Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Mercoledi Musicale

One of the joys of being – howbeit only tangentially – in the Foreign Service is that you have friends all over the world. People that you meet at a post and then often stay in touch with as they, and you, move from country to country. When we lived in Chicago back in the 1990s one of Laurent's colleague was Cathy – a name that has cropped up here more than once – and we were fortunate that our paths, though often in parallel, crossed either by happenstance or through planning in the following years.

Cathy is a singer – choral and as a soloist – of exceptional talent who, though she has retired from her “official” job as a trade officer, seems to have no lack of employment. She is constantly occupied with choral projects – Messiah, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Opera Galas etc, in her position as cantor at the Cathedral in Ottawa (I don't even want to think of her schedule for Holy Week) and currently working as a (non-musical) docent at an Afghani exhibition at the Museum of Civilization. And she also finds time to read this blog daily and suggest items that might be of interest. Many of my recent Lunedi Lunacies and Mercoledi Musicales have been Cathy's suggestions.

And today's entry is an example of the great things she sends along.

The Estonian Choir Festival is held every two years – the next one is in 2011 – and ends with a massed choir concert. There are 20,000 singers in this performance in 2004 of the Santcus from Urmas Sisask's Estonian Mass.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

I would love to hear more of this mass and more of Sisask's work. Thank you Cathy for introducing me to his composer and for all the "inspiration" you've offered over the last while. Baci cara!

03 marzo - Santa Katharine Mary Drexel


Anonymous said...

Will, that was so sweet! Your blog lets me live live a totally different life - albeit vicariously.

Glad you liked the Estonian massed choir. Here's some trivia about the singing culture of the Baltic States: I toured this site several years ago and the guide told us that when it was under Czarist Russia, the people couldn't speak out but were allowed to sing. So they did - a lot! (not sure if it's true but it's sure interesting).


David said...

These festivals are by all accounts extraordinary - anything up to 40,000 in the choirs. I believe Latvia does it in style, too - I met a Tasmanian lady on a plane to Savonlinna who'd just been to one and she inspired me to go.

Tallinn is a beautiful and interesting city - well, it was when I saw it in 1990. Well worth a Trieste-length break.

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