There are magical moments that happen so sparsely in our careers that it is possible to count them on two hands after decades of practice and performance. How to describe it is something that many have words for, yet they still don't encompass the real meaning. The difficulty is that it cannot be willfully elicited, it cannot be planned, it certainly cannot be coerced. When it happens, the performers almost dare not breath for breaking the moment, for losing the magic.
Last Thursday I was conducting a rehearsal which I was convinced would be the last for at least a few weeks, if not longer, due to the very possible imposition of corona regulations. With a concert just two weeks away, all of the repertoire is finished and is only awaiting fine-tuning and the general rehearsal. I decided to do the general rehearsal of the works that we could do without the soloists. One of those works was Gorecki's Totus Tuus, which is (as most of his genre is) extremely tiring and taxing to sing due to the endless repetition and difficult tessituras that need to be actively upheld to dismay sinking tonality. At the end of the piece, when intonation had gone downhill anyways, and I was not expecting anything at all from the piece and just decided to stick to the end because we needed to get a feel of the whole, it happened. The endless repeated Maria's caught us in a spell. There was a sort of über concentration, a submission to each other, a submission to the music. As the last sound died away, one of the tenors burst into tears.
I always know that tears are victory in music. The magic is why we do music. The tears are the release.