Big music, small hall
We performed the Verdi Requiem on Sunday. The venue was the civic hall in Totnes, which is a new one on me, and on most of us. The concert was organised by the Torbay Symphony Orchestra, so all we had to do was come and sing.
The day started with a coach from Plymouth, for an afternoon rehearsal. After that we had free time to get a bite to eat, and enjoy South Devon’s most fashionable and expensive town before the performance in the evening. After the show we had time for a pint before the coach back.
The Verdi Requiem is of course a large-scale choral/orchestral work, full of glorious music. It’s exactly the kind of thing one joins a large choir for. Despite that, it’s pretty easy music to learn, and (as always with Verdi) beautifully written for the human voice. A wonderful sing.
We’d been warned about the venue. The civic hall is an ugly building, set in a town full of beautiful buildings. Inside, it has something of the feel of a [village|church|school] hall about it. But the acoustics worked well, and it was well-ventilated, so it was easy enough to forget its ugliness and enjoy the music.
All in all, a great day out!
 Actually I joined the Plymouth Philharmonic for Vaughan Williams’s Sea Symphony, another large-scale work, and one I’m even more passionate about than this Verdi. I’ve been with the choir ever since.
 Music can be wonderful yet murder on the voice: Beethoven springs to mind as often dreadful to sing, and Bach can be hard work. Verdi is the complete opposite: utterly singable. Singability can be surprising: for example, Britten’s music is complex yet incredibly singable.