Gloria V: Domine Deus, Agnus Dei
One of your main goals to stand out in an audition should be to always try to be as musical as you can be ALL of the time. However, Movement 5 is a bit of challenge in this department, as there are very few suggestions in the score. In this post I will point out suggest how to add MORE dynamics and musicality to your audition.
Finding your pitch
Arguably the hardest thing about this piece is finding your entrance note after a long piano interlude. You’re probably beyond this at issue at this point, but never take for granted that you automatically know your beginning pitch because we are seeing even our most prepared students making mistakes when their minds wander.
Here are a few tricks so you figure the best way to find your pitch if you are having trouble:
- Assign a solfege syllable to your previous pitch before and after an interlude. Start by singing the solfege (no words) with vocal model 2X, then sing solfege with piano track, then sing words with piano track WITH CONFIDENCE.
- If you are a pianist, go to the piano and play the pitch before and after an interlude. Sing solfege with and without piano and/or slide in between interval to feel the distance. Sing interval acapella without sliding. Sing with piano track.
- If you can get your hands on a full score, find your pitch relative to what the piano track is playing.
Every choir director in the world has at some point said…when you have a long note, you should do something with it. By doing something, you should generally crescendo or decrescendo (or both) so that you always give direction and interest to the vocal line. Below are a few suggestions for added crescendos:
- Every “Deus” that has the figure of half note followed by a quarter could be a crescendo/decrescendo. (However, don’t crescendo out of the general dynamic that is indicated. Maybe pp->mp->pp)
- Moving eighth notes could crescendo, such as 2 measures after rehearsal 47 and two measures before rehearsal 49. This will also keep them legato instead of choppy.
Word stress in Poulenc’s Gloria is not always an easy feat, as Poulenc seems to intentionally set the unstressed syllable on a big beat or longer/higher note. Generally, stressed syllables should be louder or emphasized and unstressed syllables should be softer and unaccented. Below are a few examples on how to observe word stress:
- Every occurrence of “suscipe” and “miserere” should have louder stressed syllables and tapered or softer unstressed syllables. suscipe=SU-sci-pe, miserere= mi-se-RE-re.
- Patris and Mundi are also great opportunities as the first syllable is stressed and the second is unstressed in both cases. patris= PA-tris, mundi= MUN-di
- **Higher does not mean louder, necessarily!
Why do you think a composer would write a double dotted eighth note followed by a sixteenth? Pretty dramatic stuff, right? Whenever I see a snappy rhythm like this, I think of it as needing special attention, if not a bit of an accent, even just to make sure you are doing the rhythm correctly. Take care with “suscipe” when you see this figure!
In addition to musical markings, knowing the exact translation of the words you are singing can help your audition stand out and add another layer of preparation and authenticity. Write the translation under or above your Latin text in every repetition. Try speaking the English translation and then think the English word while singing the Latin. The goal should be an attempt to tie an emotion to the dynamic you are striving for.
Deus Deus Filius Paris (God, God, Son of the Father) *Think reverence, warmth
Rex caelestis, Deus Deus (Heavenly King! God, God) *Think praise, exclaimation
Qui tollis peccata mundi (Thou, who takes away the sins of the world) *A bit darker, more melancholy sound
Miserere (Have Mercy) *Pleading
Suscipe deprecationem nostram (Receive our prayer) *This is a command!
Sopranos: Turn your page fast between 20-21…you do NOT sing at the top of the page! (You do this figure later)
Basses: You have some really jumpy lines. Keep these leading forward, if you dwell too long you’ll find yourself singing flat, heavy, and behind the beat!
Everyone: The “Agnus Dei” on page 23 is a very tricky note to find! It especially tends to be flat, and even then it is often tentative when it’s actually marked mf!
Another thing to note: This is NOT on the vocal notes online, but sometimes you do not have a time signature change indicated in your vocal line, it only appears in the solo line! This makes counting confusing. Make sure you have all of these written in (ie: 3 mm before circle 49)