After last week’s rehearsal of the Bach Mass in B Minor, I would have said the score was: Bach 1, Choir 0 especially because we had some key singers miss the rehearsal due to the opera and other conflicts. This week, I can happily say that we’ve evened the score — Bach 1, Choir 1. The difference tonight was that nearly every singer was there. Wow, this is a big group — a little bit like driving a boat — but Carl is working hard to keep the sound light and buoyant. How did you like all those high Bs, sopranos?!
Tonight the choir worked on the opening Kyrie choruses, #9 Cum Sancto Spiritu, #11 Credo, #15 Et resurrexit, #17 Confiteor and Et exspecto resurrectioneom, and #19 Osanna in excelsis.
They are using “German” Latin, meaning they are pronouncing the Latin words as the Germans do, with hard “Gs” (e.g. mag-nam) and non-Italian “Cs” (e.g. ek-sel-sees for “excelsis”). Kyrie is pronounced “Ku -ree-ay” instead of “Kee-ree-ay.” The choir has been using regional pronunciation of Latin for quite a few years now, including German (or Austrian) Latin, French Latin and Italian Latin depending upon the origin of the composer. (The only Latin we have never tried is Pig Latin!) Of course we’re using German Latin for Bach!
As my former organ teacher used to always say to me, “Bach separates the men from the boys!” Yes, when you can conquer Bach, you can do ANYTHING!