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Tuesday, 08 April 2008


Steve Bates

Fascinating, Michael, and consistent with my experiences in various church settings here and in Europe.

I have performed in spaces large and small, live and dry, and indeed one has to choose both the literature and the disposition of forces carefully, especially in large, live spaces. When one doesn't get to choose both, the results can sometimes be less than satisfying.

In one particularly large, live church in Austria, the challenge in performing a polychoral work was finding the right location for the conductor... yes, you read that right... so that a person in the pews somewhere in the middle received a more-or-less simultaneous sound in the work's vertical passages (i.e., most of them).

As performers, we were strictly instructed to sing or play simultaneously by sight of the conductor's beat, not by ear. I'm glad the fellow in charge knew what he was doing.

(I also have two stories set in Catholic churches in Houston, but I'll save them for another time.)

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