Blog Archives

The Pit and the Pendulum, Part 2


Robert Baldwin, Music Director for the Salt Lake Symphony, Music Director for the Utah Philharmonia, and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Utah shares more of his thoughts on the importance of rhythm, meter, and tempo in music. He shares that music is not a perfect mathematical equation and neither is time in a musical piece. There is always ebb and flow. There is always adaptation, especially in live performances.

Before the Downbeat

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I’ll be climbing out of the pit after the last run of Susannah tonight.  It’s been a great experience, and full of potential for the pondering mind.  Inevitability.  Events that lead to something else.  The Grand Finale.  That incessant beat of the clock, metronome, and human heart; counting down to a predestined end.  Is this where we find meaningful rhythm and flow?  Or is it rather a stream into which we we enter, subdivide, and play?   Always present.  Welcoming us to participate.

The problem with the first example, is that it is too clinical, too easy.  In my experience it’s also completely wrong.  The thought that music, creativity, or life itself can be relegated to mere numbers is a popular misconception.  Yes, music is math.  Life is math.  Yes, proportions, ratios and relationships certainly exist.  But as human beings, our lives simply don’t operate this way.  Science is starting to…

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Rhythm in Music


Robert Baldwin, Music Director for the Salt Lake Symphony, Music Director for the Utah Philharmonia, and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Utah shares his thoughts on the importance of rhythm, meter, and tempo – an aspect of music often neglected when focusing on notes, pitches, timbre, sound quality, etc.

Dr. Craig Jessop, director of the American Festival Chorus, stresses this as well. Dr. Jessop uses “count singing” – a method he inherited from studying with Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Singers. This is where the notes are sung by singing “One, Two, Tee, Four”. This ensures the musicians keep an “inner pulse” going on inside their head when the time comes to put actual words to the music. It also helps musicians know exactly when notes are moving, beginning and ending of phrases, and note durations. Dr. Jessop swears by this practice.

Before the Downbeat

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I’ve emerged from the pit thinking about rhythm and tempo.  I’m there all week with the orchestra putting together Carlisle Floyd’s opera, Susannah.  There’s a lot that can go wrong on stage, and even more with this show as it includes live gunshots!  All in all, it was a good first rehearsal.  The only lingering issues are finding a consensus with rhythm and tempo.

Certainly, these are two things that are very important to my craft as a conductor.  Tempo control, metric organization and rhythmic precision are all something that is a great responsibility for all of us–the conductor, singer, and orchestra.  But behind all my admonishments to “watch the stick,” “play the subdivision correctly,” and  “don’t rush (or drag),” there is a deeper truth to the importance of flow and rhythm in the music.

“Time is like a superglue, keeping our story in order as we navigate the world…

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American Festival Chorus Concert – Sun Valley Summer Spectacular


Sun Valley Resort (http://bit.ly/HsFQYh) and Sun Valley Opera (http://bit.ly/HsFYHo) present Sun Valley Summer Spectacular with the American Festival Chorus and singer Alyson Cambridge on June 30, 2012 at the Sun Valley Pavilion in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Concert details: http://bit.ly/HsG6Xp\
More Concert details: http://bit.ly/HsJ1PV

The American Festival Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Craig Jessop, are joined by Soprano Alyson Cambridge (http://bit.ly/HsGcyg) for this incredible evening of uplifting and beautiful music for the entire family! Come join us in beautiful Sun Valley for this incredible evening!

Add this event to your Google Calendar: http://bit.ly/HXC3Q8

Join the Facebook Event: http://on.fb.me/HsMvls

Further details to follow.

Blog on this event: http://bit.ly/HsUUFm

Tickets:
Buy Tickets Online: http://bit.ly/HsIJs0
To order general admission tickets call Sun Valley Resort 208-622-2135

Seating Map: http://bit.ly/HsITjj

GENERAL TICKETS can be purchased online at seats.sunvalley.com, through the Sun Valley Recreation Center in the Sun Valley Village, or by calling (208) 622-2135/(888) 622-2108.
All tickets are non-refundable.

DIVA TICKETS can be purchased online at www.sunvalleyopera.com, or by calling the Sun Valley Opera at (208) 726-0991.

Hotel Package available – Spend a memorable evening with the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra and special guest star Alyson Cambridge, then enjoy one night’s lodging in the Sun Valley Lodge or Inn for $133.50, per person, double occupancy, (includes two show tickets).
Call 800-786-8259.

WILL CALL/TICKET OFFICE opens at 6pm the night of the show at the Pavilion. They can also be printed at the Sun Valley Recreation Office in the Sun Valley Village in advance prior to June 30th, 2012.
Phone: (208) 622-2135 / (888) 622-2108.
Seating is reserved inside the Pavilion
– The last 5 rows are exposed to the weather

Location: Sun Valley Pavillion, 300 Dollor Rd., Sun Valley, Idaho
Google Map: http://bit.ly/HsGMMd

Gate opens at 7:00 p.m.

