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Ordinary Time 2017

30 June 2006
User Guide - highlight from the Nokia 2128i

Nokia 2128iImportant: The headset may affect your ability to hear sounds around you. Do not use this headset in situations that may endanger your safety.
Warning: When using the headset, your ability to hear outside sounds may be affected. Do not use the headset where it can endanger your safety.

-User Guide for the Nokia 2128i, p. 15

I get the point, but I don't understand the need for this redundancy.

In the "important" blurb, active voice is used. It's the clearly the headset that's affecting my ability to hear sounds around me. But situations may endanger my safety.

In the "warning" blurb, passive voice is used. My ability to hear "outside sounds" -- whatever those are -- "may be affected." And creepily, it's the headset that can endanger my safety. Can the headset endanger my safety over here? What about over here? Ah! Get this headset off me! I think a better choice would have been "when it can endanger your safety."

Clearly the Nokia User Guide's "Important blurb" and "Warning blurb" committees need to communicate a little more clearly.

Possibly through the use of their headsets.

Important: Roman Catholics read too much into the Pope's new car, a Volvo.

Warning: Too much is read into the Pope's new car, a Volvo, by Roman Catholics. Riding in a Volvo does not normally endanger one's safety.

 
28 June 2006
Nativity of St. John the Baptist - Feast of the, 2006

I don't know what's more mysterious. The fact that the Saturday's Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist passed seemingly unnoticed by Sinden.org, or that this guy is like way out of sync with what he's singing.

So, what is he singing, and what does it have to do with NatStJnBpst? And is that even a real abbreviation?

This video (courtesy of MusicaSacra.com) shows William Mahrt demonstrating the Guidonian hand with the Nativity-of-John-the-Baptist hymn "Ut Queant Laxis".

Well, in truth the Guidonian hand is in pretty bad shape. It belonged to Guido of Arezzo, and he died nearly a thousand years ago. But his hand trick lives on.

If only I can figure out how to sing ahead of myself like this guy does though.

It must have something to do with the hand. And the Roman Catholic Church (i.e., murder and the Mona Lisa).

Because, that creepy grin at the end just speaks volumes.

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27 June 2006
improvisation - Keith Jarrett

DVD coverI viewed Keith Jarrett: The Art of Improvisation earlier this month, and my editors have been hounding me for the few comments I promised, so here they are:

The Köln Concert was not supposed to be good. Keith Jarrett had not slept for two days, and the piano he wanted was nowhere to be found. The one on which he was to play had an overly-bright sound.

But what happened? Something cool. It was a great concert, albeit maybe a little different than standard Jarrett fare, and went on to be one of the best selling Jazz records ever.

Going from zero to zero. That's how Jarrett defines improvisation. His solo improvisations (different than his standards work with his trio) are not based on pre-existing material.

When performing the Mozart double concerto with Chick Corea in Japan, Jarrett chose to use composed cadenzas rather than create his own. His point being, again, that improvisation should not have a relationship to the printed page. It is separate from it.

The Art of Improvisation is a little bit more of a biopic than I would have preferred, but for someone who has improvised during his whole career, this is probably unavoidable. The film traces Jarrett's frantic, random keyboard gyrations in Stockholm, through his meticulous crafting of The Melody at Night with You from within the grips of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The film is also a presentation that is in line with Jarrett's philosophy of improvisation.

Jarrett refers to improvisation as an exercise that involves the whole person. He dismisses the idea that "music comes from music." That's like saying that "babies come from babies." It's just not true.

(Comments from the DVD viewing end here.)

Well, babies do come from babies. The babies from which they come, however, are just really old.

In the same sense then music does come from music, just not in the way we might want to think. Certainly music, hearing it, practicing it, performing it, is something that affects the whole person. If this same affected person then improvises, then his or her improvisation is then, in some sense, coming from music (but also literature, theology, culinary experiences, encounters with police, rodents, being stuck in traffic, getting rejection letters, alcohol, rubbing alcohol, model trains, full-size trains, small towns, full-size towns, sea shells, astronomy, etc.)

Improvisational Influence Tangent: Yes, I may have to use this new song as improvisation fodder on Sunday. But wait a minute, isn't Hasselhoff driving KITT on the wrong side?

