Visually, the evening was treat, I have to say. I tried to describe it a little last night, but I don't think I did well. That dim mountain of singers behind the orchestra all through the first part, and then, just at the end of the third movement (about the time that someone in the arena drops something with a crash!) there is a unisonflickering of pages - little flashes of white against the black. Something is about to happen...the four soloists walk on as the orchestra plays the final bars. The lights come up on the choirs. Heavenyl voices flood the hall. Splendid!
The spatial element of the whole stunned me, too. At last those mammoth choruses were heard as they should be - and Brian was proved right. Nothing clogged here, just hypnotic swathes of imitative sound from all sides. Even small things - the small voices in the orchestra - the solo violin in the first movement, the oboe -amore in the last - because they were now associated with a location as well as a timbre, now became even more imbued with formal weight. Things I knew became things I felt - how the music returned in both cases to its source in place as well as tone. I realise this seems a small thing, but it felt magnificent to hear the work in this way. In a similar way - such a small obvious thing - but to see the movement from tenor solo (beginning on VI) to bass solo (near ned of VI), paralleled by a shift from predominantly left-hand orchestral sounds (it seemed) to predominantly right-hand ones was thirlling. As if the music had stepped into a deeper, denser world. As Johan remarked afterwards - could Brian really have envisaged these effecs (he was thinking more of the big theatrical effects of the choruses, their standing and sitting in such huge swathes...)? I doubt it, really. But it works amazingly well.
Two players caught my eye, for much lighter reasons. The eager, muscles-tensed timpanist of brass band 3. A dead ringer foro Rob Bryden (actor/comedian). And, in the cellos (maybe in other parts of the orchestra too, I coulnd't see) Brabbins' keen ear had asked for a couple of players only at some points in Part II. What precise balancing! At first I could only see one of them, sitting there stock still, eyes closed, as if asleep, looking, I thought for a moment, like some kind of weird art installation!! I even nudged poor Brian to point him out, he looked so odd dozing there! But then I saw his desk partner, also not playing, and realised what was happening. Must have been so odd to sit there through all the cataclysmic noise and not play. Not fun for the playerat all.