01 June, 2013

Es war um 1780 und es war in Wien

I sang last night with the Greenwood Singers, the small vocal ensemble I have joined recently.

Christian Turner and his wife Claire were very kind to host our choral soirée in their residence for a few of our friends. A small audience of 58 fit snuggly into their living room. There was just enough space left for the 13 choir singers, a small orchestral ensemble around the piano and our conductor Duncan Wambugu.

In line with the general practice of the choir, the singers provided food to their guests in the form of home-made cocktail niblets, cheese and crackers, fruit. One of us had the great idea of producing a rich chocolate-and-walnut brownie to give us energy before singing. There were even scones with cream and strawberry jam to recover strength after the concert.

We sang a few Renaissance and baroque motets in the first half. There was also a lovely Bach sonata played by flautist Claire Hollis and pianist James Laight. In the second half we sang the Coronation Mass by Mozart.

Judging by the genuine sparkle in the eyes of the audience and their smiles, I think we put on a good show. The content of the donation bowl collected after the concert was also witness to the audience's pleasure. The donations will be shared by the Turning Point Trust and the Kenyan micro-finance project Kipepeo.

Two of my guests, who do not know each other, particularly pleased me by telling me they felt privileged to have heard this music in such an intimate setting. Indeed, it is one that is very close to the original setting of music making in the 18th century when professional musicians would perform to the private enjoyment of their sponsors and their guests. In our day and age of mass entertainment when football stadiums are filled up to watch large-scale productions of operas and symphonic works, I now feel just as privileged to have been able to endulge in the simple but exclusive pleasure of performing chamber music in a 'chamber' setting.

Rock me Amadeus
Falco, Falco 3, Gig Records Germany

Photo: The Municipal Archives of Trondheim

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