“A frequent and compelling presence on the recital and concert stages, lyric soprano Alyson Cambridge makes an encore appearance on the Sun Valley Opera’s concert stage on June 30, 2012. Equally comfortable in her high and low ranges, Ms. Cambridge has been appearing to critical acclaim around the world, has been signed by Choppard Diamonds to appear in their ads and is part of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s bold new advertising campaign in which a 5 story poster of Alyson hangs on the outside of its building.” – Sun Valley Opera

Snocountry.com is offering a special rate for lodging and tickets to the American Festival Chorus and Alyson Cambridge performance. They will be $133.50 per person, double occupancy, (includes two show tickets). Call 800-786-8259.
http://bit.ly/HsDOra

News Articles:
Sun Valley Opera: http://bit.ly/HsGSDC
Idaho Mountain Express and Guide: http://bit.ly/GXx2KD

Sun Valley Opera Website: http://bit.ly/HsHysC
Sun Valley Resort Website: http://bit.ly/HsFQYh
Alyson Cambridge Website: http://bit.ly/HsGcyg

Here is Alyson Cambridge performing in the Elardo Opera Competition: http://bit.ly/HsIr4t


Here are two promos from our Sun Valley concert with Maureen McGovern in 2011:http://bit.ly/HsLNoi


Here is the promo video from our Sun Valley concert with Peter Cetera in 2010:http://bit.ly/HsMcqH

Reflections from the Past


Robert Baldwin, Music Director for the Salt Lake Symphony and Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Utah, shares his insight into Edvard Grieg’s “Holberg Suite” and Ottorino Respighi’s “Church Windows.” The Utah Philharmonia will be performing these pieces this Thursday at the Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

Before the Downbeat

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In Back to the Future, Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels from 1985 back to the time when his parents were young, ancient 1955.  He experiences all sorts of awkward situations, but in the end discovers that he shares many traits with his parents.   In essence, they are not really much different (although he is a lot cooler, naturally). Marty learns valuable lessons from the past that help him alter the perspective of his own life (and, of course, save the day).

The human mind has always been fascinated with the past, whether it’s our individual lives, or the collective history of an entire civilization.  We somehow believe that it is possible to find something important by studying the past. It might be lost wisdom.  Perhaps it is secret knowledge.  But in the end, all that we are really trying to do is understand something about ourselves.

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American Festival Chorus Concert – Handel’s Messiah


“Even when the subject of his work is religious, Handel is writing about the human response to the divine,” says conductor Bicket. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Messiah. “The feelings of joy you get from the Hallelujah choruses are second to none,” says conductor Cummings. “And how can anybody resist the Amen chorus at the end? It will always lift your spirits if you are feeling down.”

The Glorious History of Handel’s Messiah from the Smithsonian Magazine http://bit.ly/GKwiUz

 

The American Festival Chorus will be performing Handel’s Messiah on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kent Concert Hall at USU.

Link to concert details on americanfestivalchorus.org: http://bit.ly/y76O58

Link to the official Poster for this concert: http://bit.ly/H0Ub89
Link to the Poster on Pinterest: http://bit.ly/IgmJla

Link to the Radio Ad that will be run locally on the KVNU radio station: http://bit.ly/HGav0U

All soloists have been announced for this performance:

Brianna Craw – Soprano
Gayla M. Johnson – Alto
John Mauldin – Tenor
Benjamin Burt – Bass

As part of the performance of the Messiah, we are also celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) on the USU campus, and we will have some ASL theatrical performers for the Deaf, interpreting the Messiah. This will be a special event!

For insights into Handel’s Messiah and American Festival Chorus’ performance of the Messiah, please follow this blog post which will be kept updated: http://bit.ly/GYgEY6

– Further details to follow…

manuscript of the Messiah

Manuscript of Handel’s Messiah

Tickets: http://bit.ly/y76O58 http://bit.ly/wG8aPL

USU Kent Concert Hall 4030 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322
Google Map: http://bit.ly/A0FJLy

Add this concert to your Google Calendar: http://bit.ly/xykBx5

Join the Facebook Event: http://on.fb.me/GCLYx9

Learn more about Handel’s Messiah on Wikipedia: http://bit.ly/yNTPLH

Most choruses and solos will be performed. The choruses that will be performed are:

4. And the Glory of the Lord (Chorus)
7. And He Shall Purify (Chorus)
9. O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion (Alto solo, Chorus)
12. For Unto Us A Child Is Born (Chorus)
17. Glory To God (Chorus)
21. His Yoke Is Easy, and His Burthen Is Light (Chorus)
22. Behold The Lamb of God (Chorus)
24. Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs (Chorus)
25. And With His Stripes We Are Healed (Chorus)
26. All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray (Chorus)
28. He Trusted In God That He Would Deliver Him (Chorus)
33. Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates (Chorus)
39. Their Sound Is Gone Out Into All Lands (Chorus)
44. Hallelujah! (Chorus)
46. Since My Man Came Death (Chorus)
53. Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain (Chorus)

This list of complete solos of which not all will be performed is:

1. Sinfony (instrumental)
2. Comfort ye my people (tenor)
3. Every valley shall be exalted (tenor)
5. Thus saith the Lord (bass)
6. But who may abide the day of his coming (alto)
8. Behold, a virgin shall conceive (alto)
9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (alto and chorus)
10. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (bass)
11. The people that walked in darkness (bass)
14a. There were shepherds abiding in the fields (soprano)
14b. And lo, the angel of the Lord (soprano)
15. And the angel said unto them (soprano)
16. And suddenly there was with the angel (soprano)
18. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (soprano)
19. Then shall the eyes of the blind (soprano)
20. He shall feed his flock (alto and soprano)
23. He was despised (alto)
27. All they that see him laugh him to scorn (tenor)
29. Thy rebuke hath broken his heart (tenor or soprano)
30. Behold and see if there be any sorrow (tenor or soprano)
31. He was cut off (tenor or soprano)
32. But thou didst not leave his soul in hell (tenor or soprano)
34. Unto which of the angels (tenor)
36. Thou art gone up on high (soprano)
38. How beautiful are the feet (soprano)
40. Why do the nations so furiously rage together (bass)
42. He that dwelleth in heaven (tenor)
43. Thou shalt break them (tenor)
45. I know that my Redeemer liveth (soprano)
47. Behold, I tell you a mystery (bass)
48. The trumpet shall sound (bass)
49. Then shall be brought to pass (alto)
50. O death, where is thy sting (alto and tenor)
52. If God be for us (soprano)

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