Basso Continuo's Music Page
[Top Page] > [Gloria Diary] > [Gloria Diary 2005(2)]
[English] [Japanese/Nihongo] [Korean/Han-gug-eo]
← Gloria" Diary 2005(1) "Gloria" Diary 2005(2) →
On Saturday, November 19, 2005, the concert of "Gloria Ensemble and Choir Vol.13" will be performed. Here is the information of the concert. I belong this group as a harpsichord or organ player. The pieces in this year are Two "Magnificat"s by J.S.Bach and John Rutter! ... What are waiting for us ? Please read the following...
NOTE : I divide "Gloria Diary 2005" as the following;
It is the date of combined training. For the music of J. S. Bach, the chorus had already finished to verify the music sheet. And for John Rutter, the remaining is the last movement only.
For J. S. Bach's Magnificat c the most important problem is still "melisma". Many notes of melisma are difficult to perform in J. S. Bach's Magnificat. Especially, as I wrote on July 10, "Fecit Potentiam" has fugal subject consist of melisma. I felt that most part of chorus could not digest this fugal subject. When we treat these notes of melisma without expressing any difficulties, we can say that we digest them.
For John Rutter's Magnificat, for me, the biggest problem is its rhythm. Let me show "Fecit Potentiam" for example. It begins with the following introductions played with violoncello contrabass and harp.
I cannot say that its rhythm is simple. Certainly, some members in violoncello section cannot perform its rhythm exactly with watching music sheet only at once.
Complex rhythm continuesc from the 30th measure when fugal development starts.
Using fugal development in "Fecit potentiam in brachio suo" could be seen also in J. S. Bach's Magnificat as I mentioned on July 10. Rutter's music may reveal the influence from J. S. Bach. However, its atmosphere is quite different. Accompanying instrumental bass has strange melody and rhythm. Strangeness is not only instrumental bass. The interval between the first Dux (subject introduced in the beginning with principal key in fugue) and the first Comes (subject introduced as an answer) is not complete fifth but diminished fifth! In this fugal exposition, subjects are introduced with free intervals.
The most complex rhythm comes after fugal development.
Oops! How may irregular time! This movement has not so slow. (The tempo indication says that "Allegro energico ♩=132".) To play this music perfectly, it is needed to have good reflexes. And I cannot think that I have good reflexes(+_+;). It brings serious problems(bomb!)
The following is another "dangerous point".
(From "Magnificat anima mea")
("Sicut erat in principio" from the finale)
The former is the beginning music, "Magnificat anima mea" and the latter is from the finale, "Sicut erat in principio". It is obvious that the latter is the recapitulation of the former. However the latter includes suddenly changing irregular time. The reason of this irregular time is perhaps that the reprised melody should be fitted to the words of "sæcula sæculorum". But player of instrument does not treat any words, and, without considering any words, it is nothing but surprising event. It is needed to have good reflexes also for playing these measures.
Uguuuuuh! The last combined training on August 21 was bad. Especially for John Rutter's piece, it should be said that it was miserable. I showed my rhythm-deafness in many times. It was too bad to write it. I become blue when I try to remember it. I do not want to remember. So I will not write about the training on August 21(bomb!). I have start the operation of "emergency-reading" of Rutter's music. Today, September 11, is the time when I show the result of this "operation". I am afraid on it.
The combined training consist of "Ensemble & Choir - Orchestra and the Chorus" starts from 6:00 p.m. Before it, I was touching the organ for about 4 hours. The instrument I was touching is not electrical keyboard simulating organ, but real pipe organ which will be used in concert performance. The purpose of this "organ training" is not only to be accustomed to keyboard touch of organ, but to designing the sound alternation, that is, operating organ stop, or registration. I already played this instrument in last year's concert so I know the its characteristic. I touched the keyboard and changed registration in many times. When I felt that I found appropriate sound, I wrote the indication of registration to my music sheet. In the combined training from 6:00 p.m., I control my electrical keyboard instrument based on this indication of registration and feed back the result to next organ training to improve registration.
Now, the beginning of the combined training was Bach's Magnificat. I started a new attempt. It is to play with reading orchestral score. The realization of basso continuo in the music sheet of my part is only one example and it is not needed to obey it. Rather it is needed to know the behavior of other parts and it is important for the player of basso continuo. So it is better to use score than part for me. Of course, it is hard to turn over pages when the music includes many parts. But aria (music with one solo singer), duet (with two solo singers) or trio (with three solo singers) does not include so many parts and it is as easy to turn over pages as sheet music of a part. The result of training is? not so bad. I want say that ? I should have started earlier trainings.(^^;)
I felt that we are proceeding well, except for "hell of melisma" in "Fecit potentiam". Other remaining problems are found in arias and duets. We still cannot understand tempo change just before the recapitulation of ritornello (= introduction, intermission, and coda played instruments of tutti), that is, between deceptive cadence and perfect cadence. It may be solve only the trainings when we will be with solo singers.
In Rutter's Magnificat, the chorus often lose tempo with too much emotion, while, the orchestra is the inverse. Tempo feeling is not so bad, but it is often required to add much appropriate expression. More than half of the indications from the chief conductor, Mr. Kataoka was for the orchestra. I felt that large remodeling in orchestra's performance was started.
However, Rutter's music may be difficult for the members who have played only classical music. It often borrows the style of popular music especially in its rhythm. A member of playing contrabass, Takaiwa-san, has enough background about jazz and popular music, and his joining enriched the bass-line. But many members of orchestra does not have such rhythm as the beginning of "Fecit potentiam".
I think that this beginning uses style of jazz piano. If I played it with pianoforte, I would play as the following example. It is unison. But some music notes are omitted. It is similar to playing jazz piano.
As the following music sheet, especially timpani shows, Rutter's orchestration suggests that my thought can be correct. The part of timpani is somewhat similar to my thought.
?so , today's conclusion is "Bass players including violoncello, bassoon, and harp. Shall we play jazz ?"???Something may be wrong(bomb!).
† Additionally saying, we get handouts and posters to distribute after the training. I created a new web page based on these design. You can see that my webpage is almost complete copy of our poster.(^^;)
Does such the kind of "common melody" exist? The following series of melodies may be nominated.
Do you understand all titles of these music?(^^;)
We know that the theme of "Quia fecit mihi magna" in Rutter's Magnificat has the background of long history from the middle age (See Note). And we can also remark that all of music but Gregorian chant are developed with fugal technique, or, countrapuntal technique mainly consisting of imitation such like fugue. There are necessary relationship between theme and developing technique.
In Rutter's Magnificat, the above theme constructs fugal or contrapuntal development and terminated with perfect cadence of A-flat major (As-dur). And then, "Sanctus" in "odrinarium missæ" appears. In this section, Gregorian chant "IN FESTIS B. MARIAE VIRGINIS (CUM JUBILO) / SANCTUS" is used with its original style. Religious atmosphere appears the most strongly in the whole of Rutter's Magnificat and it is very impressive.
I feel that it is possible to say that the theme of "Quia fecit mihi magna", which has the background of long history, used as an item to prepare the religious atmosphere. Great music would have its background of long history, or, tradition.
Note : Hermann Keller said that it is fundamental theme of music. (Hermann Keller, "Das Wohltemperierte Klavier von Johann Sebastian Bach. Werk und Wiedergabe, Bärenreiter Verlag Kassel, 1965". I read its Japanese translation by Koji Takeuchi and Tomoko Tonogaichi and published by Ongaku-no-tomo-sha on 1986.)
Please let me know your impression via e-mail or BBS.
Return to top page