Soprano Maya Kherani joined us with performances of music of Mozart, Händel, and Donizetti. Maya has appeared with Bay Area opera companies Opera San Jose, West Edge Opera, Opera Paralléle, and more. In 2020/21 she had been scheduled to appear at Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence, and with Boston Baroque; with cancellations she was happy to have an audience and to perform.
Maya also left us with some advice for singers, solicited by Ming. Paraphrased: you can’t sing it fast until you can sing it slow. Practice the piece slowly, ticking up the metronome gradually. Take the piece in small segments. Split it up in different places — maybe four notes one time, a different four notes the next time to smooth it out. Work slowly, systematically, breaking the piece into chunks. People have different approaches — some people will work backwards.
Ming commented that so much is muscle memory. Maya agreed — and emphasized that once you have the muscle memory, you have to let it go and sing.
Ming began the evening with a continuation of his discussion of musical expression with the music of one of his favorite composers, Claude Debussy, and shared some of the unique chord progressions found in Impressionists. Julia shared her reflections on Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, and her setting of the song Wanderlied (lyrics below.) Paul wrapped the evening up with a Bach Partita, and a sing-a-long of The Longest Time, in a quarantine version created by the Phoenix Chamber Choir in Vancouver BC.
Chord Progression Chart
Von dem Berge zu den Hügeln, Niederab das Tal entlang, Da erklingt es wie von Flügeln, Da bewegt sichs wie Gesang; Und dem unbedingten Triebe Folget Freude, folget Rat, Und dein Streben, sei's in Liebe! Und dein Leben sei die Tat. Denn die Bande sind zerrissen, Das Vertrauen ist verletzt; Kann ich sagen, kann ich wissen, Welchem Zufall ausgesetzt, Ich nun scheiden, ich nun wandern, Wie die Witwe trauervoll, Statt dem Einen, mit dem Andern Fort und fort mich wenden soll! Bleibe nicht am Boden heften, Frisch gewagt und frisch hinaus! Kopf und Arm mit heitern Kräften, Überall sind sie zu Haus; Wo wir uns der Sonne freuen, Sind wir jede Sorge los, Daß wir uns in ihr zerstreuen, Darum ist die Welt so groß. Translation (1st & 3rd stanza, from Lieder.net): From the mountain to the hills, and throughout the valley, something resounds as if on wings, something is stirring like a song! And to absolute impulse joy yields, reason yields; and let your striving be for love! And let your life be the deed. Do not stay pinned to the floor - be fresh and daring, and go on your way, head and arm full of cheerful strength; everywhere we are at home! Wherever the sun delights us, we are free of every care; that we may scatter within it is the reason the world is so huge.
The Longest Time, by Billy Joel — Quarantine Version
Performed by the Phoenix Chamber Choir, Vancouver BC, May 2020 Whoa, for the longest time, whoa, for the longest ... I have been at home in quarantine Stopping spread of Covid-19. What else could I do? Don’t want this virus from you I haven’t left here for the longest time. Exercise by jogging ‘round my room Online meetings taking place on Zoom. Though this is safer We’re out of toilet paper We haven’t left here for the longest time. Whoa, for the longest time, whoa, for the longest ... Teachers try to teach their kids online Somehow this needs Twice as much prep time Self-isolation - Is how we help our nation We haven’t left here for the longest time. Maybe this won’t last very long There’s no end in sight Though I could be wrong Maybe I’ve been hoping too hard But we’ve come this far And the curve’s getting flatter. If you choose to venture out today Stay at least two meters away Can’t take no chances Given certain circumstances We will be at home for the longest time! I had hopeful thoughts at the start I said to myself I will do my part Washing hands... Not touching my face I long for your embrace And it’s all that I hope for... It’s my job to do all the right things Social distancing as I sing I miss you so bad But I think you ought to know that I intend to stay here for the longest time! Whoa, for the longest time, whoa, for the longest time Whoa, for the longest time, whoa, for the longest time