My big adventure this weekend was very different from last week’s Taylor Swift concert, but it was still musical!
Longtime readers/listeners know that I love Bach’s B-Minor Mass. I learned it my junior year of college to sing with my choir there, but then I elected to study abroad in Australia, and I needed to leave for their “fall” semester a week before the performance. In my youth I assumed I’d get to sing the mass again.
Except I haven’t. My church choir was going to perform it in spring of 2020, but you know how that went. I’ve gone to see it performed whenever I can. Singing the B-Minor Mass makes an appearance on my List of 100 Dreams, but while some dreams are straightforward (buy yourself a plane ticket!), singing a massive choral work with an orchestra is hard to pull off on your own.
Anyway, I was just minding my own business this week, checking my email, when I saw an email from the Bach Choir of Bethlehem (that would be Bethlehem, PA). They’d sung a concert at my church maybe six years ago or so, and I’d bought a ticket, so I was on the mailing list. I opened it and saw that they were singing the B-Minor Mass as part of their annual Bach festival which was running in the Bethlehem area over the last two weeks.
It seemed like I could probably make the Saturday afternoon performance at Lehigh University, which is approximately 50 miles from me (part 1 at 1 p.m.; part 2 at 2:30 p.m.). So I bought a ticket and drove there.
B-Minor Mass fangirl that I am, I brought my score. So I followed the score through the whole performance.* I mostly enjoyed it! Some tiny quibbles (what can I say, I’ve listened to a lot of recordings and have developed certain preferences…) but the orchestra was great, the choir never fell apart (it can happen on the melismas!), the men’s parts were quite strong, and the music is Bach at his best.
Anyway, the Bach choir is a very serious choir, but it is also an amateur choir — meaning one can audition for it, and it meets 50 miles away from me. Not close, but also not in Hawaii. I think they perform the B-Minor Mass fairly frequently. So, something to keep my eye on for possibly crossing this off my bucket list someday.
In other news: On Sunday afternoon I took my 11-year-old shopping for summer clothes and swimsuits. We managed to get her a lot of clothes, and I thought I might look for me, but then just…didn’t. So, no progress on the summer wardrobe.
However, I did finish Mansfield Park, a few days ahead of schedule (I figure it’s OK to sprint at the end; when I had 40 pages to go I just kept going). I then read some of the commentary in the appendix, and one author posited that it was one of the most significant novels in the English language. I wonder if part of that is self-congratulatory thinking for folks who made it through! Emma is next up on my list. I’m considering slowing my required pace a bit as I am ahead of schedule. I had calculated 10 pages a day based on the total page numbers in my completed works set, but the online page count I saw when I bought it must have been based on the appendixes/commentary.
*Generally looking at the second soprano part for the choral pieces. Big chunks of the mass are written for 5-part chorus, with the soprano part being split.