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Items by Bruce Simonson

Results: 40
Title Author Date
Forum message: voice placement without formal audition?
Hi Gang,   I remember reading somewhere on the site, of a way to help singers determine their voice placement and section in the chorus (e.g., 2nd tenor or baritone? ... alto or 2nd soprano ... that sort of thing).  I can't relocate the post, so I thought I'd ask here.   The gist of the post...
Comment: Re: Selecting a Poulenc Gloria Score
Wow.  Wish I had known about this (if it was available) four years ago.  I spent a lot of midnight hours, identifying inconsistencies, and trying to come to decisions on what to do about them.  I do definitely recommend you take advantage of professional scholarship on this; you won't be disappoi...
Comment: Re: Mozart Requiem -- rehearsal aids and ideas?
Greetings, helpful Listers!   @Blanche, @Phyllis -- I think our choir has gotten to the point that rehearsal CDs are an expectation.  I've been happy to provide these, although I sometimes wonder how much they are used.  Many singers pick up a copy, listen once or twice, and then rely on learni...
Forum message: Mozart Requiem -- rehearsal aids and ideas?
Hi Folks,   I will be preparing the chorus for our symphony's performance of the Mozart Requiem next spring, and I am looking for ideas and aids to assist in the rehearsal process.  Anything from diction aids to personal discoveries that helped develop a great chorus.  I am so looking forward t...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi John,   Thanks for these details.  With respect to BWV 248 (recalling the score from memory at work), I think this means, in I, III, V, and VI, that two ("master" as you say) high clarino players (piccolo trumpets, in A or D, I assume), and a suitable ("apprentice") player who can reinfor...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi David,   Actually, your contribution is worth much more than $0.02!  Impressive, BWV 248, three years running.  Bless NYC for its opportunities and audiences.   What was the venue?  ... and how were rehearsals run?    Must have been a very charismatic conductor.   -Bruce...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi John,   <side topic about modern horns ...>   Thank you so much for your insight / explanation about horns 1/3 and 2/4.  It makes a lot of sense, I had never given this the thought it deserves.   As the romantics took over from the classicals (who took over from the baroqu...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi John,   It appears that BWV 248:IV:1 is one of Bach's many parody (warning: YTOTI) movements in his Christmas Oratorio.  I can't find all of the details, but apparently BWV 213 predates BWV 248 by about a year.  BWV 213:1 - Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen - (full cantata known as - He...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi John,   What does the Neue Bach Ausgabe have to say about the use of corno da caccia in the Kritische Berichte?  I don't have access to these here in Juneau, and I'm curious.   I am very interested in this corno da caccia question.  I hadn't heard that there was ambiguity here; very...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi Leonard,   I find your idea intriguing:  1+2; intermission; 3+4+5(excerpts#43(opening)+#51(terzetto))+6(excerpts#63+#64(final two movements))   Using that concept, and expanding it, how about this, for a two day series?   Day 1:  (as you suggest)  1+2; intermission; 3+4+#43+#5...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi Allen,   This triggers a thought for me; perhaps not really relevant to this discussion, and more appropriate to the bach-cantatas website.  But, I wonder, did Bach have a chance to rehearse each of his cantatas start to finish, or, as you have indicated as can happen even in modern produ...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Another issue:  the 2 corno da caccia parts; i.e., the horn parts in BWV 248:4.  I believe these are challenging parts.  Any suggestions on what works?
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Since this thread started, a few other helpful threads on choralnet have come to my attention, apropos to BWV 248:      German pronunciation of text to BWV 248 (IPA and audio files) from John Cavallaro      German pronunciation of Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BMW 248) (BMW?) :)     ...
Comment: Re: German pronunciation of Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BMW 248)
Thanks much to John Cavallaro for preparing these materials, and to John Pearson for refreshing them on a website.  An exceptional resource; thank you so much.   -Bruce
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi Bruce,   Thank you so much for your extensive and helpful comments.  Getting the straight scoop from a soloist in the trenches is a great thing.   I'm still considering options for our production.  My feeling is that after what's likely to be the major project for the fall, for the ...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi Allen,   Thanks for this note.  Glad to hear it came off well, especially from the point of view of the performers.  That's got to be a relief.   I too wonder about the whole rehearsal scheduling process.  Can you give more details on the number of rehearsals with full ensemble, an...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
More questions about BWV 248.  The work calls for oboes d'amore.  We have excellent oboists here in town, but none own their own d'amores.    In the past (last year), I rented a pair of oboes d'amore from Forrests (BWV 60, last December).  I'm wondering, has anyone else gone this route? ...
Comment: Re: Bach Magnificat score compatibility
Hi Russell,   There is a public domain vocal score on IMSLP.  Search for Bach Magnificat, you should be able to get it.  Tell your chorus upfront to ignore all dynamic markings, until you tell them otherwise.   We performed with a mix of Peters and Barenreiter orchestral parts.  I eve...
Comment: Re: What is the most perfect piece of choral music ever composed? Opinions, please.
