In the morning we had a rehearsal with Louis Halsey -- he is a charming man with some excellent ideas -- I enjoyed the morning and was stimulated to think again about the importance of text -- Halsey obviously knows a lot, but he still doesn't excite me -- his music-making is tasteful, but sometimes a bit dull, with no drama -- this is certainly an area where I, too, need improvement.It seems to me to be one of the major problems of interpretation: how far to go in the direction of drama and excitement without distorting the form, structure, and balance of a piece -- how best to synthesize these elements - detail versus overall structure -- all are polarities that in a really good performance of a really good piece should disappear -- the details should make the overall form more obvious and vice-versa -- the impact of the total piece should first be felt, but individual details and beauties should not be sloughed over -- this is more than ever true in a piece like Bach's Mass in B Minor -- how do you do all the little things in such a way that people hear them and yet you don't lose a sense of the whole? So that the piece "pushes" from beginning to end logically and dramatically? How to sweep people along into another world for a short time??? All needs thinking about.This evening: The Mousetrap, Agatha Christie's play in its 23rd year -- very enjoyable.
Friday, July 4
to a rehearsal at Tiffin School -- interesting -- musically very accomplished (kids their age don't do music anywhere near as difficult at home), but vocally very bad -- I think about what Neil could do, sound-wise, with a choir like this -- I'm sure he would astound people -- it's a different emphasis than we have at home [given what children's choirs in the US and Canada have done since that time, that's no longer true, of course--they do some astounding things and difficult music]Evening: Neil Simon's Sunshine Boys -- not one of his better plays