It’s all about the music

Favourite section of the 8th Symphony

From my perspective, music breaks through all barriers.

I must admit to harbouring still one or two reservations about the German race (in general) because of my family’s experience during WWII. I know that that thinking negatively is quite irrational and that children are in no way responsible for the sins of their fathers. However, there it is  and I can’t help it.

I must point out that my feelings have never stopped me from developing friendships with people from Germany. I’m not that blinkered!

But with music, its origin never concerns me (except perhaps for the works of Wagner). Although I was not brought up in a church-based religion, I have always absolutely adored church music. I have always sung in choirs and some years ago was director of a catholic church choir.

Currently I’m rehearsing with the Orpheus Choir for a performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony in the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington on February 26th. The performance is the opening event for the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts. The work is sublime – there’s no other way to describe it. Mahler’s Symphony No.8 is a work of great tragedy and great triumph.

“Often referred to as Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand due to its vast instrumental and choral forces, this epic collaboration offers Festival audiences the opportunity to hear Mahler’s magnum opus and one of the greatest musical experiences of our time.”

Our choir is joining three other choirs, internationally acclaimed soloists and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting. Although we won’t number a thousand, there will be over 300 singers in full voice.

It is so exciting and promises to be one of the highlight’s of my musical life.

I love singing in German; I love the sounds of the language and am proud of my ability with pronunciation. The Chorus Mysticus (above) is my favourite section. It is so beautiful and soulful, full of emotion and tension. I find it hard retaining my composure when singing it – I find my eyes tearing up and have to work hard to stop the lump rising from my chest.

I am so very lucky being part of this special event. An event for me that is all about the music…

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