Whereas the music-making for Academy participants on the first day extended from the early morning until about 4:30 pm, Day 2 marked the beginning of the more typical Academy day: 9:00 am coachings and rehearsals until the final chamber music rehearsals ending at 9:00 pm!
The days are undoubtedly long, but it was amazing to see how charged many of the participants were throughout the day. For many, the Academy is exactly the kind of opportunity they have been looking for. Here they get to spend most of their waking hours working in large orchestral rehearsals, sectional master classes, and chamber music sessions with other talented musicians who share their love for the music of the Baroque. All the while, they get to absorb the teachings of some of the most accomplished musicians in the early music community and bounce ideas off everyone else going through this experience with them. For a musician drawn to performing the music of Bach in historically informed performance practice, there is nothing like the ABS Academy.
Along with the early morning ensembles and vocal coachings, there was a full orchestra rehearsal for the Mass in B Minor from 10:00 until noon. Chamber music and master classes occupied the afternoon period until 5:00 when Jeffrey Thomas led a special forum for the tenors and continuo players titled “Bach’s Evangelists.” For an aspiring tenor, the Evangelists in Bach’s two great Passions are pinnacle roles requiring endurance, expressiveness, and the ability to deliver the story with great impact. Working on this repertory with Thomas, one of the great Bach Evangelists, is an incredible opportunity and yesterday all the Academy faculty participated in the session. Tenor Jason Rylander and baritone David Rugger were the Evangelist and Christus for the forum while Sarah Stone, William Skeen (violoncello), Arthur Omura, Corey Jamason (organ) Daniel Turkos (contrabass), and Steven Lehning (violone) provided the continuo. At one point Steven said, “Our notes have the same grammar as the words,” suggesting how Bach’s musical logic guides performers–vocalists and instrumentalists–through the text; every mark on the page serves the narrative.
The final rehearsal of the day involved those players who will be performing Bach’s Concerto for Three Harpsichords at the Academy-in-Action concert on Tuesday, July 15. To be sure, lots of notes were played, but what amazing talents these young keyboard players are. Don’t miss this performance!!