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:Concert reflections 10/26/2012 performance (Haydn)

Here is a video of the Performance on October 26, 2012.

This is the front view.

I will be adding better audio once I get a better recording from our sound engineer and also a conductor view video later this week.

This is the back view;

  1. HaeSoo Cheon permalink

    First, props to everyone for the late night rehearsals and all the hard work.

    I think the difficulty with this piece for us was that it was really difficult to hear just due to the acoustics of Sage. The choir always sounded behind to me, and I was concerned that we were falling behind the soloists when we accompanied them. That aspect sounded much better during the actual performance.

    Kyrie: Overall really good. I think when we have eighth note pick ups, we need to be a little more conscious of how we play them. They weren’t together sometimes. Especially between strings and winds.

    Gloria: There was a lot less rushing (yay!) And that one part where the firsts and seconds trade off that run sounded really good. Sometimes it’s hard to hear articulation on the recording, so more precision with that for next time.

    Credo: The opening sounded really nice. Our phrasing was clear and the emphasis on the trills was explicit. It was also nicely balanced throughout the piece between choir and orchestra.

    Sanctus: Good intonation, good job following (pushing/pulling when necessary), overall not much to say

    Benedictus: Since there are more parts where the orchestra is exposed, clarity was important here. In general, I think it was the best we played it, but especially in the lower/middle registers, more precision could have helped.

    Agnus Dei: Not much to say but I actually think orchestra accompaniment could have played out more at times. The winds were pretty well balanced but sometimes the strings got lost.

    But really, it was a very solid performance. I don’t recall any scary moments (except when the soloist fell on Rachael…) and the choir covered up a lot of parts that were a little iffy anyways. Nice work everyone 🙂

  2. Katie Klapheke permalink

    The lower instruments could have played out more during important parts and backed away more during sustained.

    The first time the chorus comes in, it was somewhat awkward tempo- the adjustment period was too long.

    The balance was nice between the orchestra and soloists.

    The end of the Kyrie, the violins and chorus did not line up.

    The timpani was really strong and good throughout.

    Some of the pickups between strings and chorus could have been cleaner, especially in the fugue passages with the eighth note pickups.

    Overall, there could have been more articulation from the strings. On the recording, a lot of quick passages sound muddy.

    Also, I thought it sounded really good, especially compared to the first few rehearsals with the chorus!

  3. Rachael Comunale permalink

    Haydn reflection

    Kyrie – I think overall we stayed pretty well together, however in the very beginning I wish we could have had more dynamic contrast and swelling in the phrases. My other comment is that sometimes it seems like we were pushing the soloists and the choir, however for the most part I think we did a pretty good job staying together.

    Gloria – I really liked how we meshed with the choir in this movement; I think by this point we had kind of settled into playing and were more in synch with each other and with the singers. Like HaeSoo said, I really liked the call and response effect of the sixteenth note passages between the violin sections. Well done, guys ☺

    Quoniam – I’m actually surprised to say that when we’re accompanying the solo singer I think we could have been even a little bit louder because sometimes it sounded like we didn’t give her enough support!

    Credo – This is the movement where I noticed the most rushing, however we were able to get back under control when the choir took over so it didn’t turn into a huge problem.

    Et resurrexit – I really liked the ringing effect of the choir in this movement and the way the theme passed between the voices. I also really like that one moving cello line and thought it came through really nicely. In redemption for our lacking dynamics in the Kyrie, I thought we did really nicely making a contrast in both dynamic and character between the slow and fast sections in this movement as it segues in to the 6/8 section. That said, I could see what Chris meant about it sounding somewhat like a bathtub of sound…

    Benedictus – Great dynamics in the beginning when it’s just orchestra, I thought we set the stage nicely for the choir’s entrance (with one slight tuning mishap). The orchestra really sounds strong in the instrumental passages, and I think we even had a nice volume level compared to the choir because we consistently knew when to back down. My only critical remark would be that sometimes we came in a hair before the singers… whoops!

    Dona Nobis – This was definitely my favorite movement, and I thought that for all the freaking out we did about not being able to play it fast enough, we did a pretty good job. If anything, we were rushing the choir! It didn’t usually get us into trouble, but as we got closer to the end it became more and more noticeable…

    In general, I have to commend us for pulling this piece together in an incredibly short amount of time and for getting through the late night rehearsals. We definitely accomplished a lot and I really enjoyed getting to play this mass because playing with the choir is kind of fun.

