Mozart comes to Montpellier
What a Mass-ive experience
FILMS , MUSIC, DRAMA AND ART
Last evening we headed into Montpellier for what was to prove a wonderful evening of music. We were to hear the Montpellier National Orchestra and Choir perform Mozart's Great Mass under the baton of the young guest conductor Marc Korowitch. It's as well that we booked our seats a long time ago, as there was not a spare seat in the whole house.
I had a special reason to anticipate this concert with some excitement. You could say that I know this work intimately, for reasons which are not entirely laudable. Herein lies a blatant tale of 'Impostors Syndrome.' Let me explain.
Many years ago I found myself taking up a new post in a state school in the town of Marlborough. Just imagine! I arrived fresh from a simple life on a smallholding in West Wales where class and snobbery seemed unheard of amongst our proud farming neighbours, and landed in a town which was dominated by one of the country's foremost public schools. Here ordinary folk such as myself, my pupils and their families rubbed shoulders with the highly privileged . I confess that I felt uncomfortable and not a little conflicted. As I knew so few people, a colleague invited me to join her at a weekly gathering at the famous Marlborough College where 'town and gown' were to mix, rehearse and then perform Mozart's Great Mass in the College Chapel. "But I have never sung in a choir in my whole life," I confessed to my friend . "You'll be fine," she said. There followed some of the most stimulating evenings I have ever spent, immersed in the sounds of Mozart, and surrounded by beautiful voices. And did I sing? Not a bit of it. For the most part I mimed, and only when I felt entirely confident did I join in. The great day arrived when we were to perform in Marlborough College Chapel, joined by four professional soloists. I confess that I then absented myself. No doubt that was just as well.
As for last night's performance...it was superb. Marc Korowitch conducted the orchestra with brio and joy, whilst the soloists' voices were sublime. As for the choir, I really enjoyed singing along with them. For after all, I could still recall many of the words. But please rest assured, I didn't utter a sound.