Hello Mahler families,

We had a spectacular rehearsal this week.  Thanks for making the revised schedule work.

Our last “kids alone” rehearsal is this week, Tuesday, April 23, 6:30 to 8:00pm. The extra time has really helped us.

The kids’ assignment this week:

They should check their memorization on all 10 excerpts.  They can do that with the online recordings here.
That means literally singing through each excerpt and asking, “Can I do this on my own?  Do I remember what comes next?”  For most kids this is probably a handful of 15 minute sessions.

By now, kids have listened (quietly, focused, at home) to:
—the opening of Part 1 (the 12 minutes before they sing a note)
—the opening of Part 2 (a long, slow, quiet orchestral prelude)

It’s time to listen to ALL of Part 1 or Part 2 (or both!).  Encourage them to use their text booklet and follow along.

We finally learned the climax of the piece—the last 4-5 minutes where the “Chorus Mysticus” introduces the most metaphysical (and baffling) words and ideas of the entire work:

All things ephemeral are only symbols;
What is insufficient here becomes an event;
The indescribable here is accomplished;
The eternal feminine draws us upwards.

Where to begin?  The kids were quick to identify what is “ephemeral” (anything that doesn’t last forever, which is pretty much everything we can see, including our own bodies).  

But the key phrase “eternal feminine”—made famous by Goethe in this moment…..well, we all agreed this would take a lot of pondering. What does it mean?  (The phrase does have its own Wikipedia article.)

One observation by a singer: this ending scene is dominated by women—the three penitent Marys, Faust’s girlfriend Gretchen (who has forgiven him, part of his redemption) and at the top: the Virgin Mary.  


What a pleasure and privilege, to collaborate with your curious and hard-working children!  Thanks.