For some years I took a break from the Sing Alongs by Rundfunkchor Berlin and conductor Simon Halsey. It was not voluntary but rather due to my moving back home. 600 km can be a huge distance…
But I missed the work on one of the big pieces of classical music. I love singing this music, experiencing it through and through. So last year I signed up for the International Sing Along in Vienna that took place this May. The piece was Schubert’s mass in E flat. A few years back I sang the Mass in A major and I really loved it. The ‚credo‘ is one of the most powerful pieces of music I know. So starting rehearsing on this ’new‘ Mass was tricky.
To tell you the truth: it resisted being loved until the very last reherasal right before the concert. Why is that? It is important to me, to really understand such a piece. It’s not just the music and that becomes evident when, as is the case here, the music is not easy, melodic, harmonic per se. There is another level of understanding needed. At least for me. That is why I love to sing under conductors like Simon Halsey, or my former conductor in Berlin Thomas Hennig. People like don’t just rehearse music, they live it. They have that deeper understanding that exceeds singing or playing what’s written on the sheet music. In this case, the Mass in E flat was the last piece Schubert has written. It was finished shortly before he died. He suffered from fear and, maybe, even lost his faith.
That’s what sets the tune for the whole Mass. It’s somehow disharmonic, it’s not ecstatic, as was the A major Mass, joy is being subdued. Still there is a deep beauty concealed in all that, which I wasn’t able to feel without that information. Because before it all felt odd and off and somehow not right.
To me, classical music is accessible through singing it and in the process of learning and rehearsing achieving that deeper understanding. So I totally get it when people say they have no joy in listening to it. I really do. Still, now that that I have found the key and opened the door to take this piece into my heart, that very same heart skips a beat the second I hear the music. So here you go 😉
Unfortunately I couldn’t yet find a video from that particular concert. I’ll have a CD soon, but for this post I had to find another source. I hope you’ll enjoy it any way.