By Guillaume Schneider
UPDATE May 15: Two videos now embedded!
Part 1 is available HERE.
Part 2 is available HERE.
Part 3 is available HERE.
Part 4 is available HERE.
Part 5 is available HERE.
I was one of the first people in line. As the doors opened and we steadily walked toward the other end of the stage, the applause surrounded us and made me feel like someone important. No wonder I had never felt so inclined to smiling before! Knowing the amount of work that lay behind us, I had the very strong desire to make the audience understand what this music represents and to offer them an unforgettable experience. And this they got.
After the darkness settled, Ludwig Wicki showed the first beat and entered his "concert mode." Let me explain: Not only does he fulfill his difficult task of maintaining various rhythms with a flawless timing throughout the performance, he also manages to entertain us! During the few moments without music, he would look at us and make a sudden huge smile, sometimes even a funny grimace, out of nowhere. Believe me, there is no better way to motivate someone! Equally amusing, he liked to say the characters’ lines synchronously to the movie which reminded us of the fact that he truly is a veteran of the Live to Projection cycle. I’m not sure he would ever watch the trilogy at home again…
Having a croud staring in your direction for 3 hours is definitely exhilarating! I was hoping to get our first entrance right, but it turned out it is impossible to keep up with the fast rhythm of the "Kah-tahb-ree" part when people on your right are singing at a different pace than people on your left. It drove me crazy, even more the second time because some of us started much too fast. So in the end we missed this part twice, even though we made it sound right! Something of the utmost importance we had been briefed about concerned our entrances: if you are not sure about the pitch, don’t sing it and catch up later. This I did apply in ROTK for some low and dark parts, including "Andúril – Flame of the West" and "The Passing of the Grey Company" when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli travel to the Dwimorberg. I have to admit I disliked those short parts with few different notes.
The following performances would trigger the same emotional reactions, especially the very last one. Once we heard the last note echoing through the hall, I knew our journey had reached the end. Apart from the worn out voice, I felt proud of what we had achieved as an ensemble. The standing ovation we received was beyond anything I had experienced before and I was one the verge of clapping, intending to express my gratitude and joy, until I remembered the rules. Giving back the music sheets and leaving the Philharmonie and all these great people behind was tough. It is in these situations that you understand why people like Howard Shore, Ludwig Wicki and Doug Adams committed their lives to music. As a fan and a chorister, I am grateful for it.
You never know when an unusual opportunity enters your life again and oddly enough, I prefer it that way. We were told the Live to Projection cycle would skip Munich next year, and yet I feel confident it won’t be the last time we see Elves and Hobbits in town. Now that it’s over, I can’t deny some nostalgic moments. I have flashbacks at times, images of a still freshly formed choir appear, followed by a filled hall and an acclaiming audience. During this whole project I constantly thought about parallels to the current shooting of The Hobbit. How must you feel after concluding a titanic movie impatiently awaited by millions of people? Just singing a few times was so fulfilling …
Eventually, some moments will fall into oblivion, but thanks to my parents who took pictures of the performances, this venture will be engraved in my memory for a long time. Be assured that if ever the One Ring comes to Munich again, I will be there.