Dr. Crotchet’s Choral Remedies #4

…so here we are, at the height of Summer, the temperature is barely scraping double figures, it’s been raining for 2 days, and you’ve put the heating back on.  Finding out that Australia, currently in their Winter season is enjoying better weather, is enough to make you want to weep…and choir is finished until September – dark times!!

DIAGNOSIS:  musical heartache

PRESCRIPTION:  Haydn Missa Sancti Nicolai

Now this might seem like a fairly straightforward remedy – pure Haydn, and very much of it’s era, but a closer inspection will reveal something full of exquisite drama and joy. There are lush harmonies, and swooping lines to carry you off into a wonderful new landscape…..from the fantastically pacy Amen at the end of the Gloria, moving on to the beautiful layering of solo voices in the Credo, slipping in and out of major/minor, followed by another uplifting Amen to bring you back from the brink.  …then the Sanctus…ooooh those Hosannahs!! I could rave on about this for ever… but it’s probably best you just go and listen to it!

Crank up the central heating, get ready for a good old sing along (I’m amazed at how much I can remember from singing it 8 or so years ago!),  and let it sweep you off your feet entirely.

DOCTOR’S NOTES:  The Doctor recommends Collegium Musicum 90/Richard Hickox version, but here is a little something of it to whet your appetite:

Dr. Crotchet’s Choral Remedies

Yes, it’s that time of year again…when your kitchen is full of wasps and you have more courgettes than you can cope with, and the melancholy feeling that Summer  is beginning to slip away before it has really had a chance to get started drifts periodically through your mind.  Classic symptoms of a very common malady, that requires prompt treatment.

DIAGNOSIS:  Late Summer Blues

PRESCRIPTION: Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, from Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem

Although it is a common condition, the Late Summer Blues must nonetheless be treated with a very carefully concocted balance of warmth and pace.  The particular movement recommended has just that – harmonic warmth enough to evoke the happy memories of that sunny day in June, but with enough pace to stop it becoming a sentimental cul-de-sac, thus easing the mind’s transition from the light of Summer, to the different kind of warmth that awaits on the horizon.

Let the wasps deal with the courgettes, let Brahms soothe your soul.

DOCTOR’S NOTES:  The Klemperer/Schwarzkopf 1962 (EMI) recording is recommended, but see below for a suitable alternative.