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24 June 2006
cadenza - postmodern violin

Gilles ApapPerformed by Gilles Apap (courtesy of Larry Smith)

 
22 June 2006
Sinden - meaning of

Synthetic Intelligent Neohuman Designed for Efficient Nullification

Aha!

. . . because I had always wondered what that name meant.

 
20 June 2006
Mike Lamb just came to

Mike Lamb just came to the plate at the Astro's game. An Agnus Dei was played.

 
19 June 2006
Lesser Feasts and Fasts - possible provisional for 2007-2009

GenCon06 logoCourtesy of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church we may have some new feasts and fasts to observe for the next three years. Basically, the Convention has decided that the springtime wasn't busy enough. We have to wait for the publication of Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006 to know if these are included for sure, and even then these kalendar additions are provisional only. Observe them at your own risk.

[February 4] (date TBA) - The Feast of the USAT Dorchester Chaplains

This commemoration really needs a lot of help. No proposed date, collects, or lessons were included in the resolution. And the feast's name is really cumbersome. But that's my fault; I just came up with it. The chaplains' names might help that situation.

As the ship sank, the chaplains were seen to link arms and pray together in English, Hebrew and Latin. A total of 672 soldiers perished on that night with the four chaplains - all of different faiths died with arms clasped in common prayer.

April 13 - The Feast of the Confession of Martha

Lord Christ, your mercies are beyond number and you are is [sic] revealed all around us if we but have eyes to see, give us the grace and hospitality of your friend, Martha of Bethany, who, in the midst of grief, confessed you as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, confident that new life is found in your presence and that the reign of God is ever transforming us and our loved ones. We ask this in your name, who lives and reigns with the Creator and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

That collect is kind of rambly. Especially that "and you are is revealed all around us if we but have eyes to see" part.

But generally, I really like the sentiments of this feast. The idea is that this will stand opposite the Confession of Peter (January 18), you know, in the way that spring stands opposite, yet adjacent to winter.

The Gospel, John 11:17-27, includes her confession: "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world."

Martha, like Peter, was pretty fickle, though. Shortly after her confession she balks when Jesus asks her to roll away the stone: "Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days."

Although, now that I read this again, I wonder if it's not really Martha hesitating. Maybe she's just reporting the news. I mean she's standing right there, and he is still dead and he has been dead for four days. So, yeah, it was probably a little stinky.

April 24 - Genocide Remembrance Day

Collects and lessons still have to be prepared for this fast (presumably that's what this is), but the summary is already haunting.

April 24, 1915 marks the anniversary of the first modern genocide, a planned attempt by the Ottoman Turks to exterminate the Armenian people and the first act of "race murder" of the 20th Century. Over the course of the next several years more than one million Armenian Christians died. Yet a century of genocide was just beginning. The "quip" by Adolph Hitler on the eve of the Holocaust of "Who remembers the Armenians?" emboldened the Nazis to exterminate millions of Jews and Gypsies during the period of the Second World War. Yet there would be more as the decades of the century continued. The communist Khmer Rouge campaign of death in the 1970s in which 2 million Cambodians perished; the attempted destruction of Iraq's Kurdish population by Saddam Hussein in the late 1980's; "ethnic cleansing" of Muslims and Croats by Serbians in Bosnia in the 1990's; the massacre of more than 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda during 100 days in 1994; and as the last century ended, the beginnings in Sudan of the still unfolding tragedy in Darfur.

Arguably, the 20th Century was the century of genocide. To honor the memory of the countless victims of ethnic cleansing and race murder, and to corporately pray that such tragedies are never again repeated, the Church must call the faithful to awareness and prayer by the annual commemoration of "Genocide Day" in honor of all who have perished.

May 17 - The Feast of Thurgood Marshall

Eternal and Ever-Gracious God, you blessed your servant Thurgood with special gifts of grace and courage to understand and speak the truth as it has been revealed to us by Jesus Christ. Grant that by his example we may also know you and seek to realize that we are all your children, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ , whom you sent to teach us to love one another; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

May 30 - The Feast of Joan of Arc

Eternal God, you sent your servant, Joan, while still a child, to follow your counsel and to lead an army toward your ends. Give us grace to hear and trust your messages and follow where they lead, knowing that yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

"Lead an army toward your ends"? Whoa. Kinda sounds like George W. Bush. I wonder when he'll be commemorated. Luckily, all of this stuff will be reviewed before published.

