Thursday 11 August 2005

Strasbourg Diary (2)

Sunday morning we were singing at the Cathedral, at the 11.00am mass. There was a mass at 9.30am, a rather elaborate one with much incense and music sung by the Cathedral's Schola Gregoriana. Whilst this mass was going on, we rehearsed in a side chapel with rather variable results; frequently it was difficult for us due to the noise of the Grande Orgue and, according to friends in the congregation, at quiet moments in the service the congregation could hear us. Not an ideal situation.

There was confusion also about what we were to sing at the service. This was all resolved, with us singing a Gradual (Bruckner's Os Justi), a communion motet (Byrd's Ego sum panis vivus) and the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus/Benedictus and Agnus Dei of the Mass (Harant's Missa super Mater Dolorosi, quite substantial programme. Unfortunatly, due to time constraints we had to drop my motet, which was a shame.

We sang from the choir stall in the 19th century Chancel, raised high above the nave over the crypt. We had a good view of the altar (luckily) but not much of a view of the congregation, who in their turn could not see us very well. The service unfolded without mishap and we sang rather well. Though opinions from our friends in the congregation were varied as different people had differing attitudes to the sound quality in the nave; the choir were amplified and so the congregation heard a mixture of amplified sound and the natural sound of the choir - very odd.

Afterwards everyone went sightseeing and relaxing. We drove out to the European Parliament buildings. Finally on Sunday evening we had a group meal at the restaurant L'Alsace a Table.

Monday was a long day for us, a drive back all the way from Strasbourg to London. All we have to do now is plan next year's trip.

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