    Scariest moment? Crushed by soprano. Ouch!

  4. David Vakili permalink

    This was definitely the best we have ever played and it was nice for a concert of only 50 minutes for everyone to give it their fullest, non-stop. I noticed while the orchestra had mastered the piece last week, the choir had mastered it by Thursday, in this concert the chantists and the soloists in particular shone out. All these gears working together really made the performance elevate from great to truly spectacular.

    General Comments:

    Memorable Moments
    My favorite moment(s) had to be the Allegro of Sanctum repeated again with Benedictus- the Hosanna of the choir particularly. The whole ensemble felt the ¾, the choir was very articulate in pronouncing the first beat and the orchestra clashed vehemently with the offbeats (violins especially with 3rd beat fz). And of course, everyone felt the gorgeous swells emanating across the measure- beautiful.

    Tempi Contrast
    Another favorite was m.68 of the Gloria. We were plowing through the ending and there was this one measure of lush, unhindered resilience where we took our time, and immediately came back to plowing towards the last measure. I think when our group makes tempi changes like that we have progressed to another dimension of musical mastery. Contrast in tempi is much more tricky because unlike contrast with dynamics (p, f, fz) it’s not written out.
    Towards that end, we could have done better with the 3rd beats of Agnus Dei. We just weren’t together and it is crucial to look at the conductor for every downbeat the soloists want to delay (which was most of them).

    We did great with the transitions with chants/page-turns. It was a little messy Thurs, but perfect on Friday. I think when we talk about this mass as a piece of contrast, the chants brought another element of contrast distinct from the orchestral core of the piece.

    Also, history has a crazy way of repeating itself: the Chamber Orchestra played the Missa Hadyn mass EXACTLY 50 YEARS AGO. For a nice view of orchestra history see below:

  5. Zach Wu permalink

    In general I think we match very well as an orchestra (after the first couple movements), but it isn’t really until Benedictus that I think we match our bow strokes with the singers’ voices.I would like for us to listen better, but I think given the echoing of Sage Hall we did pretty well. Once Benedictus came I was very happy with how our sounds built and meshed, but I think we need to be able to achieve this synchronization much earlier.

    Our transitions between movements and color changes threw us off rhythmically from the choir in general. Stay focused and watch Chris.

    Overall the tuning from the cellos was… not the same for every cellist, especially on the easy parts. Unfortunately, those were also the most exposed parts. It’s hard to do, but stay focused!

    I was actually very surprised at how the balances turned out. Even though Chris had told us numerous times that the basses were playing too loudly, I was still worried that we might still come across that way. It still happened once in awhile (particularly when cellists have repeating eighth notes that we tend to like playing with a boisterous voice), but overall I was happy with the balance.

    Overall I think we could have benefited more from maybe a sectional where each section made sure they’re tuning was in sync and generally paid more attention to Chris at transitions and periodically to make sure we weren’t rushing (which is a lot more obvious in a recording) but overall I enjoyed listening to our concert with the full combined sound of orchestra and chorus!

  6. Gene Hu permalink

    Kyrie – couple of exposed spots that could use a bit of tuning. Sometimes we did push the soloists. I think we did a pretty good job of not getting in the singers’ way, although there were a few places where I had to strain a bit to hear the chorus or soloists.
    Gloria – nice steady tempo, nice job guys. Sixteenth notes weren’t always the cleanest. Chris was definitely right in saying that our Barnes articulation wasn’t nearly crisp enough for a place like sage. I think it might help if you attempt to overdo it, because more likely than not it will come out to the way we would have wanted it, at least in this case.
    Quoniam – There were a couple of small places that were a bit out of tune. I agree with Rachel that we could have supported the soloist more, but overall I think we did a good job, and I would rather have us play a bit on the soft side than too loud and cover up the soloist
    Credo – again, tempo was pretty solid. Liked it
    Et resurrexit – there were parts where it just sounded like lots of music in my face, think again articulation could have helped, although I think it was still pretty good overall, nice dynamics
    Benedictus – pretty solid guys, can’t really think of anything that hasn’t been said yet
    Dona Nobis – sometimes I think the chorus swallows us a bit and there are places that I just think personally could have been louder, but overall really awesome especially compared to where we had been just a week before

