Our roving reporter interviewed Angela about Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, which the Nottingham Festival Chorus will be performing in the Albert Hall, Saturday 6th February, 2016.
Here is the introduction, more to follow, including some very helpful guidance about learning the work at home, in the sectional rehearsal, and during the course.
HD: When did you first sing in a performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis?
AK: Well it was in 1978, I think March, with the Nottingham Harmonic Society conducted by Andrew Burnham, in the old Albert Hall Institute. Nearly thirty years ago.
HD: Or nearly forty years ago?
AK: You’re right. How time flies!
HD: Tell us a little about that experience.
AK: It was the first time I’d heard the work, I didn’t even know it existed really, and I thought it was fantastic, quite hard. Some bits are really easy and then other bits are absolute killers – fugues, because they’re so quick. There are still about 8 bars I’ve never known anybody sing properly. If you’re an alto, like me, you get to a certain page and you hear, “Can’t sing that bit.” [Laughs] But… with lots of slow practising…!
As you can see on my copy [from when I sang it], it has instructions written all over it, and beats in the bar for all the syncopated stuff. Fortunately, lots of it is doubled up in the orchestra.
HD: Do you have a favourite movement?
AK: Well the Credo and the Gloria are just wonderful, then from where the Praeludium starts and leads into the Benedictus, it has a divine violin solo, the basses sing a few notes and a quartet of soloists comes in, followed by the choir. A land of repose in all the excitement that’s going on. [Laughs again]
HD: What led you to choose this work for the Nottingham Festival Chorus?
AK: Well I thought it was about time we did something we could really get our teeth into, and I thought that no one else had done it for years, as far as I can remember. Or did the Bach Soc? Anyway, it will be a wonderful experience.
To be continued…