I feel terrible. I’m rapidly approaching the three-month mark without having written a word on here. It wasn’t meant to be this way. I know there aren’t a lot of people out there chomping at the bit for me to post something new, but my silence is also indicative of a more worrying condition: being too busy not just for writing but for listening to and discovering new music in general. Well, I wouldn’t say I haven’t listened to anything lately – I always have my iPod with me at work – but mostly I’m listening to the same things over and over again (which is fine, I do have pieces I love and will never tire of) or I’m rehearsing unfamiliar music in both my choirs but not taking the time to really discover and appreciate it. I guess it’s fine to go through phases and perhaps I’m just in a lull at the moment, but it doesn’t feel like a good kind of lull, it just feels like life is too hectic and that’s seldom a good thing. Not from the point of view of creative fulfillment and nourishment.
I’m hoping that’s about to change, though. For one thing I’ve recently started taking the first tentative steps into discovering the sublime – and possibly life-altering – Bach St Matthew Passion, which I’m very excited to be seeing in performance in about ten days. Director Lindy Hume’s semi-staged production of this amazing work is being recreated in Brisbane by Opera Queensland, in collaboration with my favourite orchestra, Camerata of St John’s. Add to the mix some stellar soloists like Paul Whelan and Sara Macliver, and conductor Graham Abbott (from ABC Keys to Music), and I think you’ve got a great recipe for magic happening on stage. And there’s a certain thrill in coming to a work this significant for the first time; mostly I’m only familiar with Bach’s motets and various bits and pieces from his cantatas, the Brandenburg concertos and some keyboard music. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t taken the time to explore the Passions, but not having yet done so means that I feel that eagerness of a new world waiting for me, like teetering on the brink of a canyon of musical wonder and awe. Superlatives aside though, I’m trying to familiarise myself with some of the chorales and arias before I go to the performance, which I’m expecting to be pretty damn special. I’ll keep you posted.
(I listened to about five different recordings of this last night – I think this is my favourite so far of this particular aria. Some of the live performances are a little more interesting to watch, but this one’s closest to the right speed for how I personally feel the music.)