Brand new semester! Brand new stress! Classes don't start until next week, but you'd never know it from the amount of work I already have piled up.
The culmination of the Masters in Choral Conducting is my recital. I have three weeks to rehearse a choir (or a choir plus several smaller groups) and put together a recital with approximately 50 minutes of music on it. The first stage of this, of course, is to decide what my repertoire will be. I had thought I had a pretty challenging bunch of repertoire lined up, and although I had made my final decisions quite late (over winter break) I thought I was pretty much done. I've moved on to working on learning all the music.
I just met with my advisor and one of the other conducting faculty, and hey presto - it appears I only have 42 minutes of music, and they feel I ought to have another piece in there. So now I get to hunt around for another piece, and also learn it in a week and a half.
For me, learning a piece involves:
Being able to sing all the parts (SATB, plus sing whatever instrumental parts there are)
Play the piano part
Being able to sing any part and play any other part on the piano, at the same time
Translate the text, and know what every word means
Pronounce the text correctly
Conduct the piece
Conduct the piece while singing any part
This isn't just me being thorough. I will be required to do all these things at my jury, which is where the faculty decide whether or not I'm ready to begin rehearsals by testing my knowledge of the music. The jury is next Friday.
The current front-runner for my new piece is Britten's Wedding Anthem, with Bartok's 4 Slovak Folk Songs also in the running. Stay tuned for further repertoire updates!