Back to Bernstein and Britten

The concert is this Friday night at Central Union Church, 7:30 pm.

The University of Hawaii Choirs concert is Friday night, Nov. 20th at Central Union Church, 7:30 pm.

“Britten? I thought I was only playing Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms!” (for the University of Hawaii Choirs concert this weekend).

So the day before I left for Italy, I got an email from Miguel Felipe titled “would you hate me if …” and the rest of the message said, “…I told you there was another piece I was hoping you’d play?”

Of course, it turned out to be a piece I had never played before, Benjamin Britten’s Venite exultemus Domino. And naturally, there was absolutely no chance to learn it before I left, so this morning when I got back to practicing the organ at Central Union Church, I played through it. It’s not so difficult, but it still took time to decide what stops would work on this piece that requires a stop change every few measures!

Meanwhile I’m really fighting jet lag — so sleepy during the day, and wide awake at night! After all, Italy is 11 hours ahead of Hawaii — almost exactly upside down. No wonder I’m wide awake at 1:15 am! But I can’t practice so late at night, only during the daytime.

My "workstation" for the next few days.

My “workstation” for the next few days.

Tomorrow night is the dress rehearsal, which for me follows two afternoon board meetings — one for the Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists, and the other for the music team at St. Andrew’s Cathedral — all of which means there will be zero time for dinner. I’ll either have to eat lunch at 3:30 pm or dinner at 9:00 pm. Oh well, I had a doctor’s appointment today, a “wellness” evaluation, and my doctor was thrilled to tell me that my already good numbers (cholesterol, LDL, HDL, etc.) have improved significantly since six months ago!

So maybe skipping dinner won’t be so injurious after all. My doctor just wants me to walk even more than the 2.2 miles that I do every day.

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein

Wish me luck in getting through the Bernstein, an impossibly difficult piece for the organist since it was originally arranged for orchestra. I’m playing the part of the whole orchestra with just ten fingers and two feet! There are numerous stop changes as well as impossible page turns. I’m hoping I get a good page turner unlike the last University of Hawaii concert when the “page turner” failed to turn a single page! And it was music by Arvo Pärt, which never stops!

Go back and read my post, “The perils of page turning.” The last paragraph says, “suffice it to say that the poor page-turner who was assigned to me did not turn a single page of the music, (think deer in the headlights!) and I ended up turning my own pages — but as Peggy Johnson (an organist who formerly lived in Honolulu) wrote on my FaceBook page: There is not enough money in the world to get me to turn pages for an Arvo Pärt score ever! 


About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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2 Responses to Back to Bernstein and Britten

  1. Sharon Kleckner says:

    It’s too late now, but I recently played Chichester from a score I made for myself which eliminates all the choral parts, since I know the choral parts well. It eliminates the need for a page turner. I just tape my music into an orchestral score manuscript book, and am totally independent of page turner anxiety. When I played the Chichester last time I had harp and percussion to help out. Maybe a flute or such as well. Best wishes for a super performance!!!

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