Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
May 2019
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bMusicForTenebraePosterOur most recent Loose Canon project has been a program of music for a Maundy Thursday “Tenebrae” concert (which is often* held on the Wednesday evening before Maundy Thursday). In a Tenebrae service there are readings and music, with the church in near darkness, and candles are extinguished one by one as the service progresses.

The music comprised some a capella Renaissance polyphonic music by Victoria, with Latin texts about the events leading up to Christ’s betrayal and arrest, and a couple of German motets by Mendelssohn as a contrast to bookend the main program.

We were dressed in black for the concert and had small booklights so that we could read the music (by the time of the concert I knew the music moderately well, but by no means well enough to sing it by heart, exacerbated by the fact that the Victoria pieces, while not identical in mood or tonalities, are not quite as distinctive within and among themselves as the Mendelssohn pieces). Jonathan Wallis was our conductor, and had given us good insights into the music and texts, which really helped our preparation. During the performance a couple of parishioners from the All Saints Anglican church congregation read English translations of the Latin texts prior to each piece.

Feedback following the concert was very positive, with several people commenting on the clarity and purity of sound and thanking us for creating an effective mood for the start of Easter. I think we were able to produce a wonderful balance with some very effective dramatic moments, and it was certainly fantastic to be able to be part of it. (Like most performances, it wasn’t perfect: we know there were a couple of “could have been better” moments, but there were also places where we probably performed better than we had in rehearsals. Jonathan was happy, and it is always good when the conductor is satisfied!)

If you are interested you can listen to us in the following mp3 recordings (no more than 3MB each, offered with apologies to those with perfect/good pitch because we do slip a little, I admit). I am one of the tenors (second from the left in the back row in the final photo). [Thanks to Stefan Karpiniec for the recordings, and Stephanie McDonald for setting up the photo.] You can also read a review of the event by Nick Caddick.

In der Passionszeit (Mendelssohn)

Unus ex discipulus (Victoria)

* well, probably not very often at all these days.


2 comments to Tenebrae

  • Thomas

    Ah, Mr. Karpiniec, my Grade 7/8 teacher! Good to know he’s still doing well!

  • Caro

    Interestingly, there are still some places that do have Tenebrae services on the Wednesday night of Holy Week. When I was at theological college in Melbourne, I remember going to at least one Tenebrae service at Trinity College Chapel on a Wednesday night (and see from this year’s calendar, that they continue to have their Tenebrae on the Wed night of holy Week).

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