OK. So I yet again found myself without too much to write about this evening. It’s been a fairly dull week, devoted as it is to exam preparation.
I must say, though, that I feel a whole lot better tonight than I did this time last week. Comforting and supportive comments on my run-throughs have helped immensely.
I have started to reproach myself, however, for become complacent, possibly. I have another singing lesson tomorrow morning and I am becoming trepidatious about that, which is no bad thing really. I just need to retain my focus for another couple of days and do my best. Conquer the nerves that rob me of my best breath. That sort of thing.
Anyway, in case you are interested and wondering, this is my programme for my diploma on Sunday. We’ve cut a bit of the introduction out of the second piece: it doesn’t do if it looks like the accompanist is giving a performance too. That’s ironic really because these songs are nothing without a good accompanist and it’s as much a performance for him as me. More, in fact, because he is there to listen to and follow me, support me and make me look good, cover up any mistakes.
The stipulation of this lower level diploma is that I put together a programme of 32-35 minutes. I had originally been concerned that I’d be penalised for an overrun but we timed the songs last night and it looks like there will be an underrun so perhaps we just need to slow down a bit. Any extreme deviation from the 32-35 could, potentially, mean disqualification at the very worst, but I don’t think it will come to that. I hope not, anyway, I need all the marks I can glean.
The songs don’t have to be sung from memory for the Trinity Board exam, which also doesn’t incorporate an “unseen” exercise, where you are given 10 minutes to prepare and then perform a song that you haven’t seen before. My general rubbishness at sightsinging had put that completely out of the question.
It is, however, advisable to know the songs off by heart if only because there is no distracting, frightening score behind which to hide. You have to concentrate only on what’s in your mind. And I’m doing them all from memory except the aria from The Creation. Apparently it’s traditional for one to sing from the score, which is just as well as it’s rather repetitive, though with changes in melody each time, and it’s very easy to lose one’s place and sing the wrong thing, ending up in the wrong place or the wrong note, like aeroplanes in China when they didn’t fly in the rain and flights were cancelled so all the planes were in the wrong place. Or something.
10% of the Diploma marks are also allocated to presentation. I was told yesterday that this means that the exam recital should be performed in the same manner as a lunchtime or early evening concert at the Wigmore Hall. Which didn’t make me at all nervous. Not at all. We’ll have to do all that bowing and stuff and smile and look at the examiner who will probably have his or head down for most of the exam, writing notes and ignoring us.
I’ve also had to write programme notes of 400-700 words. Unfortunately I’ve gone a little over those because it’s really hard to write meaningful programme notes for 9 songs within these limits. I spent Saturday doing this, and Sunday morning cutting out a lot of the contextual stuff which was, I think, a pity.
So here I am, almost ready. Have a listen to these: