Thursday, March 30, 2006


The Masterworks Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Megill, is performing (among other things) Stephen Paulus's Visions From Hildegard, Part III in our spring concert. I am an intern for the group, meaning I show up and sing, and run sectionals when necessary. Since Paulus was in New York for the week, and he and Dr. Megill are friendly, he came to our rehearsal today to talk about the piece and work with us. It was quite an excellent experience. We sang through each movement, and then he would talk about what he thought were important musical points, what he had been thinking about when composing it, and his feelings about the text. He also fielded many general questions about his life as a composer. He was very down-to-earth and somewhat self-effacing. It was great to see him warm up over the course of the rehearsal and feel more and more comfortable talking about himself. He presented his work and his life as a composer in a very simple, accessible, and charming way. He also talked about the spirituality of the work (the text is all by Hildegard von Bingen) in a manner that made it feel very accessible and personal to me - he was very careful to be inclusive, and I came away from the discussion feeling more personal ownership of the piece. All in all, it was a great rehearsal, and a great experience.

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