Hi Joel,   Yep, that's it.  I would also place Monteverdi's Nisi Dominus or Lauda Jerusalem from Vespers 1610 (or the whole work, of course) in your list.   Offer a concert with any of these, and I'm first in line for a ticket.   -Bruce
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi Ian,   Gotta say, your line "in a rush this year?  How about all of advent in one night...", really brought a smile to my face.  Clever, and fun.   I agree with you about the B minor mass -- it's so well constructed (even if Bach never heard it performed in one sitting), that it swe...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi Leonard,   Interesting idea, to help shorten the concert, and still provide an arc to the evening:  1+2, intermission, 3+4+excerpts(5,6).  I'll look at that.    Last spring we did Messiah, cover to cover, with our intermission after the chorus sequence at the opening of Part 2.  D...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi John,   Thanks for this note.  I think your son's observation is very cogent:  "6 formal arches rather than one big one".  That's possibly one of the biggest problems with BWV 248:1-6, in one program.  I don't know if an audience can "regroup" after each cantata, to hear and feel the n...
Comment: Re: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi David,   I did see the advert to the SDG performances in San Francisco this past weekend, and also see that Emmanuel Lutheran in Boston took it on December 1.  Anyone have a chance to attend either of these performances?  I am really interested in hearing how an audience member appreciat...
Comment: Re: What is the most perfect piece of choral music ever composed? Opinions, please.
Yep, as you say, Charles, part of the genius in Bach's Omnes Generationes is how he hits all notes of the natural minor scale, in order, on the entrances of the fugue.    And also very interesting, and not so obvious, is how he uses all notes of the chromatic scale (across multiple octaves, ...
Comment: Re: What is the most perfect piece of choral music ever composed? Opinions, please.
Okay, marvelous, everybody.  Many favorites of mine on this thread.    But I can't stand it, someone has to say it:  Bach's Magnficat in D is the most concise and perfect work ever composed.  Or close to it.   -Bruce    
Forum message: Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Hi Gang,   I'm thinking of programming JSB's BWV 248:1-6 next Christmas.  Any thoughts on how to program these in a concert series, any rehearsal ideas, juicy war stories?   -Bruce
Comment: Re: Very good but very challenging music.
Bach Motets!
Comment: Re: Social Media in the classroom - and choir room?
Insanity revealed.  IMHO. -Bruce
Comment: Re: russian power choir works for double chorus (or more)
Hi Folks,   At the risk of appearing to having, sadly, a conversation with myself, I received the following suggestions for Russian double chorus numbers from Vlad Morosan at www.musicarussia.com:   ----   Hello, Bruce, In response to your query about Russian double-chorus material...
Comment: Re: What to program with Mozart
Hi Lucy,   Several Christmas concerts ago, we paired this with Bach's BWV 10 (Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn), a version of the Magnificat in German.  (BWV 10 should not to be confused with BWV 243, the Magnificat in D).  BWV 10 has solo movements for STB, and an AT duet.  Also, a viola part...
Forum message: russian power choir works for double chorus (or more)
Hi Folks,   I've been thinking about the great monster chorus numbers for multiple choirs, but my experience with "the Russians" is sadly limited.  Something along the lines of Spem in alium (Tallis), Nisi Dominus and Lauda Jerusalem, Dominum (Monteverdi), Singet dem Herrn (Bach), Ora est (M...
Forum message: collections of Bach chorales for sight-singing and warmups
Greetings,   I have a young friend (sophomore in college) who has started an a cappella ensemble.  Bless her soul, she (knowing of my love and passion for Bach) asked me yesterday if I had a collection of Bach chorales for her group (12 or so singers) to use for warmups and sightsinging.  T...
Forum message: Beethoven 9 - German pronunciation
Hey folks,   Beethoven 9 is coming up, and as a chorister, and possible section leader, it may fall on me to help out with pronunciation of the German in B9.   Ours is an amatuer American chorus, with some experience in singing German.    A couple of approaches come to mind, for ...
Comment: Re: Economical staging extensions
Hi Scott:   John speaks from wisdom here.  If liability is a concern, you'd best have a professional rig.    Cheers, -Bruce
Comment: Re: Economical staging extensions
Hi Scott,   I've built this type of thing for a church here in Juneau, with basically the same requirements.  3/4 plywood, and 2x4 framing, for the flats.   For supports, the back ("upstage") edge sits on the highest step (two steps up from the floor), so the platforms sit essentially ...
Comment: Re: The Key of F bugaboo
... just jumping in on the conversation with myself:  tuning at A = 424 would make the ensemble in tune with 50 Hz AC (i.e., G# would be very close to 400 Hz); tuning at 453 would make the ensemble in tune with 60 Hz AC (i.e., B-flat would be very close to 480). In these worlds, if ambient soun...
Comment: Re: The Key of F bugaboo
Hmm, just checked.  I miss-remembered; most of Europe is at 50 Hz AC, not 55.  Too bad, might have led to some interesting studies about best keys for a cappella groups, as a function of "which side of the pond" in which they reside.  Still might be something there though, for the inquisite m...
Comment: Re: Soloists from the Chorus
In our recent and upcoming performances of Messiah, we have soloists stepping out from the chorus a lot.  This is by design, to give more folks opportunity to sing solos.  None have (openly) objected to singing the chorus numbers as well.  The only real issue was one of choreography, i.e., movi...
Comment: Re: The Key of F bugaboo
While strolling through Choralnet today, I came across this very interesting discussion.   I'm going to add a dimension, which is indirectly (and importantly) touched on above, by Denise Rachel.   It's fluorescent lights, or maybe, fluorescent lights are part of this.  Seriously.  I no...
Forum message: Is Messiah most performed work of all?
Hi Folks,   We are performing Handel's Messiah in a couple of weeks, and I will be giving a pre-concert talk.  It occurs to me that, when one considers amateur and professional performances by choruses, Messiah (or at least parts of it) must be the most performed work of all time.   Any...