Here's hoping that Bertha and Ethelbert can make it out of committee.

Previously: Episcopal Church - 75th General Convention of mostly outlined resolutions A063/4, both pending before the House of Deputies.

Elsewhere: My local diocese is doing a bang-up job of blogging from the General Convention. One post in particular helped me sense what it must have been like to learn about the new Presiding Bishop-elect from the floor of the House of Deputies.

 
18 June 2006
wars - liturgy

liturgy?In liturgical news this week:

American Catholic bishops have voted to change the 35-year old English translation of the Latin. The emmendations are supposed to return this version to the intent of the original Latin.

The bishops, meeting in Los Angeles, voted 173 to 29 to accept many of the changes to the Mass, a pivotal point in a 10-year struggle that many English-speaking Catholics had dubbed "the liturgy wars."

Goodstein, Laurie. "A Changing Mass for U.S. Catholics." NY Times 16 June 2006.

Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church is tinkering with the lectionary. Namely, they are moving to the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) in Advent, 2010. This is more of a "propoganda liturgy war."

During debate, one deputy noted that she had helped three congregations make a transition to the RCL and “99 percent of the people in the pews never noticed. Living Church Foundation News, 17 June 2006.

How would one notice a shift to the RCL? ("Hey, is this the same Epistle we heard on the second Sunday of Advent two years ago?")

I've decided to start my own liturgy lectionary war over line from the Living Church article about what to do once "pages 887 through 1001 [of the Book of Common Prayer] became obsolete."

Well, excuse me, but I thought the three-year lectionary only occupied pages 887 through 921 (that's only 34 pages).

I use pages 922-1001 (89 pages) for doodling.

Tangent: Who knew there was music at episcopalsingles.org?

 
16 June 2006
Butler, Joseph - Feast of, 2006
I see that all things come to an end, *
but your commandment has no bounds.

Psalm 119:96, from the lessons appointed for use on the Feast of Joseph Butler

All things change.

Episcopal sheildJoseph Butler's life, like the lives of many of the saints we commemorate, was marked by regular change. Key to our commemoration of him was his early change from Presbyterianism to Anglicanism. A change that I can appreciate, having completed it myself a couple years ago.

After his ordination, Butler served Rolls Chapel, Houghton-le-Skerne, Stanhope, Rochester (as prebendary) and Bristol (as bishop).

The year J.S. Bach died, Butler accepted the bishopric of Durham, but only after turning down the opportunity to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. There are some changes that we're just not willing to make.

A friend of mine is undergoing preparation to attend law school. I thought of him, and the change that he is making when reading the lawyer's response to Jesus in today's Gospel lesson:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

Change takes great effort, and for some of us more than others. There are those changes which we enact, and those that enact their way on us. But in both cases, there is generally some guiding principle of change. For the Christian, I believe it is precisely the wholesale dedication to God and neighbors which is to guide our motives.

Why did Joseph Butler change posts so much? If he really wanted to serve his parishioners, wouldn't he just have stayed put? Or, by loving God with his whole heart, soul, strength and mind, did he find that he was led to different positions in church leadership?

It seems that I may be preparing to jump ship from one seminary to another. (Take a look. I'm the "David" in the Arminian and yet Reformed Theological Seminary of Sjlbvdnzv.)

The Episcopal Church has called, and I am answering that call.

All things change and eventually come to an end, but the Word endures forever.

 
15 June 2006
Krommer, Franz (1759-1831) - connection to Schübler Chorales, barbershop
Franz Krommer (originally Kramár) (1759-1831) was a Bohemian classical composer who wrote a good deal of slight but entertaining wind music. Since all of these pieces are in the key of E flat, let's do a rundown to avoid confusion. Op. 35 is played by Tsutsui and Berkes; Op. 91 is played by Takashima and Berkes; Op. 36 is played by Takashima; and Berkes conducts everything. There are several other recordings of these concertos, but since these are played and recorded as well as any, you'd have to be a great fan of one of the other clarinetists to want to spend nearly triple Naxos's price. Not great music, perhaps, but it's fun. --Leslie Gerber

CD coverThis seemingly irrelevant information was found on Amazon's product page for Wolfgang Rubsam's recording of the Schübler Chorales.

I can't say what it is, exactly, but Leslie Gerber is trying to hint at a connection between Krommer and the source of Bach's mysterious Woll soll ich fliehen hin, BWV 646. All of the other Schübler Chorales are based on cantata movements, but no one can find a source for this one.

