Rehearsals for Herakles, the new musical drama by Tim Benjamin for Todmorden Choral Society are now under way.
The first rehearsal on Wednesday 4th January introduced the work to Todmorden Choral Society through short talks by Emma Stafford and Tim Benjamin, both of which were very well received. Emma Stafford’s talk on the origins and previous development of the story was supplemented by an information booklet which is available to download (pdf 1236kB). Tim Benjamin gave an engaging account of his version of the story, highlighting the chorus’ role at every point, especially as commentators who reflect on the action as it unfolds.
On Wednesday 11th January, the 80+ members of the Choral Society started work on some highlights from the piece, focusing on the opening and closing sections (based on Emma Stafford’s translation of the Homeric Hymn to Herakles, which dates from the seventh century BCE) and some of the colourful sections in the middle where the chorus represent the peoples of various collapsed civilisations, past which Herakles travels with Hermes, the messenger god.
The reception of the work was overwhelmingly positive. The chorus particularly liked the idea of the story being held together by a narrator, so that everyone is clear about what is going on, and saw the music as “modern” and “challenging” but felt it to be well-written for the capabilities of a Choral Society, so everyone is confident that they can deliver the piece as it is meant to be heard.
Everyone is looking forward to working on this “exciting”, “dramatic” and “fun” piece over the next few months and excited about premiering the work on April 30th 2017.