I’m getting over an upper respiratory infection that’s been going around the Bay area; I’m no longer contagious, but I only lasted 40 minutes at tonight’s singing. We had a mere 25 singers — after having more than thirty singers for the past size weeks, 25 seems like a small group — 8 tenors, 3 trebles, 6 altos, and 8 basses. The basses sounded fantastic; not only did we have several of our more experienced basses tonight, the newer basses have begun to sound good. I arrived somewhat late, so I got to sit on the back bench, which is where I prefer to be, surrounded by a big bass sound. However, I did not get to sit at the alto end of the bass bench, which was too bad because the altos sounded particularly good this evening.
When my turn to lead came around, I chose no. 291 Majesty, by William Billings. I led it at a fairly stately pace, at about sixty half notes per minute; I’ve come to prefer Billings sung at this slower pace, which is more in line with the performance practice he calls for in the introductions to his tunebooks. The Berkeley singing prefers to sing faster, and the class kept pushing my tempo, which was fine with me; it’s better to feel that a tune is accelerating slightly, than to feel that a tune is dragging. Alas, while I was in the hollow square I noticed that some of our intonation issues have returned, and I have to admit it was nice returning to the back bench of the bass section where the intonation was somewhat more stable.
Even though the remains of the upper respiratory infection gave me a couple of low bass notes I don’t usually have, by the time the break rolled around I was done for the evening.