Wolfgang Rubsam has a controlling interest in Naxos, so perhaps he was behind the Krommer recording project too.

Wolfgang Rubsam also operates a barber shop in Valparaiso, Indiana.

I'm not sure how these pieces fit together, but it seems that by beginning to unravel the mystery, I am starring in my own movie:

The Krommer Kode.

 
14 June 2006
gun - practice interrupted by man with

gunThis summer, I've been practicing late at night, because I can. And because I'm really productive at that hour.

Recently someone asked me if I ever got creeped out being alone in a dark empty church in the middle of the night. The answer is generally no, I don't.

Earlier this week, I was practicing late, and I thought I heard strange noises. And then I thought I was imagining them. And then I heard them again. And then I didn't hear anything for a while.

And then someone banged on the window on the other side of the room.

I didn't really know what to do until I saw this person had a flashlight. I then assumed (correctly) that this person was employed by a law enforcement agency and, much to the chagrin of my former organ teachers, had noticed some glaring violations in my pedal technique.

So I slide off the organ bench and open a door to talk to the nice law enforcement officer, he asks:

"Are you the pastor?"

"No," I say, "I'm the organist."

(This is true!)

Then he let me go with a warning. Apparently, I had used well over the legal limit of paralell sixths in my improvisation.

(not true)

 
13 June 2006
Episcopal Church - 75th General Convention of

2006 General Convention SealThe 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church meets in Columbus, Ohio this week, and while there's no Gene Robinson-type issue this year, there are some pieces of legislation that Sinden.org is following with interest.

First up, the approval of the existing provisional commemorations. They were published in the 2003 edition of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, so we've been using them for a while.

Resolution A059 Approve Liturgical Calendar Commemorations
Resolved, the House of _____concurring, That the commemorations of Florence Li Tim-Oi, Janani Luwum, Philander Chase, William Temple and Clive Staples Lewis, proposed by the 74th General Convention (2003 Journal, p. 446, 447ff and 488) and approved for trial use, be now finally approved and entered in the Calendar of the Church Year (BCP, p. 15-30) and in future revisions of Lesser Feasts and Fasts.

If approved, we can look forward to the first legitimate evensong for the Feast of Philander Chase on Friday, September 22.

I'm not sure about this next one. I have to wonder if the February 1, 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster has anything to do with this. Perhaps no one had the presence of mind to draft this resolution for the 74th GenCon three years ago?

Resolution A062 Approve a Common for Space Exploration
Resolved, the House of _____concurring, That the 75th General Convention authorize, for trial use until the 76th General Convention, a Common for Space Exploration, as follows:

Creator of the universe, whose dominion extends through the immensity of space: guide and guard those who seek to fathom its mysteries especially N.N]. Save us from arrogance lest we forget that our achievements are grounded in thee, and, by the grace of thy Holy Spirit, protect our travels beyond the reaches of earth, that we may glory ever more in the wonder of thy creation: through Jesus Christ, thy Word, by whom all things came to be, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Creator of the universe, your dominion extends through the immensity of space: guide and guard those who seek to fathom its mysteries [especially N.N.]. Save us from arrogance lest we forget that our achievements are grounded in you, and, by the grace of your Holy Spirit, protect our travels beyond the reaches of earth, that we may glory ever more in the wonder of your creation: through Jesus Christ, your Word, by whom all things came to be, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm
19:1-6 or Canticle 12

Lessons
Job 38: 4-12, 16-18
Revelation 1:7-8, 12-16

Gospel
John 15:5-9

Preface of God the Father or the Epiphany

The Episcopal Women's project has proposed five commemorations for inclusion in Lesser Feasts and Fasts. Interestingly they have not proposed any men. somebody else proposed Oscar Romero, I guess. All of these commemorations span a period of about 70 years, with the most recent being 26 years ago.

