Venice, May, 2008

The Watties sing in St Mark's!

Home Up: Holidays Google Maps streetplan of Venice
Basilica San Marco

Click the thumbnails to expand them to the full size pictures

This is St Mark's Basilica in Venice. I have sung there. It doesn't get much better than that. What a privilege!

We were a scratch choir of about 21 singers invited by David Boarder (Head of East Herts Schools Music). We've been doing this kind of thing for quite a while now, but have never sung as far afield as Venice, nor in such fabulous churches. In the past we've done Rouen, Arras, Honfleur, Caen, Reims and Bruges.
We sang in 3 masses, the first on the Saturday afternoon in Chieso di San Nicoló, on Sunday morning in St Mark's and on Sunday evening in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, all with wonderful accoustics, which we milked for all we were worth!
I took over a hundred photographs, so I'll just pack some of them in in no particular order. I'll put the text into a balloon you should see if you hover the mouse pointer over the thumbnail. If I need to put more than will conveniently go there, I'll think of something at the time.

In St Mark's Basilica, the rather snooty high priest baldly told us we could sing one piece before the service, two during it and one afterwards. When the time came, after singing our first, there was no sign of the service starting, so we sang another, and another. Afterwards, we just kept singing and no-one stopped us so we ended up doing a total of 8 pieces. And were complimented by another visiting conductor on being better than the preceding choir!

A bunch of gondolas, parked up. Jenny in St Mark's Square A view along the main canal through the centre of the island The murals on the front are mosaic, and just wonderful!

The church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari had the most amazing accoustics, which we took maximum advantage of, of course. Several of the works we sang had crescendoes up to a break, so when the singing stopped, you could hear it echoing around the church. Wonderful!
I have no idea why you're not allowed to photograph inside, but that did make me rather rush my snaps, and I'm a little sad about the fuzziness of the photo of this negro slave. He was splendid (much bigger than lifesize), and the whole thing says a lot about the 18th Century culture, what with the holes in the knees of his trousers, etc.

The bell tower, like much of Venice, started to sink, so, after several attempts to fix it, in the 19th century, they tied the brickwork into the corner of the church. Sadly, all that did was to drag the corner of the church down along with the bell tower, so now there's a project to inject concrete underneath the tower and prop it all up. I seem to recall that a similar effort beneath the leaning tower of Pisa didn't work too well. Hope the same doesn't apply here!

Music List

Jubilate - Gabrielli

Cantate Domini - Monteverdi

If ye love me - Tallis

Mass in 4 parts - Byrd

Crucifixus - Lotti

Maganificat - Pärt

Tantum Ergo - de Severac

3 Motets - Stanford

Bororoditsye Dyevo - Rachmaninov

Ubi Caritas - Duruflé

Alleluia - Thompson

Ave Virgo Gloriosa - Dering

Totus Tuus - Gorecki

Ave Verum - Saint-Saëns

Hear my prayer, O Lord - Purcell

Faire is the Heaven - Harris

Cherubic Hymn - Gretchaninov

Last updated 19th October, 2008 by Rob Clack