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Thread: Durufle Requiem

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    Midshipman, Forte cjvinthechair's Avatar
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    Durufle Requiem

    So often played as a 'rival' to Faure (well, not for me !) but pleasant enough, so when the time came to learn it for a London choral festival - my music reading is at about 5%, so have to learn the part(bass 2) - thought it would be easier than, say, Verdi which I 'mastered' 3/4 years back.

    Couldn't be more wrong - because much of it is Gregorian, not tune based, it's by no means easy, or particularly memorable. Got 3 weeks - maybe 30 hours - to get it right....not convinced !

    Following that it's Elgar 'Gerontius' for August - do hope that turns out a little more user-friendly; at least I start out with a better knowledge of the piece.

    Any other singers, choral or otherwise, out there ?
    Clive

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hello Clive,

    Hey, you're knocking one of my favorite works...Yes its tricky but the end result is goosebumps. Maybe you have not had much experience with Gregorian...Correct me if I'm wrong on that...You might benefit from reading the text without the music so that the text flows like the ebbing and surging of tidal movements. Be mindful of the metrical rhythm of the prose and attend to the important phrases in each strophe. Its a learning curve alright, but you'll be stronger as a musician when you do it right.

    Best regards always...
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Midshipman, Forte cjvinthechair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corno Dolce View Post
    Hello Clive,

    Hey, you're knocking one of my favorite works...Yes its tricky but the end result is goosebumps. Maybe you have not had much experience with Gregorian...Correct me if I'm wrong on that...You might benefit from reading the text without the music so that the text flows like the ebbing and surging of tidal movements. Be mindful of the metrical rhythm of the prose and attend to the important phrases in each strophe. Its a learning curve alright, but you'll be stronger as a musician when you do it right.

    Best regards always...
    Ah, Mr. CD, kind of you to rally to the cause (lost cause thus far !)
    Sorry if you love the piece - it's...growing on me, but not at the goosebump stage yet ! Never sung Gregorian, and am still not singing Gregorian...really struggling, particularly in the first 3 movements, a) to master the notes, which don't lend themselves to being memorised, b) to follow the entries (Introit's the worst) & then pick up any sort of rhythm, c) to fit the words to the notes.
    Verdi was the first work I tried to learn to sing, about 4 years ago, after neglecting a halfway decent voice virtually throughout my adult life. Took maybe 100 hours, but I did OK in the concert, & everyone said 'hey, if you can do that, you can do anything !' WRONG ! Did most of the Messiah choruses (and hated it so much I didn't even sing in the concert !), Missa Solemnis, Elijah, Brahms (my showpiece now is 'Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit' - yes, I know it's a soprano passage...transposes beautifully for bass !).

    I'm afraid you flatter me with some of your advice - where/what is 'the metrical rhythm of the prose' ?...I can't find a rhythm - & 'phrases in strophes' is just beyond me. I'm a very simple man, Mr. CD, and unworthy to be debating the finer points of music with experts like yourself on these sites. I just know I can sing,& I love (most of !) the music, but am probably rather like a man who adores the idea of the ocean, but can't swim & gets seasick; he's rather up against it ! And so, sadly, am I with Durufle.

    Unless I can fly to Moscow for a week's masterclass I think I'm wasting my time...but, watch this space, not given up just yet. Thanks so much for trying to help !
    Clive

  4. #4
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hello Clive,

    A masterclass with me? That might make you even more confused. A quick albeit "dirty" suggestion: Take out your score, lock yourself in a room so that you are undisturbed and sing along with this recording:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TneUTtCAJlE


    Just sing as if you are in this choir, repeat and repeat and repeat and...but don't sing more than 1.5 hours at a stretch 'cos you'll hurt your voice. Take a half-hour break and drink hot tea with honey and lemon and then resume practising. Spend some 8 hour days with the music...

    Of course, when you rehearse with the conductor in your specific situation there will be some differences but those will be minor. The important thing is to practise as if your life depended on it. I fully believe that you can do it...Go Clive, Go...Don't be discouraged by the challenges the music presents you...Challenges are meant to be surmounted!

    God Bless you sir in your quest,

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Midshipman, Forte cjvinthechair's Avatar
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    Great minds, Mr. CD - that is the recording I first downloaded to help ! Gone beyond that now; bought a very good download from 'Rehearsal Arts' that has a real singer taking the bass part above a genuine recording. It's good, I'm not - problems,as highlighted before, remain.
    Should actually add to those the eternal problem I have, that with an untrained voice which is naturally deep I have trouble regularly hitting Middle C safely, never mind the E's & F's which composers seem to think basses should manage.
    Would rather there were a few more F's & E's below the stave....what are they, F2/E2 I think. No Vladimir Miller, but give me 'low' any time !
    Don't sadly have 8 hrs. a day to give - 1, 1 & a half maybe; there's life even beyond Durufle ! Anyhow, your suggestions are much appreciated, & I've not given up just yet.
    Will let you know if I succeed on 5/6th April - don't hold your breath, though (oh, breathing, yes, that's another slight problem !).
    Clive

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    Midshipman, Forte cjvinthechair's Avatar
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    Update after another week - learnt the notes...less successful with actually singing it: placing of words, impossibly high E's & F's, some lo..ng phrases. Will go and do the workshops; can't imagine at this stage that'll I'll sing in the concert...too embarrassing !
    Clive