Resolution A063 Additional Calendar Commemorations
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention propose additional commemorations in the Calendar of the Church Year and authorize trial use thereof for the triennium 2007–2009, as follows: January 8, Harriet Bedell, Deaconess and Missionary, 1969
February 28, Anna Julia Heyward Cooper, Educator, 1964
March 13 (or November 8), James Theodore Holly, Bishop of Haiti, 1911
March 24, Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, 1980, and The Martyrs of El Salvador
April 7, Tikhon, Patriarch of Russia, Confessor and Ecumenist, 1925
October 10, Vida Dutton Scudder, Educator and Witness for Peace, 1954
December 30, Frances Joseph-Gaudet, Educator and Prison Reformer, 1934

I wonder about some of these commemorations. I might propose that we use Wikipedia as a test for inclusion. I can find Tikhon, and Oscar, but not the others.

Update 14 June 2006: Resolution C016 has just come to our attention. Thurgood Marshall has been proposed for the calendar by the Diocese of Washington.

 
12 June 2006
Adler, Samuel (b. 1928) - mentioned by Paul Jacobs

Samuel AdlerOrganist Paul Jacobs is giving some recitals in Hawaii, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports.

"One of the great joys of being an organist is that we [sic] actively perform five centuries of music," Jacobs said. "Even music that predates Bach, all the way through contemporary times, like the music of Olivier Messiaen as well as Samuel Adler, and there are new composers writing for the organ all the time."

"Pulling out all the stops." Honolulu Star-Bulletin 9 June 2006
emphasis added

I thought it was great to see Samuel Adler listed among Bach and Messiaen. He's a great composer, after all. But I still wonder about it. What's Paul Jacobs playing by Sam Adler these days?

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11 June 2006
Trinity - as perpetual birthing

The Trinity, El GrecoLast year I started thinking about the Trinity as a dance, and that's a nice, 1960s sort of image. One can imagine God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in white linen robes, adorned with garlands, dancing on a hill somewhere.

"Hey guys," says Jesus, "let's go over here!"

"Oh Jesus," says God, "you always want to dance on the water."

But I digress.

This year, thanks to an excellent sermon I heard and the "born from above" comment in John, I've started thinking about the Trinity as an entity that is "dancing" by perpetually giving birth to itself.

Giving birth to itself. It's weird, I know. But it's seems to me that if one of the key attributes of God is his ability to create, could not one conceive of God as a force always engaged in creation? as the act of creation itself?

The idea of three-in-one is a bit much. Heck, the idea of two-in-one is a bit much, as Mitch Hedberg would remind us at this point.

It was a two-in-one shampoo and two-in-one is a bullsh*t term because one isn't big enough to hold two. That's why two was created. If it was two-in-one, it would be overflowing. The bottle would be all sticky and sh*t . . .

They say that Jesus was fully God and fully man. Expressed numerically he was 100% God and 100% man. So that means he was 200%, um, what, exactly?

So if it's difficult to conceive of a shampoo/conditioner, or a fully-God, fully-human Jesus, how much more difficult is it to conceive of a God/Jesus/Holy Spirit?

Something has to give, or the "bottle" will explode. That's why I think I like this imagery of constant motion (dance) or creation (birth): it helps me wrap my mind around the Trinity.

A similar image to this perpetual birthing idea might be God making himself present in the burning bush. The bush is on fire (with God's holiness), and yet doesn't burn up (protected by God's quintessential creativity).

Looking a little more closely at Exodus 3 (the King James version, because I'm feeling snarky), we see God announcing his holiness/creativity:

And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

Exodus 3:5-6

God relates a genealogy beginning with Moses's father, but then leaps backward to narrate the creative force with which God has guided his people: Abraham (God makes Sarah laugh with a child in her old age), Isaac (God spares Isaac with a ram caught in a bush--though this one is not on fire; Rebekah is barren but gives birth to twins), Jacob (the father of Israel). God is essentially explaining why it is that the Bush isn't burning up: it's because he's cool creative.

OuroborosThe generative perpetual-birth image is the polar opposite of the consuming Ouroboros, the serpent eating its own tail (perpetual-survival bordering on perpetual-death hinting at perpetual-motion).

And while the concept Ouroboros doesn't really make sense, it is something that can be represented graphically. Perpetual birthing, however, takes a little more imagination, and a lot more graphic skill (perhaps Mr. Escher would like to give this a try?).

We at Sinden.org, however, do not preach in the art library, we preach from the organ bench, so we need not graphic skill, but musical references.

