Angela’s Guide to Learning the Missa Solemnis – Part 3

If you missed Part 1 click here, and if you missed Part 2 click here. (But do come back for Part 3!)

Sectional Rehearsals and Pencils

HD: Tell us a little about the sectional rehearsals this week.

AK: Well hopefully, if people have looked at their parts beforehand and marked them up, the sectionals will help everyone make more sense of it all, which will make it easier to rehearse a bit more before the course.

HD: So it helps us to identify the difficult bits?

AK: Yes, we will also work on those on the course when it’s all put together. We’re going to have some sectional rehearsals within the course this time, too.

HD: When we register at the course, we’re always given an MfE pencil. What do you hope we’ll do with it?

AK: (Sharp intake of breath) Use it to put in words of wisdom from me (laughs) and highlight bits you know you’ll need to look at yourself later. I put those as a list at the front [of my score].

HD: I put a cross at the top of the pages where I go wrong.

AK: Yes, people have different ways.

HD: When there’s a tricky page turn, I find it helps write the first notes of the new page at the bottom of the previous page – extend the lines, write in the notes and the words.



AK: Yes!

AK: Things to write in during the course will be dynamics – I might put in different ones from the score, or you’ll need to put a ring round those that are there so as not to miss them. I might shorten a note, so that needs to be marked, as does where to put the final consonant. Then there’s marks where to breathe and where not to breathe. People think they’ll remember, but they won’t be able to, not when they’re in a concert situation. There you need as many props as possible to keep you on the straight and narrow.

HD: Perhaps some people think they’re not very good if they need to write a lot in.

AK: Which is absolute rubbish.

HD: Remember that clarinettist’s score at the Summer School? It was covered in markings.

AK: The best people assiduously put everything in.

HD: So would you recommend writing in the beats of a bar in some places? I find it helps me to count rests especially.

AK: Oh yes. You just need to put beats in to make it easier for yourself, and maybe an ‘and’, like 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +, especially for off the beat, syncopated sections. The notes are important, of course they are, but it’s the rhythm that’s more important, because if the rhythm’s not there, you haven’t got a hope.

(AK starts singing a few bars. Very nice.)

Sectional rehearsal are THIS WEEK. Thursday for the tenors and basses, Friday for sopranos and altos, both at NTU Clifton Site, 7.30pm.