila.

It’s always a special occasion when Gustav Mahler’s Symphony #8 in Eb, also known as the “Symphony of a Thousand,” is performed.  However, this series of performances in March of 2016 has even greater significance since it was one hundred years ago that the then 28 year old new Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra Leopold Stokowski gave the American premier, using literally over a thousand performers (including choruses).  It was the performance that put Philadelphia in the map and, as WRTI announcer Greg Whiteside said “it hasn’t wavered since.”   Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin commanded forces not only of a greatly expanded orchestra (including 8 French Horns, a mandolin, harmonium and full organ, plus an addition off stage brass band of 4 trumpets and 3 trombones, but also 8 soloists, two large choirs and a boys choir.  It’s pretty big, and Maestro Nézet-Séguin held the reins very firmly.  It was most fitting I suppose that not only was this performance celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Mahler 8th in America, but only a few days earlier Maestro Nézet-Séguin had celebrated his own 41st birthday.  Nice.

Unfortunately, I think partly because of the problematic acoustics of Verizon Hall the sound was not very good.  Mike placement was almost entirely focused on the strings and the chorus and soloists were very much in the background.  As a result, it was difficult to get a good sense of how the choirs really sounded.  Overall, from what I could determine from the sound it was quite satisfactory.  With that caveat out of the way I thought  Maestro Nézet-Séguin’s interpretation was right on spot.  The dynamics were faithfully followed, for the most part, and the tempi were absolutely perfect! 

Yet, for some reason getting good soloists for this piece has always been a problem.  And this was no exception.  The main difficulty is finding a lyric soprano capable of singing the Mater Gloriosa part, who also is usually the soprano (unnamed) solo during the beginning of the final chorus (Das Ewige-Weibliche — The Eternal-Feminine).  This section requires the soprano to unobtrusively approach and then effortlessly pick out (or “float” to) a pianissimo high C.  I’ve never understood why conductors over and over again: Bernstein, Solti, Haitink, etc. almost invariably choose the wrong soprano to do this.  Of the dozen or more recordings and performances I’ve heard of this piece only two have had a soprano who actually gets it right: 1) Donald Runnicles 2010 performance with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, which in this case Erin Wall (Una Poenitentium here in Phila.) was Magna Peccatrix, but also did the high C and did it beautifully; and 2) a 1960 outdoor festival performance in Vienna with Dimitri Mitropoulos, with all of its shortcomings, was more than compensated with Mimi Coertse’s Mater Gloriosa and her absolutely impeccable, astonishing pianississimo C from which she grows the most delicate crescendo.  I can only assume that this singing was precisely what Mahler imagined.  I have never heard ANYBODY, no matter how famous, do this so perfectly.  Of course, as you can imagine, unfortunately Angela Meade* fell a little short.  She was an unfortunate choice, she had a total lack of control, resulting in the kind of straight tone one experiences from strain, albeit fairly quiet (about mp), but strain just the same.  It wouldn’t mean so much if this wasn’t such crucial point the score; which is why it baffles me so much that conductors treat this moment so cavalierly that one would think that they’re just thinking: “Oh, she’s a lyric we’ll have her sing the C,”  without hearing it first.

OK, enough of the “high C.”  Among the other soloists interestingly enough two others who have recently sung this work together stood out as exceptional:  the previously mentioned Erin Wall and bass John Reylea who sang Pater Profundis with Ms. Wall in 2010.  Among the other soloists special maention needs to be made for mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Bishop who was called in at the last minute to replace Stephanie Blythe as Mulier samaritana and did it with aplomb.  Also Mihoko Fujimura (Mater Ægyptiaca) had a rich almost velvety sound closer to a contralto.  Baritone Markus Werba did quite nicely in his short Pater Esctaticus solo, although he had to belt out his high G contrary to Mahler’s p indication; but, then again, I have yet to hear a baritone hit an high G softly then crescendo as the score indicates; methinks Gus was asking just a little too much.  I mean, seriously folks, if Hermann Prey couldn’t do who can? The tenor,  Anthony Dean Griffey (Doctor Marianus) seemed adequate to the task it was, again difficult to discern, as in case of all the singers, because of the less than satisfactory sound.   Nevertheless, Lisette Oropesa sang Mater Gloriosa most delicately and serenely.  Her pianissimo high B was sublime and gave me hope that she would be the one to sing the “zieht uns hinan” C. I should have realised that would have been impossible since she would have had to hightail down from one of the upper tiers of the auditorium down to the stage.  It might have been possible; but, it would have asked too much for her to give that note what she more than likely normally would have given it.  That was very unfortunate indeed.

 What I really liked about this performance was that Maestro Nézet-Séguin was not afraid of letting the organ be heard.  More than the 2nd Symphony, this one has a substantial organ part, pedal runs included.  I could kiss Michael Stairs for giving that part everything it is suppose to have without exceeding the composer’s wishes. MWAH!  Again, I can only imagine how much better everything just have been live.  Unfortunately, now that I’m in Boston I couldn’t get to hear it in person and had to settle for the broadcast; I couldn’t hear the mandolin and could only barely hear the harmonium. Moreover, as I mentioned earlier, the singing, it seemed to me, was treated very much as secondary by the engineers and the strings over emphasised.

So, what about the choirs?  As if I’m not in enough trouble already, let me say this:  since it was not made clear to those not present I couldn’t tell who was Choir I or Choir II.  I think overall (again compensating for the crappy sound) Choir I had a fuller, dare I say richer, sound than Choir II.  Now this difference is slight.  Both choirs sounded quite well, but, the sopranos and tenors in Choir II, in the softer sections, lacked warmth and richness of tone, i.e., no vibrato (the kind of English sound that Simon Rattle likes).  As I said, I don’t know who was whom, I just hope Westminster was Choir I.  In any event all I can is that a John Finley Williamson, Warren Martin, Elaine Brown, or George Lynn choir wouldn’t have needed any help.  I know, because they didn’t.  Notwithstanding, it’s always great to hear this piece performed, especially, as in this case, in a most satisfactory performance indeed.

*this is a correction to my original text in which I assumed that Ms. Oropesa was to be the soprano in the final chorus to sing the “hinan C.”   I have since learned (via my good friend Thomas Faracco, who WAS there) that Ms. Meade was chosen for the task, which explained much of my conclusions.  Thank you Tom.