Escher drawingThe final movement of Olivier Messiaen's Les Corps Glorieux (1939) is about the Trinity (full disclosure: Messiaen was the organist at La Trinité in Paris for over 60 years). In my initial encounter with it, I was amazed how Messiaen was able to create an effect reminiscent of descending Shepard tones. In the descending Shepard scale, as in Messiaen's composition, by low octaves that fade away and quietly give birth to higher pitches which are descending. The trick of the illusion is to have their introduction be so subtle, and so much a part of the texture, that the listener assumes that they were always there and have been descending for some time.

It's interesting that Messiaen chooses this rhetorical device of catabasis, one with which Bach was also acquainted. In Bach's usage, descending devices had to do particularly with Jesus and his descent/birth.

The "St. Anne" Fugue in E-Flat Major, BWV 552b from the Third Part of the Clavierübung is often regarded as Bach's Trinitarian composition par excellence. With a key signature of three flats, the "St. Anne" is a triple fugue consisting of three large sections (Father, Son, and do I really need to tell you?).

The first section is large creative gesture, like the exposition of any fugue. Starting from a single line, the slow moving fugue subject gradually expands to two, then three, four, and ultimately five voices (no Trinitarian symbolism here, just some "compositional chest thumping"). The second theme moves much more quickly. This section is customarily performed on another manual with a slightly smaller sound. Usually this is the Rückpositiv, the part of the organ closest to the congregation, thereby symbolizing Jesus' descent. This is a kind of surround-sound catabasis, if you will. The final theme is a spirited dance that sweeps up the other two themes, usually played on the original manual with the second one coupled (combined) into it. This final section, when played by a theologically inclined organist, will combine all the themes and the two sound schemes used in the previous two sections.

All this talk of birth seems to place emphasis on the second figure of the Trinity. Even Messiaen's scoring of the last movement of Les Corps Glorieux seems to place a lot of emphasis on Jesus, the middle voice. Jesus was actually born on earth and he is the one who speaks of being "born from above" in today's gospel. And so, we see that this creative self-birthing Trinity wants to include us in the dance; the Trinitarian God wants to give birth to us. We are invited into the dance through the Rückpositiv and then swept up into the Hauptwerk.

Birth is messy, sort of like the overflowing 2-in-1 shampoo bottle. In an episode of the Gilmore Girls--you know you watch it too--Lorelai Gilmore is describing the miracle of birth to a soon-to-be mother. Lorelai cautions her not to look at the baby until they clean it off a little or she'll think she's "given birth to phlegm".

Births are also miraculous, and it's no wonder that we experience a sense of the divine when we encounter God's creative, life-giving nature this way.

We also encounter God in the holy burning bush. We don't understand it, but we are strangely compelled to turn aside.

And so, the Trinity is not just a mystery, it's a messy miracle which, like the bush, invites us to take off our shoes and join the dance.

Trinitarian death tangent: They say that deaths often come in threes. Did you know that the three deaths on November 22, 1963 led to a novel?

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10 June 2006
improvisation - Art of

Keith Jarrett: The Art of Improvisation, DVD coverI haven't been slacking off. My intense research into the world of American improvisation/creativity, which consists mainly of watching movies and reading books, is proceeding as planned.

Shortly, I will be viewing Keith Jarrett: The Art of Improvisation, and I expect to publish a reaction here.

Based on titles of works they have published, both organist Gerre Hancock and pianist Keith Jarrett believe that improvisation is an Art.

Jarrett will be an interesting case study in the world of improvisation. He's clearly a superbly gifted musician, one who is well-known as an improviser. More than that, his innovative solo concerts have been instances at spontaneous creation (improvisation that is not based on pre-existing themes).

Like comedian Jerry Seinfeld in the documentary Comedian, Jarrett recently sought to remodel his improvisations by starting from scratch (these efforts are captured by his most recent release Radiance). This artistic trajectory reveals an artist who is particularly attuned to the distilled, creative essence of his art.

There's a lot of personal interest here. I grew up listening to Jarrett, and I grew up improvising on the piano and the organ. What I'm really interested in getting a hold of is the concept of improvisation in isolation -- improvisation for its own sake.

I don't think organists have much experience with this concept. Most organ methodologies don't hesitate to introduce hymn-based techniques fairly early on. Surely this is practical, but it is putting the cart before the horse.

By teaching organists how to improvise set forms, certain methodologies surely relegate improvisation to the world of "craft." And while this may speak to the reality of what occurs when the organist improvises, I think it is worthwhile to try to access the bigger picture: improvisation as "Art."

