Easter 2024

23 October 2006

Sursa Performance Hall, Muncie, Indiana

Yes, the organ says "October 22, 2006". That was yesterday.

Is writing the dedication date this prominently a new trend in organ nameplating? We think it's a bit tacky . . .


21 October 2006

Capt. Sinden fires the cannon at Lake Delaware Boys Camp, July 2006. (Photo: Anna Gray)


19 October 2006
Buchenberg, Wolfram (b. 1962) - happy 44th birthday to

Our recent interest in Wolfram Buchenberg has coincided with the anniversary of the date of his birth, which is 19 October 1962. Thanks to diligent reader Lisa for alerting us to this calendrical coincidence.

Lisa and fellow reader Jon have helped flesh out the English version of the Buchenberg biography.

Jon writes in with a "quick, loose translation":

Wolfram Buchenberg was born in 1962, in Engelbolz (Oberallgäu) [I assume that Oberallgäu is a region or state of Germany].

From 1974, he attended the music high school in Marktoberdorf, where he sang in the Ostallgäu Young People's Chorus under the direction of Arthur Gros. [I think the writer is pretentiously saying that this was a formative experience for Buchenberg, but either the subtlety or haughtiness of this prose is unexplained by my pocket dictionary].

From 1982 he studied music education at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. He both passed his exams and concluded his study of composition with Prof. Dieter Acker with distinction. Since 1988 he has taught at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich.

Okay, now who has a picture?

18 October 2006
others - the

Tomorrow I'm helping out those others.

You know. Those people.

It's easy to pick up on our differences. Which is just another way of saying how tempted I am to look down my nose at these people.

"Ah, I see you've delayed the final stanza of the hymn with a silly responsive reading. How quaint."

"Oh, I see you've chosen that hymn. And you're having a soloist sing that song. Hmm."

It will be interesting, and different (liturgically, theologically, especially musically) from what I am becoming used to, but I can't let myself lose sight of what's really going on here.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the others we serve.

In many ways the _______ is the church closest to Anglicanism in terms of history and liturgy.

At the cathedral, we don't just cater to our own. We cater to everyone.

And who knows if the high altar will be used tomorrow? The host might be catered quite literally.


15 October 2006
Buchenberg, Wolfram (b. 1962) - Ich bin das Brot des Lebens

I heard this piece live tonight and it blew me away.

There are some pretty incredible choral effects in this work and just some down and dirty good writing.

Has anyone ever heard of this guy? He seems to have a German Wikipedia entry, but I can't find one in English.

A little help?

Maybe I can be more articulate after some sleep and looking at the score.

Translation Ich bin das Brot des Lebens = "I am the bread of life".

Not to be confused with: JFK's famous remark in Berlin: "Ich bin einer Berliner des Lebens".

12 October 2006
Dirty Tudor singers? Tallis Squalors.

Dirty Tudor singers? Tallis Squalors.

11 October 2006
CD - free public radio

The local public radio station (of which I am a member) holds a weekly classical music quiz show. Last week I called in on an organ related question (an easy answer for me) and I was the 10th caller.

Now, I normally would have no idea where I fall in the order of people who call in to the show, but I found out when they awarded me this CD.

And it's not just free, it's good. It's Lang Lang playing Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, and the Paginini Variations. Fun stuff that I didn't own before (though I have performed in the concerto and recently heard the variations live).

And so, public radio continues to expose me to new music. For free.

More free stuff: Now you can see what's caught my attention on the internet for free! Check out my Google Reader shared items.

10 October 2006
Merton, Thomas (1915-1968) - on hope

Yesterday was the second Monday of the month, and as such it was supposed to be Merton Monday, a new regular feature on that features an excerpt from the writing of Thomas Merton.

To hope is to risk frustration. Therefore, make up your mind to risk frustration.

Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation, p. 104. New Directions Publishing


09 October 2006
Pipedreams - Episode 0641 (liveblogging!)

21:59 Pipedreams is going to be awesome tonight. It's a program called "Scandinavian Surprises". The link isn't up on the Pipedreams homepage yet (this is one of the earlier broadcasts of the program) but the program's page is ready. I'm especially looking forward to the Finnish component: organ music of composer Joonas Kokkonen. Not surprisingly, this is on a Finlandia CD.

22:02 BBC News is on now. I'm getting excited! (Not about the North Korean nuclear test thing.)

22:10 It's on! (Like Donkey Kong!)

"Clean lines, no nonsense . . . functional" Comparing the music to modern Danish furniture. I guess we had to expect this.

22:12 Knut Nystedt. I've seen this name a bunch, but I've never heard anything by him. This Toccata, Op. 9 is his second composition for organ. I like it.

