The post-concert comedown

What is this feeling? This feeling of numbness, of vague and vacant loss?

Mere days ago, on the evening of Saturday 13th May 2023, we were riding a dizzying high. In the surroundings of the magnificent St James’s Piccadilly, Vivamus and The Hanover Band performed a blistering rendition of Handel’s Zadok the Priest. It felt like the roof was raised to the heavens from our sheer power. We were on top of the world.

But that moment is past.

Soon after, Vivamus sang Purcell’s haunting Hear My Prayer, the rising and falling lines interweaving, the harmonies lightly dancing. We were one collective musical soul, singing, praying, becoming one.

But that moment is past.

Then came one of the night’s most vivid, dramatic moments: Tavener’s Little Requiem for Father Malachy Lynch. Both the choir and orchestra went from soft, contemplative musings to explosive bursts of thundering force. Afterwards, the audience weren’t quite sure what had hit them; to be honest, so spellbound were we by the whole experience, neither were we.

But that moment is past.

Our concert was named for Harris’ Faire is the Heaven. On the night, we arguably could not have done the piece more justice. The sometimes gentle, sometimes yearning, always glorious music is set to text by Edmund Spenser, ending on the words “endless perfectness”. It certainly felt like we’d ascended to a plane of eternal beauty.

But that moment is past.

We closed off our first half with Vivamus musical director Rufus Frowde’s Were I Not to Sing, a rousing and joyful exploration of the importance of singing and music. The choir and orchestra moved fluidly from movement to movement, not only singing about the restorative capability of music, but embodying it.

But that moment is past.

The second half of our concert was devoted to Purcell’s Hail! Bright Cecilia. With text that describes the might of the “speaking”, “sprightly”, “warbling”, “noble” instruments accompanying, the piece’s thirteen movements soar and weave between the subdued and the majestic, the reverent and the playful. St Cecilia is the patron saint of music; it was as though we channeled her spirit that night in a triumphant tribute.

But that moment, too, is past.

Now we’re in the post-concert comedown: the lull and accompanying feeling of grief and faint confusion afterwards, when we don’t know quite what to do with ourselves. We know those glorious moments are past; we know, in their particularities, they will never come again.

What do we do now? How do we shed this wave of ennui has gripped us, engulfed us? How do we go on knowing we’ll never have those moments again?

Well… we look ahead to next time, of course.

Rufus Frowde’s Were I Not to Sing is set to text written by Rev’d Austin Janes. One particularly powerful, lingering musical moment comes on the words: “I will keep singing, for that is why I was born.”

We will keep singing, for that is why we were born. Those incredible moments may be past, but at Vivamus, we know there are so many, many more to come.

Join us for our next concert, support the choir to put on more concerts like this one, or get in touch. You can also see the full Baroque concert programme.

Post written by Swéta Rana.

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