I gave my gig-going a shot of class last night with a classical performance at the Sydney Opera House.
It was the second of three nights called Choral Contrasts. The performance was in two parts: first was French composer Francis Poulenc’s mid-20th century Gloria, and the second was Mozart’s famous (and controversial) Requiem, in the traditional Süssmayr completion (Mozart dies whilst writing the Requiem).
It was all pretty magical. Both works have religious bases but they really couldn’t be more different. Poulenc’s Gloria is a joyful, celebratory ode of praise, while Requiem is a solemn goodbye to earthly life. Each piece was deeply touching. You really can’t go past Mozart, though, for being mind-blowing, even if someone else finished it for him.
Both works also obviously share choirs as major elements. I like choirs: the human element adds emotion and connection, even when the lyrics are in Latin. And the Philharmonia is larger than I’d expected. I liked the guest soloists the least. They were very good singers, for sure, but the symphony and the choir were what I wanted to hear, and were enough for me. The skill and co-ordination required for so many musicians to perform together so well still amazes me.
They were very touching, very emotional performances.