By the same token, however, improvisation is most easily accessed through set forms and stipulations: a craft, if you will. And for some inexperienced improvisers, improvising without a predetermined form will lead to musical incontinence.

How much have organists been limited by our received methodologies? How many organists are asked to just improvise, for its own sake, and without the aid of anything pre-composed?

How many organists are comfortable removing the trappings of western music, or inherited default-churchiness to create something really honest, personal, artistic?

By way of example, the fugue was a necessary thing to improvise in Bach's time. One could even argue that the French had their own fugue thing going too. But how many American composers are still writing fugues? I mean, not even Henry Cowell really did (he wrote fuguing tunes, trying to reclaim an earlier American form), and he died forty years ago.

American organists just aren't talking enough about the Art of Improvisation. This is symptomatic of too few American organists improvising, which is in turn symptomatic of their being a lack of an American improvisational "style" or ethos.

And so, my quest for an An Ethos of Improvisation at the Organ in the United States (AEIOU) leads me into Jazz, a realm where improvisation is regularly practiced and discussed, even if not fully understood.

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Indiana - musings on the capital city of

Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IndianaI sort of enjoy reading Houstonist, even though I haven't regularly lived in the Bayou -- that's BI-you (not BAY-you) -- City for six years.

What does this have to do with Indiana? Good question.

I would definitely read an "ist" about the capital city of Indiana. You know, because it would be interesting, and probably a good way to discover some of the riches of what appears to be an austere, unfriendly city.

This immediately raises two questions.

  1. What to call the capital city of Indiana.
  2. What to call the "ist" about said city.

Let me propose some answers.

  1. This whole Indianapolis thing is really a bad idea. Aparently an Indiana Supreme Court judge combined Indiana with polis (Greek, meaning city) to create the word.

    Coupled with the city's abundant boringness, Indianapolis is an unfortunate choice. In fact, we at Sinden.org find Indiana's capital so painfully boring that we refer to it as "naptown."

    An equally (if not more) successful term would be Hoosierville. It's more memorable, I think.

    However, why do we need to go this route at all? The state government has shown a clear preference for all things Eastern (as in Eastern United States) with the latest bout of Indiana's Daylight Saving Time confusion, so why not try on their naming conventions? It's not New Yorkapolis, it's just New York, as in New York, New York (full disclosure: this is actually only a valid mailing address if you're sending something to Manhattan).

    How about Indiana, Indiana? Or Indiana City, Indiana?

    Just a thought.

  2. Should the Crossroads of America somehow join the illustrious Gothamist network, Indianapolisist, doesn't exactly roll off the toungue. But I for one would be glad to read and/or contribute to Hoosierist. Hmm, okay, it looks weirder than it sounds. And, it looks as if Hoosierist would not be rolled out until after the launch of Dallasist and Phoenixist.

Is there culture in the heart of Hoosierdom? I suspect there is, I just wish that the internet made it more apparent.

 
09 June 2006
Purcell, Henry (1659-1695) - in a joke

Q: What does one call a particularly English musical practice practise?

A: A Purcell rehearsal.

 
06 June 2006

Victory Field, Indianapolis, Indiana

 
04 June 2006
storms - meet the 2006 named
000
ABNT20 KNHC 020207
TWOAT 
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1030 PM EDT THU JUN 01 2006

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED THROUGH SATURDAY.

TODAY MARKS THE FIRST DAY OF THE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON...WHICH 
WILL RUN UNTIL NOVEMBER 30TH.  THE LIST OF NAMES FOR 2006 IS AS
FOLLOWS:

NAME           PRONUNCIATION    NAME            PRONUNCIATION
-------------------------------------------------------------
ALBERTO        AL BAIR- TOE     LESLIE
BERYL          BER- IL          MICHAEL
CHRIS                           NADINE          NAY DEEN-
DEBBY                           OSCAR
ERNESTO        ER NES- TOE      PATTY
FLORENCE                        RAFAEL          RA FA EL-
GORDON                          SANDY
HELENE         HE LEEN-         TONY
ISAAC          EYE- ZAK         VALERIE
JOYCE                           WILLIAM
KIRK

. . .BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION. . .