22:15 Getting bigger. Very palatable.

22:16 A nice piece. Doesn't do a whole lot, but it would be very accessible.

22:17 Now for a "quiet prelude on a Norwegian folk tune". I'm not holding my breath.

22:19 At least it was short.

22:20 Now a piece for choir and organ by Ståle Kleiberg. Very engaging off the bat. Great sounds. Good choir. Reminds me of something I can't quite place. Almost Lauridseny, but not quite. Okay, there's a chromatic turn. Just for color it seems. Pretty.

Surfing simultaneous with "Scandinavian Surprises": Army Strong. I can see two approaches to this advertising campaign. One, hairy man beats chest and says: "Army Strong!" Two, a large pickup truck that we are told is built Ford Tough "Army Strong". Either way, dumb.

22:23 These triplets are sounding very Sibelian (the cantatas), but way moderner. This is eloquent, I know.

22:24 A grand pause. Maybe a little overdue.

22:26 Over? A little unconvinging. The toccata starts. I wish it had been part of the choir and organ piece, it might have made for a nice contrasting section. But, as it is, I see why Michael Barone chose to play this afterwards. It will leave the listener with more closure, presumably.

22:29 Pan-scandinavian! This means Finland! Kokkonen followed in the footsteps of Sibelius. Nuts, it seems that these are arranged opera themes.

22:30 Strings sound slightly of theater-organy. Disappointing so far. Just some rambling harmonies. I don't really hear "themes" here. Principal color is much nicer. The work is taking shape. This could go somewhere.

22:31 Nice fuller-sounding restatement. I get the Sibelius connection somehow. What was rambly before now has purpose, direction.

22:32 Reeds introduced. Later, mixtures. It's quite full already. Is this a Howellsian Psalm-prelude sort of structure? Even bigger now. It must climax soon.

22:33 Yes. I suspect the climax is here. Disonances lead to a nice C Major resolution.

22:34 Drops all the way back to soft string opening. This would make a great prelude? I hope?! Yes!

22:35 Barone outlines the structure I've written here. More on Joonas Kokkonen.

22:35 Bach? Boring! (At least, not a Scandinavian Surprise. Well, the registration, a little.)

22:41 Blah, blah, blah. Buildings look better on the web, not the radio. Play some more organ music.

22:42 Oh wait. He was just breaking up the prelude and fugue by talking. This is boring.

22:55 At no point during the Icelandic meditation have I been really interested. I am going to the kitchen for a snack. I can only hope that it will be over when I return.

22:58 Perfect timing. Ian Quinn is at St. John's Cathedral Albuquerque? So he does.

22:59 I like hearing the Marcussen organ in this performance. And I recognize this as the piece used in the program's introduction, so I know it gets better.

SSSS: "Last week, Scots composer James MacMillan, also a Catholic, blasted trendy music as 'smiley and cheesy' claiming it ruined services and was driving congregations away. . . . James MacMillan slammed popular folk hymns as “neither contemporary or popular and barely music.” Source.

23:08 Aha! Andreas Dében to the rescue.

SSSS: Not only has porn star Crissy Moran (if that even is her real name) decided to "to go back to [her] one true love who is Jesus", but she has begun writing Christian poetry. I can't tell you how excited I am at the prospect of writing an a capella setting of this. Well, maybe I'll throw in a cheesy 70s synth track.

23:19 I'm afraid "Finnishing" up with works for organ and instruments isn't going to cut it for me tonight. It feels like a cop-out. Working full time and late night organ music on the radio don't really mix. At least, it's gotta be better than this if I am going to stay up for it. I'll hope for better next week.


05 October 2006
hymnal - new Lutheran

Looks like things are finally getting off the ground over at the Evangelical Lutheran Worshiplog.

Hosted by, the Worshiplog proposes to blog the content of Evangelical Lutheran Worship, "one page at a time". Evangelical Lutheran Worship, released Tuesday 3 October 2006, is the next official hymnal and primary worship resource for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Worshiplog has just posted their first article in about five months. Here's an exerpt about the cover:

It's red.

If that's not a promising start, I don't know what is.

A new hymnal is exciting news indeed! The last hymnal release we remember was The Presbyterian Hymnal way back in 1990. Those were the days.

Confession: Yes, somehow we missed the New Century Hymnal (United Church of Christ) in 1995.

Worshiplog helpers? going over 1200 pages of new hymnal is a big task, even if you really like hymns. If you want to help out, let me know.

Fire tangent: Yes, the new hymnals are hot right now (hard to get a hold of if you haven't pre-ordered), but I haven't seen any flames leaping off the page. No word yet on whether this feature will be implemented in later editions.

