for my sins…. despite the fact that I am not Jewish.
I have just completed my third High Ho @ Hebrew Tabernacle located at 185th and Fort Washington…Dr. Ruth’s Temple. She was there, I couldn’t see her though because I was sitting in a room about 10 ft wide by 12 feet long, phoning in the Kedusha’s via mic while clad in my usual High Ho wardrobe of jeans, a sweatshirt and studiously engrossed in the current issue of BITCH magazine in between the Kadosh Ata’s and Baruch Schem’s…..
Today was Yom Kippur, the day that makes me question why I do this once a year. I started singing at 9:30 AM, finished at 7:27. Yes, I kept track of the time, as I have the past three years. Jesus Christ….I have about three working brain cells and they’re all screaming at me in harmonic minor… NO MORE!!!!!
I’ll tell you this: High Holidays are a big deal in the Jewish church, so big that they sell tickets to them….and I guess I should count myself lucky to make some ridiculously easy cash for the time being. Decreasing attendance numbers in the temple year after year, and it’s only a matter of time before they cut the choir.
In fact this year I was running late for Rosh Hashana, and as I sprinted toward the door, I was greeted by the president of the congregation holding the door for what I assumed was a late soprano. When I entered the choir crawl space and took my seat next to my mic, I was informed that there weren’t enough people in the congregation for a Torah Service…. we needed a minyan (apparently 11 Jews)… which is kind of funny when one thinks of the phrase Satan and his minions…really just 11 Jews and a Satan they don’t believe in…
And I’m spent……
Rock and Sand
Quick Post… I feel inclined to depart some Melly wisdom on you. Those of you who know me and love me for who I am have come to terms with my intensity for details, and organization. I’ve recently come across an application that’s kinda awesome, so I thought I’d do a post on it. Sign up for TaDa List. Seriously.
Date it, label it, whatever. This ap helps you keep a running list of things that need to be accomplished and crossed off throughout the day. You can edit it, and e-mail yourself, or someone else the list. You can also subscribe to changes on the list in an RSS feeder, this is ideal if you’re a project coordinator.
I’ve been keeping two lists, one for general things that I need to do and one for things that I need to do for my day job. I then take that list and break those items down based on ‘sand’ and ‘rock’ Rock is an task that can only be accomplished with a set amount of time and concentration, Sand is a task that I can chip away at while the phone is ringing off the hook, and I’m gchatting with my sister. I’ve learned recently that the key to getting things accomplished and staying focused is toggling back and forth between a rock task and a sand task. You’re always accomplishing something, and alternating between more concentrated tasks keeps me alert. At the end of the day, I change the date, and re-email myself the list.
Writing a blog post was something on my list of things to do today…filed under ‘sand’. Check.
Heading upstate today with George Steel’s Vox Ensemble to perform the Tallis Spem in Allium and the Ligeti Lux Aeterna, both amazing pieces of choral lit. Joining us on the program will be the Albany Symphony and ICE, including Mafoo to open the new Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at RPI. Apparently the hall is suspended or something…
I’m just psyched to perform these two pieces. I’ve performed the Tallis before, and for those of you that don’t know it, or have never experienced it live, it’s a 40 part motet. 8 choirs of SATBB, and is traditionally performed in the round for maximum effect. It’s chock full of your typical Tudor show stopper moments, imitation and false relations (which make me hot all over)… how does one write 40 independent lines of counterpoint?? God, I don’t know… but he does it, simply and slowly, beginning choir by choir sometimes with two voices in duet, moving from choir to choir and then back around, some antiphonal stuff from side to side, and then finally at measure 40 (and I’ll talk about the numbers cuz I’m really nerdy like that) ALL 40 voices enter, and it’s HOT.
Finally, the Ligeti. Damn. My first experience with this piece. 16 lines, again one on a part, which is near impossible with the staggered phrasing…. I’m quite skeptical of sacred text settings done by contemporary composers, mainly because the text stress and rhetoric are often lost for the sake of extended technique and all that jazz. Not knowing much about Ligeti, this sort of pointillistic approach to the text was jarring at first, but he contrasts the shorter sections with sustained suspended chords that keep the overall textual ideas moving. The piece is essentially a canon, with each of the parts moving with a different microbeat, 6,5,4,3, a soundsplash of chromaticism interspersed with real sexy consonants. The result is that someone always makes it to the end first, and has to wait for the others to catch up. That moment of moving from the dissonance to the sonority of the unison pitch gets me every time. It’s truly amazing stuff.