We are starting to rehearse the Praetorius Christmas Mass for Christmas Eve . . . and if you liked Monteverdi, you are going to LOVE Praetorius! Like the Monteverdi, no instructions were given by the composer as to which parts are covered by soloists and which are sung by choir. So Carl has spent many hours first deciding what forces are singing what, and then marking all the parts. Every single instrumentalist got a custom marked part as did every single person in the choir. Altogether there will be ten soloists, and four singing choirs, plus a trombone choir, a string choir, a wind choir, two organs, two harpsichords . . . all of which will be stationed all around the nave. It will truly be a “surround-sound” experience. No one will have a bad seat!
The only thing that I’m not looking forward to is reading 140 pages of figured bass all over again, and my score is absolutely microscopic, since I’m reading from the full score. Each page has 24 staves of music on it (for 24 separate parts), with each staff approximately 1/4″ high! So you divide 1/4″ by five lines and five spaces and you can see what I am dealing with!
The pre-service music will start at 10:30 pm and will be Part I of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. I’m so glad Carl programmed this work for his last Christmas . . . it’s one of my favorite pieces of Bach. We will certainly have a cast of thousands, including four violins, two violas, cello, string bass, two flutes, two oboes, bassoon, three trumpets, three trombones, timpani, two harpsichords, and two organs! Is this going to be a blow-out Christmas or what! As Carl often says, anything worth doing is worth OVERDOING!
It will certainly be a “killer” Christmas this year in terms of nights out, with orchestra rehearsals on Wednesday and Thursday, Christmas Eve is Friday, Christmas Day is Saturday, and St. Stephen’s Day is Sunday — with two morning Lessons and Carols services and Solemn Vespers at 7 pm. I’ll be surprised if we don’t all collapse in a heap after it’s all over. And then the next weekend we will have our German Vespers for New Year’s, but it will be Sunday, January 2nd, the day after New Year’s.
Here is a picture of the LCH Choir singing at the Hawaii State Library last weekend. Carl thought the choir never sounded so good in that acoustic. And I gave the pitches on my iPad, using the “Church Organ” app. What fun!