a little something extra

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

on the plane of aspiration

I'm on the roster to sing the Mozart Requiem with the Pacific Symphony later this fall. We get very little rehearsal time for this piece, so everybody on the roster is expected to be competent with the notes, rhythms and texts before our first get-together.

I sang in a workshop of the Requiem with Maestro Robert Shaw back when I was still an undergrad. We had to purchase our scores for that workshop, and I still have mine. So last week I bought a CD of the Requiem and dug out my score to begin my homework.

When I reached the last page of the score, I discovered that on the blank facing page I had written down a handful of quotable quotes that Maestro Shaw dropped on us that day. Since many of my small group of readers are or have been singers, and Ben and Wanda sang with Shaw before he died, I thought you might enjoy reading them. Here they are...

God loves right notes.

The conductor is just a necessary evil.

Some quarter notes are longer than others.

Melodies are notes looking for a place to rest... consequently one sings their energy quality.

If we had three legs, our marches would be waltzes.

It'll hurt your voice, but it'll be great for your mind.

Make the diminuendo especially contagious... like a terrible disease.

Great music meets great text on the plane of aspiration.

The function of music is to make time meaningful.

The page is dated October 20, 1990. Eeep.


At 12:52 PM , Blogger Wanda said...

I soooo remember those workshops, and despite warnings from all you elder Emory choristers (esp. about King David), I just thought he was like Grandpa. Goddamn he was a smart and funny man. Having just had ASOC rehearsal last night and enduring yet another Shaw imitation alla Norman Mackenzie, to see the maestro's actual quotes beats the hell out of a pale imitation. Thank you.

BTW, I purchased the Aveda hair goo from Ebay. Thanks for letting me know. You're the best. I shall not be beaten.

At 1:53 PM , Blogger meeegan said...

Oh good! I'm glad the auction worked out in your favor. You have such pretty hair, it should have the goo it wants. :-)

At 9:45 PM , Blogger Benjamin said...

We occasionally get shaw letters to choruses of old sent to us in the course (there's an homonymic pun for you) of a rehearsal schedule leading up to a performance week, and every time I see them I'm in complete awe of the man. To say he was erudite is like saying Mount Everest is tall. The vastness of his experience and cross-referential capacity was encyclopedic in a Library of Congress sort of way. Totally agreeing with Wanda, what we got now in ASOC is a ghost of a ghost (and because there is no good original material, Shaw is quoted frequently - this serves to both warm and frustrate simultaneously).

At least we're doing the Brahms Requiem now, one of my favorites. Have you heard Wanda's performance of that glorious soprano solo with the ASO in St. Philip's?

I have no hair goo story.

At 11:35 AM , Blogger meeegan said...

Your hair is independent, and we like it that way. :)

I have not heard Wanda's Brahms solo, but I'm confident that it's glorious.


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