    Overall that was really good for the time we had (feel like this is a pretty common phrase). Maybe in the future though, if we could somehow find the same motivation that we seem to find in the last week before the concert and use it near the beginning, we would probably be just phenomenal. I know that that’s much easier said than done and I personally am a pretty big culprit of waiting until the very last possible moment to practice, but I think if we just try to keep in mind that feeling we had the last week before the concert and possibly just try to at least pace our selves a little better it would be just that much better.
    Musically I think we did very solid with tempi and not getting to off kilter with the singers. Articulation, like I said before, was our biggest enemy and dynamics were solid, but could have been better. I think the last two just needed us to adapt a little bit better to the new setting, which I know was pretty hard considering that we were all pretty drained from the two rehearsals leading up to it. Think it’s always important to try to fight auto-pilot mode whenever possible. Great job though guys 😀

  7. Matthew Gerard Bange permalink

    Overall, I think we did a very good job considering the very limited rehearsal time we had with the choir and soloists in Sage. The acoustics in Sage prod you into being late or just off because of the echoes. But, we did a good job pushing through the goofy echoes and not rushing or dragging too severely. Maybe emphasizing the phrasing and dynamic changes would make that easier. Also, listening to the soloists and looking at Chris frequently would unify the orchestra and choir more. From the audience reaction, it seemed like the concert was very well received.

    Kyrie – As others have stated, we rushed the soloists some. During the interludes when the soloists don’t sing, we would speed up a little bit and then get pulled back when the soloists reentered. Our dynamic contrast in this movement was very good. The overall effect of this movement was perfect for opening the concert!

    Gloria – In the beginning, we accompanied the soloist very well. Not too loud and overbearing and not too soft and unnoticed. Our phrasing in the middle section was also very good. Arguable the most put together movement we played.

    Gratias – During some of the solos, (especially the male solos) we were a tad loud. I think if we focused on always being able to hear the soloist over yourself we would get rid of that issue. The 16th note passage in the middle flowed very nicely through the orchestra and sections. Adding more contrast between the ending of this movement and the beginning of the next might add some more excitement to the piece.

    Quoniam – The choir did a fantastic job passing off the In Gloria line! Great job by them! Our dynamics in this movement got a little monotonous. For my part at least (2nd violin) we don’t have a dynamic marking change for more than two pages. We should work on the contrast within the line to keep the energy flowing and maintain the audience’s focus.

    Credo – We did a great job getting the energy back after the choir dissipated it during their chant thing. The same as in the Quoniam, we need to exaggerate the dynamics within the line to keep up the energy. We rushed a little in the middle of this movement. Nothing too bad though.

    Et resurrexit – The overall feel of the movement was good. There are definitely areas that need some slow passage work within a section. Specifically whenever a section has moving notes that jump around, they tend to not be together perfectly.

    Agnus Dei (Dona) – The bane of my existence. Keeping on top of the notes and listening to other sections required so much concentration. Luckily, we improved drastically from the rehearsals. This movement just needed more time to have the sections solidify.

    Fantastic job guys! Every concert we do makes me glad I joined cco 🙂

    On a side note: Watching the video made me pity the poor people that had to crank their necks for the entire concert to watch us. Is there a better way to situate the orchestra and choir or audience so they don’t have to turn around?

  8. Hannah De Jong permalink

    I feel like the style of the orchestra could change to better match the choir. Part of the problem is we put a bit too much emphasis on the beats so the movement felt very stationary, and we could have let it flow more naturally.
    Our entrance was a little shaky. However, we matched the choir better stylistically here than in the Kyrie, and had better dynamic contrast. I think our desire to play a faster tempo here really came across in the way we played. Even if we felt like the piece should have gone faster, we have to make sure to stay at the proper tempo, not rush the soloists, and maintain the musicality and flow of the piece.
    I think we were better with acoustical timing in this movement than the previous ones. We rushed the soloist a bit in her entrance to Et incarnatus though, and we weren’t quite meshed with the choir at the entrance to Et resurrexit.
    Our scales at the beginning sounded a little too mechanical. We needed to make the ritardando fit in stylistically. This improved over the course of the piece. Again, we rushed the soloists.
    Good dynamic contrast in this movement, but we needed to watch each other better throughout. We also pushed too much in the beginning of the Osanna.
    Agnus Dei
    It was pretty hard to hear the orchestra part during our pizzicatos, but that was probably meant to be the balance given that we didn’t have the melody. I think we pulled off a reasonable tempo on Dona nobis pacem. This was the most exciting movement for me, personally.
    Overall, there were plenty of things that could have improved, as described above, but I think we made great progress from even a few rehearsals prior.