  8. #7
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjvinthechair View Post
    Update after another week - learnt the notes...less successful with actually singing it: placing of words, impossibly high E's & F's, some lo..ng phrases. Will go and do the workshops; can't imagine at this stage that'll I'll sing in the concert...too embarrassing !
    Tis excellent news that you'll do the workshops - Dig into those workshops and don't be afraid to ask questions!!! You can do it - Don't doubt yourself!!!...
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Midshipman, Forte cjvinthechair's Avatar
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    Ah, Mr. CD - can you pop across & be my choirmaster, please ?
    More important, how are things with your choir(s) ? Maybe I should come and sing with you guys. Seems to me(and I could well be wrong - usually am !) that Russian composers appreciate more the depths of a bass voice, & don't always expect them to be messing about halfway up the treble stave !
    Afraid questions won't help me - I know the piece now, after 40+ hours; could probably have a good stab at all the bass notes/entries etc. without the score, but still struggle to fit the words, & just hate the high sections, which because I don't know how to relax/breathe etc. simply shut the throat down so I can't make a sound at all. It's pathetic, truth be told !
    Never mind - it's all part of a lovely, 4/5 day choral festival based round the Royal Festival Hall in London, so will have a great time listening to choirs that do know what they're doing, however feeble my own contribution will be.
    Clive

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    Midshipman, Forte cjvinthechair's Avatar
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    Outcome (bit of a 'downer', I'm afraid ): Festival(illuminating) 'minus' me(pitiful) = Will stick to listening !
    Clive

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hello Clive,

    Since I don't know how much choral experience you actually have, I can't really gage what efforts you need to undertake. The very fact that you have performed the piece is a very good experience for you in more ways than you can imagine. I honor your courage and your wholehearted effort in having done the work. Even if you feel that your effort was piecemeal, you have stretched yourself beyond from where you were before and that is vitally important as a chorister - ergo, the more experience the better you become. Go back to the Durufle recording(score in hand) and listen and sing along with it. Don't just put away the score in disgust since you will not do yourself any favors by doing such. Then you should also keep active with acquiring more repertoire e.g. Britten's War Requiem, Berlioz Requiem, and how about Durufle's other jewel "Messe Cum Jubilo" for Male Voice Choir...? As to my zipping over to Wiltshire, its pretty much impossible since I am Mr. Mom to my four 4 year old children.

    I am glad you wonder about the Bass sections in proper Russian choirs...We divide the basses into three sections, ergo: Baritone, First Bass, and Second Bass. Second Bass aka Bass-Octavist is not utilised for singing the high E's and F's. Why? Because the Second Bass will have a very harsh and overbearing sound in that octave...sort of like "blasting". Yes, there are plenty of First Basses that can reach very low notes but also can sing without blasting the high E's and F's. The Second Basses are becoming quite rare even here in Russia, as rare as finding Rhubarb in the middle of a Siberian Winter with constant temperatures in the -50 centigrade range. If you really are interested in Russian Choral Art, I will highly recommend that you read: "The Choir and how to direct it" by Pavel Chesnokov. Here's a link if you wish to order it:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Choir-How-.../dp/0970176732

    Pavel Chesnokov was the Director of Music at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow until the Bolsheviks closed the Cathedral doors. His music is exceedingly fine and a challenge for any choir regardless of professional experience. Please let me know your perceptions after reading Mr. Chesnokov's book. The English translation from the Russian is really good and will be a valuable addition to any choral aficionado's library. Yes, it will be a challenge but don't despair. Just keep on striving...

    Cheers,

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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  13. #11
    Midshipman, Forte cjvinthechair's Avatar
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    Mr. CD - thank you for your kindness.
    Will keep it brief, as could 'drivel' on for ever. Voice has, basically, 'gone'. Hadn't sung/practised properly for 18 months +; couldn't even sing the notes I thought I should reach, & even the lower register sounded feeble compared with what I once managed.
    Whole experience so demoralising that I shan't be singing again. Will continue, though, to love listening, & hope we can still exchange some favourites on that front.
    Chesnokov's book seems aimed at choral directors rather than singers - in which case it'll be way above my head. Sadly it's rather expensive too, for something which I'm almost certainly too ignorant to enjoy.
    So, that's quite enough of that - attending 3 nights of a music festival from tomorrow, including Mozart Missa Brevis, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, & a lovely modern work 'Requiem for an Angel' by British composer Paul Carr(link to YT extracts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RzPhwGNhIo ), as well as music by Vaughan Williams, Sullivan, Rutter & Chilcott.
    That will be a bit less stressful than last weekend.
    Look forward to speaking with you again soon, Mr. CD.
    Clive

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hello Clive,

    A rank and file music amateur can understand Chesnokov so I'm afraid I don't comprehend your hesitance. As to the price, well, we all have to live within our budgets and make choices thereafter...Sad to hear that you're giving up on performing music...The fellowship and camaraderie in choral groups is more worth than the puny little sacrifice of one's time and efforts...but then again, we all have our priorities.............No offense intended...

    PM me if you have questions or views you'd like to share...

    Cheers...

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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