First concert of the new season – Grand Organ Gala
Our first concert of the season started with a deep bass rumble. It felt like a passing tram, causing a vibration in the chest. The glorious lowest C of the Bridgewater organ gives us an immediate vision of sunrise from outer space (in a certain year). I think Richard Strauss would have liked this connection that we all now make with Also Sprach Zarathustra. Of course, all the Chorale have to do is sit there and enjoy it – in the best seats, right in front of the Bridgewater Hall organ played by Jonathan Scott. I never cease to be impressed by the range of sounds he generates, or the different way he plays Bach’s Toccata and Fugue each time.
This is one of the Gubbay concerts where the organ and Manchester Concert Orchestra take the centre stage and we sing just a few popular classics with an occasional interesting one thrown in. This time it was the Easter Hymn from Mascagni’s Cavelleria Rusticana. Most of our rehearsal time went into this, and it was worth it. We do a lot of stuff in Latin but not much in Italian. So it was good to have our diction honed by MD Jill and conductor John Pryce-Jones, particularly the double consonants – Inneggiamo! (How do you dwell on a sung double consonant?) And what a fantastic tune. I think we nailed it, and so did the soprano Erica Eloff. Another piece added to our extensive repertoire.
There were at least 2,000 in the audience and they loved the whole concert. A WhatsApp immediately after the concert from a friend in the audience said we were 'fab, but not enough Chorale'! The downside to the afternoon occurred after the concert – the price of parking and Manchester derby (0–0) traffic. Che peccato.