Mozart wrap up
Chorale’s rousing success with Mozart’s Mass in C minor says many things about our group. First: our unwavering faith in our ability to handle the finest music available to us, though it seems at times preposterous, actually enables us to rise to the occasion, accomplish the musical and linguistic requirements presented by the task before us, at a level few of us would be able to accomplish on our own. We have learned, over the years, that organized hard work toward a worthy goal is a powerful motivator. Chorale’s singers start out expecting, even demanding, the right to learn and present great music; but that can be a pretty nebulous goal, until put to the test. Our singers tend not to waver and fold when truth smacks them in the face; rather, they are energized by the demands of the task before them, and expand, joyfully, to fill whatever shoes need filling. This is simply the character of the singers who constitute our ensemble; every conductor should be as lucky as I am, to have such personalities in his choir.
Second: there really is an audience out there, for the sort of music Chorale chooses to present. Chicago is a big city, and the task of contacting, and attracting, those who love great music, can be daunting; but the size, and palpable enthusiasm, of the audience who heard us in Orchestra Hall—the place was packed!-- convinces us that we are on to something, in our repertoire focus. These people love Mozart. It is so important to me, and to the group, to know that we are on the right track, in programming such repertoire. Chorale has to learn better how to market ourselves, in order to get these same music lovers to come again and again to hear us; but we have now seen about 2,500 of them, we know they are out there, and they have heard us.
Third: our demanding, never-ending search for appropriate collaborators pays off. We thoroughly enjoyed working with Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and felt pushed by their standard, to raise our own; and in Nicholas Kraemer we found a conductor who could really appreciate our musical values and ideals, guide us in making sense of the music on the page, and help us put it all together in a finished performance. His musical ideas, honed by many years of working with first class chamber and period ensembles, both as player and as conductor, matched very well with Chorale’s disciplines and goals; effectively, he spoke a language we had already studied, and he hastened our learning. We were never confused by him; he wanted what we wanted, and he taught us to want it at a higher level.
Finally: we had so much fun! Doing great music to the best of our ability is fun. The tension and stress of getting to that level, though palpable in rehearsals, melts away once we get in front of an audience. The greater the challenge, the higher the level of our performance, surely; but also, the higher the level of our enjoyment! Doing great music well, is a sublime joy.