The Michael O’Neal Singers recently performed a concert entitled Celebrate Musical Genius. The program included selections by two undisputed geniuses: Kleine Orgelmesse by F.J. Haydn and Requiem by W.A. Mozart. In comments made to the audience prior to the Requiem I mentioned that in conducting this work numerous times over the years I have never failed to find in it something “new.” That’s the way it is with works of musical genius – there are degrees of understanding and appreciation that can only be fully reached with a serious commitment by the performer and/or listener, and there is always something new to be discovered.
I sensed this “serious commitment” by both the audience and the performers (chorus, soloists and orchestra) this past Sunday afternoon. And because of the “commitment” made by all the parties mentioned above there was an environment created that encouraged a “communication” between all the parties. This communication took many paths, paths which included all the possibilities inherent between and among audience, chorus, soloists, orchestra AND composer. That’s right, I said composer, even though Haydn has been dead for 200 years and Mozart for 218. So, how do we communicate with someone long since departed? It is my contention that a musical genius leaves something of his or her soul in a composition. That collection of dots, dashes and squiggles on a piece of paper, when made into sound by sensitive and intelligent musicians, forms a conduit by which the composer “lives” again. What a mystery, and what a responsibility to those of us who desire to perform the music of these geniuses!
Concerts such as we experienced on Sunday are as good an explanation as any as to why I am so thankful to have a career in music, and why I am so appreciative to those who make it possible. The comments I’ve already heard from audience members and performers would suggest that I am not the only one who experienced something special. I’d love to hear from you. What did you feel? How were you affected? Through this blog it is my hope that our Sunday “communication” can continue.
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: audience, choral concert, genius, Haydn, Kleine Orgelmesse, Michael O'Neal, MOS, Mozart, Mozart requiem, performers, The Michael O'Neal Singers | 6 Comments »