>Last Sunday, a friend asked if I'd like to hear a Bach cantata at
>Emmanuel Church in Boston, something the church apparently does every
>week, usually under the direction of Craig Smith ... service contained
>two motets by John Harbison (also on Emmanuel's music board)
This has been going on, with Smith and Harbison included, for decades.
I heard the premiere of Harbison's Violin Concerto there about twenty
years ago, with Harbison's wife the soloist in a version, if I am not
mistaken, significantly different from the one eventually recorded.
>The choir blew me away. It handled the score's difficulties as if
>they simply didn't exist. The music, at low dynamic and thickly packed,
>separated into cogent lines and dramatic argument. Intonation was superb,
>the tone light, clear, and of a piece. No one just planted both feet
>and wailed. No one singer stuck out, not even soloists. Every part
>knew when to come forward in the texture and when to step back. Indeed,
>I've heard choral CDs that didn't come up to Emmanuel's technical level
>live....The bottom line is Emmanuel does this sort of thing every week.
>The more I think about it, the more mysterious it becomes.
I don't have any recent information, so I don't know this for sure, but
I assume those same singers have been going at this together so long
that they sing together as a long-standing string quartet plays.
>Maybe Boston really is the hub of the universe.
You should stick around there a while. There are tons of music of all
sorts and it will not cost you a fortune.