  9. Diana Glattly permalink

    Given the amount of time for rehearsal and our busy schedules as Cornell students, I think we gave an amazing performance. For me at least, the Haydn went from being rather tedious (and exhausting at late night rehearsals) to a really beautiful experience. My mom cried throughout the entire thing! (don’t tell her I told you that)

    The beginning was regal! It really set the tone with good dynamic change and a good amount of umph. We supported the soloists well (besides rushing them a bit) – backing off and then coming forward to fill the spaces with our interludes.

    The orchestra and soloist were not together in the beginning – this movement had a slightly rocky start. The orchestra was rushing we were not hitting the same downbeat as chorus. Quoniam had a few out of tune moments, but overall, the orchestra did a good job of getting out of the soloists’s ways.

    We were playing clear and the trills could be heard. There were a few fantastic dynamic changes that really had a nice effect. The rushing wasn’t terrible in this movement – it was kept better under control.

    This was beautiful – orchestra and chorus were balanced well. Like HaeSoo said, we were able to accomplish more of the pushing and pulling we strove for in rehearsal.

    As stated previously, the dynamic change was good and we mostly together with chorus.

    The orchestra could have supported the soloists more, and the pizz falls apart here and there, but this is better than us being overpowering. The transition into the Dona Nobis was smooth/exciting. This is the end of the piece, the audience has been listening to the same thing for almost an hour so I think we could have done more to make it more contrasting. Loud isn’t loud if it’s always loud (< make sense?) I have to say, it was a little…interesting that the piece didn’t end with the last note and instead there were chants – it sort of dampened the exciting ending. Plus came as a complete to surprise to all of us LOL 🙂

  10. Jaime Lee permalink

    In this concert period, I feel that we fell into the mold of the exponential learning curve that Chris has mentioned, where we stall and then all of a sudden improve dramatically in the few rehearsals prior to the concert. That being said, I think we ended up playing very well on the night of the performance. We were much better at keeping tempo and watching each other as we played. But there is still room for improvement in both of those areas in our future concerts.

    We did a good job of staying together with each other in the orchestra but at times were off with the choir. We also rushed the vocalists quite a bit at certain parts of the movement and overpowered their solos in a few places. Overall, I think we phrased the lines well while keeping the texture light.

    The balance of sound in this movement is better, as we didn’t overpower the choir and blended our sounds well. There was quite a bit of rushing in the sixteenth notes towards the end, however, but we managed to stay and end together.

    During the performance I felt that we did a good job of balancing our sound with the soloists’, but in the recording it is actually difficult to hear the accompaniment (the bass line in particular). I felt this movement could have had more color as it sounds a bit plain.

    The rushing was kept to a minimum in this movement and sounded pretty good overall. The dynamic changes were noticeable and the movement has a clear direction.

    This movement was overall very good, but we could have been a bit more careful in our entrances with the soloists. Thankfully it does not seem like we rushed the vocalists. More rehearsals with the singers prior to the concert may have prevented some small mishaps and made it easier for us to match their entrances in the performance.

    Agnus Dei:
    Because we were very conscious of not overpowering the vocalists, I feel we ended up playing softer than was necessary. In the recording it sounds like there could have been more support from the orchestra, especially in the pizzicato sections. This was definitely the most fun movement to play, however, and I was glad that the lighter, more exciting color of this section did not result in rushed passages.

  11. Harris Karsch permalink

    Poor Zach. 😦 Any floor that a cellist cannot use without a rockstop is not a valid floor.

    My only experience accompanying singers has been in musical theater, so I wasn’t expecting too much going into this concert. (I was expecting it to be sort of like CSO. Ha…) As hard as it is for a small group of instrumentalists to get along with a small group of singers, our size made it even harder. In general, our work on balance I felt really showed through, even if it was a bit off at a times.

    However, as others have mentioned, as hard as we worked at matching volume, I don’t think we worked enough at blending tambre. Obviously woodwinds and strings and singers all have different overtones, but had we worked on even some slight affects with our bow strokes, it would have gone a long way. While we do work on this during regular rehearsals, I think this subtle aspect was forgotten once we got to working with the choir, and several times throughout the performance I realized that we were inconsistent in this regard (though thinking back about it, I noticed this slightly in a few professional recordings as well).

    I’ve never particularly enjoyed classical choirs, but this concert definitely changed my view on that. As a general rule, I tend to ignore lyrics in songs unless they start with “We’re no strangers to love” or “I want to be the very best”, but in the classical repertoire, I now appreciate what enunciation adds.

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