Sunday, June 29, 2014

One chant on my Top 10 list

 Sometime soon I am going to make a list of my Top 10 chants. This will be one. We got to sing it in church today and next time we do it I will be ready!

There was one time a while ago when the choir was singing this. The women were supposed to come in by ourselves singing "O Jesu dulcis," and then the men joined in at some point. I forget at what point the men joined in because all I remember is that when we got to those words, "O Jesu dulcis," the other women dropped out for some reason -- there were just a few of us, and they must have been hesitant or confused or something. And there was my voice, solo, carrying over the church. Hahahahaaa!

My grandmother used to be the soprano soloist at St. Boniface Church on Buffalo's East Side so it is in my blood to rise to the occasion in such a situation. Still it was startling. That is why God created choir lofts, so people are not staring at you at a moment like that.

The chant:

Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine,
cuius latus perforatum fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.
O Jesu dulcis, O Jesu pie, O Jesu, fili Mariae.
Miserere mei. Amen.

Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary,
who having truly suffered, was sacrificed
on the cross for mankind,
whose pierced side flowed with water and blood:
May it be for us a foretaste of the Heavenly banquet
in the trial of death.
Oh dear Jesus, Oh merciful Jesus, Oh Jesus, son of Mary,
have mercy on me. Amen.

Most people including me know the Mozart version better. You know I am partial to the Leonard Bernstein performance but here is another one I love, by the Westminster Cathedral Choir. It is funny how the slideshow continues after the performance ends. But that is fine with me.

 It is so beautiful you need time to recover!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Julius Rudel, the doghouse, and me

I felt bad today about the passing of Julius Rudel, and so I am breaking my Web log silence.

Once I wrote about my interview with Maestro Rudel a long time ago in which I was something of, ahem, a ditz. Hahaha... I see I wrote that I demonstrated my familiarity with Hans Knappertsbusch, this Old World conductor, and that was what got me out of the doghouse. I remember exactly what happened.

What happened was, I asked Julius Rudel which conductors he admired growing up. And because I had made this ditzy mistake about Gregor Piatigorsky, which I would never make now thanks to Leonard Pennario, Rudel took it slow.

He said that there was one conductor he especially liked. And he said, "I'll spell it for you." Because I was this ditz.

I sat there, taking my lumps. Rudel goes: "K-n-a-"

And I said: "Oh, Hans Knappertsbusch!"

That was what got me out of the doghouse. After that the conversation was back to normal. It just happened I had a record by Hans Knappertsbusch when I was a teenager. And when I was talking with Rudel, it was as if my 14-year-old self were tapping me on the shoulder. "Pssst. Hans Knappertsbusch."

I wrote about Julius Rudel today in The Buffalo News. I hope it worked out OK because I wrote it fast and I was feeling sad.

I hate losing these old people. I hate losing our old music directors. And Rudel was so gracious, so gentlemanly. My parents rejoiced when he was appointed music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. I remember them gloating and dancing around. They loved Rudel and his Mozart and his Haydn.

As do we all.

The maestro will be missed.