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Friday, May 13, 2011

The man with the scratchy voice

Yesterday I played with the Wasatch Choral at their end of season concert--and what an experience it was. First of all I had no idea this group even existed--it's kind of like the Utah Valley Symphony, but for choir. It consists of mostly those in their 60-80s with a few young vocal lovers thrown in.

It truly touched my life and the power of music was unmistakable. We played two songs: Symphony of Psalms by Stravinsky and Requiem by John Rutter. Both songs sing and praise Christ, although under different contexts and styles of music. A Requiem is a mass for the Dead while Symphony of Psalms incorporates the text of several psalms. Stravinsky wrote Symphony of Psalms during his neoclassical period, but the sound is very avant-garde. There is lots of dissonance, unusual harmonies and interval combinations. But I think it is beautiful. I could hear the fervor of Stravinsky's faith and religious conviction. We didn't play the exact score of Symphony of Psalms but a reduced chamber version with the piano filling in the holes. The vocal parts were difficult because of their unusual harmonies and while the choir certainly didn't sound professional, they pulled it off wonderfully. It was inspiring to see their love the music.

Although Symphony of Psalms was wonderful, Rutter's Requiem was heavenly. The music by itself is beautiful, but what touched my heart was the look on the singer's faces as they sang. One man in particular, with wrinkles, a stooped back, and caring eyes, truly sang from his heart. The look on his face as he sang "Kyrie Eleison" (Lord, Have Mercy) could not have been more poignant. His voice was scratchy and not as silky as it once was thanks to Father Time, but to me it could not have been more sincere. I knew he loved the Lord with all his heart.

The beautiful music Rutter created was magnified through the faith of the vocalists. Music is funny like that. It communicates what can not be felt through words alone. And it is not only music supplemented by words that touches my soul--often it is merely the music. The cello solo at the beginning of the second movement is deep and ernest, as if pleading to the Lord for supplication.

I am grateful I was given the opportunity to participate and contribute to such beauty and add my faith to those already singing and playing. This is why I play the flute.


And here is a link if you want to listen to the second movement. Here

4 comments:

Julie said...

You were amazing--so fun to hear you perform again.

Marianne said...

I'm glad you got a chance to perform the Requiem. I love that piece! Rutter speaks to me in a special way, and I'm glad you heard the voice, too!! ;-)

Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

So cool for you! I use to play the flute, I love it :) COngrats!

Linda Reece Ray said...

Rachel, This is Aunt Linda,Sterling's sister. I am so proud of the two of you. I learned to love theRequiem because our old friends, Morgan and Luanne Hanks sang it in the ASU Chorale many years ago. I just bought a stand for my keyboard ( I gave my baby grand to my dau Crystal) and opened up the beginning piano book. I taught Kaidon Kouts my other dau's son the black note keys for his first lesson. I then proceeded to play to the end of the first book again. I love Music. Love, Aunt Linda Reece Ray