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First Performance in Brazil

Location: England, United Kingdom
In late 2009 I announced the 'arrival' of my then latest composition ('The Life of a Woman') - a cantata for Solo Soprano, Solo Cello, SATB Chorus and Strings. I also offered the piece to members of Choralnet. Two members took me up on the offer and one of them (Wagner Politschuck from Brazil) wanted to perform it with his Camerata Antiqua de Curitiba in Southern Brazil. I was delighted with the news and replied very positively to Wagner's e-mail. The performances were planned for 16/17/18 December 2010 in Capela Santa Maria in Curitiba.
 
A few days before I set off for Brazil, Wagner asked if I would like to conduct my piece. In spite of the lateness of the offer I accepted gladly. I had found out quite a bit about the choir and explored the internet for information about the orchestra. What I found was very positive. Both the choir and orchestra were full time professional musicians paid by the state. They rehearsed for up to two weeks prior to the concert 2-3 hours each day. My flight arrived on time on the 15th (the day before the first performance) and I was taken straight to the hall after 22 hours of travelling. Within  5 minutes of my arrival I was conducting my piece. Both the choir and orchestra were very receptive to my lead and helpful in taking direction very easily. The soprano soloist (Natalia Aurea from Sao Paulo) was excellent and understood her solo really well. The cello soloist (Faisal Hussein - a member of the orchestra) was superb. His playing gave the performances so much strength and depth of feeling.
 
After just one hour's rehearsal on the morning of the 16th, we performed the piece for the first time to a small but extremely appreciaitve audience that evening and on the Saturday and Sunday. The three performances went remarkably well. The atmosphere at all times was friendly and welcoming. But more importantly I was a part of a program more or less devoted to the music of contemporary composers, mainly from Brazil. I met Liduino Pitombeira, a brilliant composer from Brazil, who has since become one of my firm friends. He is a teacher to earn a living but a composer with an impressive array of titles out of choice. Liduino wrote a beautiful commission for the concert called 'Acordes Poeticos'.
 
From a simple post on Choralnet, I ended up travelling over 6000 miles to conduct the premiere performance of my cantata. But more than that I have made significant friends with whom I am in regular contact. Choralnet can at times seem a little mundane. It will never be that way for me living in England. To have made contact in such a way, and to have received such magnificent friendship from so many wonderful musicians is something I shall never forget. Couple that with the opportunity of excellent performances of my 30 minute cantata and you have the reason why Choralnet is so important.
 
If anyone is interested in hearing 'The Life of a Woman' and/or a copy of the score in pdf, please contact me at smacmus@yahoo.com.
 
Thanks for taking the trouble to read this piece. It means a great deal to me!
 
Stuart McIntosh