A new beginning with a bang!

  • Schola Cantorum Jubilate
  • Music
  • Marouska Attard
  • Soprano
  • Choral Conductor

My life has been bonkers from the day I said farewell to Wales last August. I soon found myself immersed into more score studying, rehearsals and conducting. I am not complaining about all this, after all this is what I have hoped for after finishing my masters.

My first performance back on the islands was with Schola Cantorum Jubilate on October the 12th. This concert was part of a series of other performances entitled Modern Music Days, which involved master classes and performances of contemporary and modern music around Malta. On this occasion, I had the opportunity to work with organ scholar Glen Dempsey, from which I took an array of knowledge that I still find very useful for SCJ and myself! Together with the choir, we have prepared and performed works by Britten, Bernstein, Tavener, Muscat and Zahra amongst others. This repertoire was quite new to the ear not only for the choristers themselves but also for the lovely audience gathered to see us at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta. Apart from the level of difficulty the chosen repertoire presented, I faced another setback. In fact, for me it has been also a long time since I last worked with Schola Cantorum Jubilate. I had to put aside the fact that I am no longer working with full time musicians now, as I was accustomed to back at the Royal Welsh College. The challenge here is even bigger. I had to constantly remind myself not to rush or introduce too many new things at once to the choristers. On the other hand I had to be cautious not to go back to my old bad habits of conducting and rehearsing. Somehow, however I have managed to overcome all this.

Then of course there was the 11th edition of Carols by Candlelight on December 5th and 6th. In very little time the repertoire was chosen and rehearsals commenced. When choosing repertoire, I have tried to put in some choral pieces that are quite unknown to the Maltese audience but very popular overseas, such as O Magnum Mysterium by Lauridsen. I could not resist not to include Sir Christèmas from the cantata Ave Rex by the Welsh composer William Mathias. For the choristers, the ‘not so popular pieces’ were among the favourites and I am sure that these pieces also helped them to grow musically. 

What I did introduce as well in this edition of Carols by Candlelight was the idea of using the whole available performance space. The actual performance was not executed all the time from the same spot as we were used to do. As a result the audience experienced a total new perspective of sound! 

In between these two events, I also went back to teaching, back to my singing teacher and also started the series of ‘Hidden Voices’. But these are other adventures, other stories that will be dealt with next time you visit this blog!