Unrelated: I've heard people say the Anglican Communion is falling apart, but is it really held together by duct tape?

04 October 2006
over - sense

oversee - it's active, supervisory

overhear - it's more passive, stealthy

oversmell - in a room of smelly things, it's the one that you can smell the most

overtaste - You're crusin along, and then, hey! Why not add some cummin? Why not add some fenugreek? Let's kick it into overtaste!

overtouch - you know those touch-sensitive ferns they have at the conservatory (the non-music kind)? Yeah, you know the ones. They're called Onoclea sensibilis.

overthink - Don't, or none of this will make sense.

03 October 2006

"City? 2004" part of "Signs" by Julian Opie. Market Street at Delaware Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.

02 October 2006
yourself - collect

I look forward to Sundays for lots of reasons, not the least of which these days is what I'll call "the unveiling of the collect."

Before we get to much further, let me clarify that I'm talking about the prayer (pronounced: COL-lect) specific to each Sunday in the church year. It's an Episcopal thing, and you can find them in our prayer book. Lutherans also have this practice. They call it "the prayer of the day," but in Episcopal usage, it has significance beyond Sunday. According to the rubrics (rules) of the prayer book, the collect is to be read for all services throughout the following week.

I love the early climax of the liturgy in the collect. Is this heretical? I mean, most people would point to the gospel as the climax of the service of the Word. I think that the collect is the crowning jewel of the entrance rite. It gives purpose to our procession and praise, and it prepares us by preceeding the propers with prayer.

Early on the weekly feast of Christ's resurrection, collects serve as our common response to God's goodness.

In a cathedral setting, you don't just hear the collect on Sundays; you hear it all throughout the week: at morning prayer, midweek eucharists and evensongs. Some parish churches have midweek services, so it gets prayed again, but most cathedrals essentially have services every day. But keep in mind that feast days have their own collects, so parishes that gather again for these festivals do not hear the Sunday collect again.

Hearing the proper collect throughout the week gives one more time to think about what's being said about God and what we should be asking of him, and what we should be doing as his disciples.

Here's this week's collect:

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

I was particularly drawn to the word "running" in this week's collect. I do a lot of running these days: running from one task to another, running from home to work and back, running off photocopies, and running just for exercise. In the midst of this flurry of activity, I often loose sight of God and his abundant grace. Grace that leads us to respond in an active way to a God whose power is expressed through mercy and pity.

When I go running, I have to remember to collect myself.

01 October 2006
Houston - as epicenter of the religious world

I used to live in Houston, and it's too bad I moved away, because now Jesus lives there.

And I'm sort of glad that Jesus has moved in, because now he can keep an eye on Victoria Osteen. Victoria Osteen is the wife of "pastor" and NY Times bestselling pseudo-Christian self-help author Joel Osteen. The Osteens are head of the "health and wealth" megachurch that meets in the former home of the Houston Rockets: Lakewood Church.

Lakewood Church's motto is "Discover the Champion in You". An interesting motto, to be sure. I for one, can think of one "champion" right away. And for me, this is a helpful comparison, because I like to think of the big and overconfident being slain by small crafty kids named David.

But this is all irrelevant when it comes to air travel. Joel and Victoria had boarded a Continental plane back in December (Continental Airlines is based in Houston), and Victoria decided to get really nasty. She was somehow incensed (not the smelly kind, they're not a liturgical church mind you) that there was liquid on her seat. This was, of course, prior to the liquid ban, so she had no reason to suspect terrorism, and instead began terrorizing the flight staff herself, becoming physically aggressive in demanding that it be cleaned up.

Well, after things got out of hand the Osteens voluntarily left the flight, and now Victoria is being fined and sued. Apparently, it doesn't matter how big the church you "pastor" is, you still can't act like an entitled jerk on an aircraft. Who knew?

What does this have to do with Jesus? Well, nothing so far. I mean, he makes very few appearances in the "liturgy" at Lakewood Church or the aircraft in question. Nor does he appear, for that matter, in the architecture of Lakewood Church: there is not a single cross in the place, though there is large metal globe that slowly rotates.

Luckily for the people of Lakewood Church, however, our Lord has sensed that he is needed, and Jesus has moved into the Houston suburbs.

His message? It doesn't matter how well your husband's book sold, you still have to act like a civil human being.

The aircraft incident really makes one wonder about the Osteens. Everyone gets angry, and everyone makes mistakes, but something else is going on here. The feel-good gospel must not have "held water" that day. And why lie about it?

Jesus/water tangent: Yeah, he walked on water, but did he ever walk on water in church?

Debussy tangent: So I guess the above tangent is supposed to be a reference to Debussy's Sunken Cathedral?



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