ALBERTO. . .26. . .IS FROM KISSIMMEE FL.  THIS IS HIS FIRST 
HURRICANE SEASON. . .THOUGH GROWING UP ON THE PENINSULA HAVE 
GIVEN HIM A BIRD'S EYE VIEW ONTO HOW THINGS ARE DONE HERE.  
SPEAKING OF EYES. . .ALBERTO'S EYE HAS WELL-FORMED WALLS AND A 
NICE ROTATION.

BERYL. . .68. . .IS A DEMOCRAT WHO VOTED FOR JOHN KERRY IN THE 
2004 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.  "I REALLY THOUGHT HE'D WIN," SHE 
SAYS.  "SO MANY NAMED STORMS ARE SO DETACHED FROM THEIR 
GOVERNMENT.  I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO BE AWARE AND 
EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE."

CHRIS. . .23. . .IS A FREELANCE-STORM FROM CHARLESTON SC.  
THOUGH THE YOUNGEST MEMBER OF THE NAMED STORM TEAM. . .CHRIS 
WILL APPEAR EARLY THIS SEASON DUE TO HIS NAME.  "I GUESS MY 
PARENTS REALLY WANTED ME TO GET A CHANCE TO COMPETE. . .YOU 
KNOW?  THEY NAMED ME CHRIS.  THAT STARTS WITH C.  THAT MEANS 
I GET TO GO THIRD."

DEBBY. . .43. . .FROM BUFFALO NY. . .IS FOCUSED ON HER 
MISSION.  SHE HAS CHOSEN NOT TO INTERACT WITH THE OTHER STORMS 
ON A SOCIAL BASIS. . .BELIEVING THIS WILL ONLY WEAKEN HER 
STANDING IN THE METEOROLOGICAL COMMUNITY.  "IF I WANT PEOPLE 
TO REMEMBER MY NAME". . .DEBBY SAYS. . ."I REALLY NEED TO FOCUS 
ON WHAT I CAME HERE TO DO."

ERNESTO. . .52. . .FROM LUBBOCK TX. . .HAS MENTORED SOME OF 
THE YOUNGER STORMS ON THIS YEAR'S TEAM.  "LOOK OUT". . .HE SAYS
. . ."BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING TO KNOW EXACTLY WHO HIT YOU."

FLORENCE. . .25. . .FROM ATLANTA GA. . .IS NEWLY SINGLE. . .
COMING OFF A RELATIONSHIP THAT SHE ONLY DESCRIBES AS "STORMY."  
FLORENCE ENJOYS LONG WALKS ON THE BEACH. . .ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE 
IS DESTROYING THEM.

GORDON. . .31. . .IS A NO-NONSENSE STORM FROM AKRON OH.  IN THE 
OFF-SEASON. . .GORDON RAINS OVER THE BOARD OF A FORTUNE 500 
COMPANY.  

HELENE. . .49. . .IS A NAMED STORM THIS YEAR BECAUSE SHE FOUND 
THE WINNING PRIZE PIECE IN THE "BE A '06 NAMED STORM GAME" HELD 
AT PARTICIPATING BURGER KING RESTAURANTS EARLIER THIS YEAR.  

ISAAC. . .38. . .FROM WASHINGTON DC. . .IS EXCITED ABOUT THE 
START OF THE SEASON.  HE AND HIS FAMILY ARE ACTIVELY INVOLVED 
IN HIS PREPARATION.  THEY HAVE ALL MOVED TO AN UNDISCLOSED 
LOCATION IN THE PACIFIC TO AWAIT HIS DEPLOYMENT.

JOYCE. . .39. . .IS A SINGER/SONGWRITER WHO APPEARS FREQUENTLY 
IN INDEPENDENT COFFEE SHOPS.  SHE IS BEST KNOWN FOR HER SONG 
"I AM THE WIND BENEATH YOUR ROOF."

KIRK. . .47. . .FROM SALT LAKE CITY UT. . .IS WELL AWARE OF HIS 
POSITION IN THE SEASON.  OCCUPYING THE K-SPOT MEANS BEING 
COMPARED WITH KATRINA. . .BUT KIRK IS UP TO THE TASK.  "I KNOW 
HEAVENLY FATHER WILL PROVIDE ME WITH THE STRENGTH I NEED.  I'M 
HOPING FOR A SOLID 4."

LESLIE. . .34. . .FROM ALEXANDRIA VA. . .IS A 
STAY-AT-HOME-STORM.  WHEN SHE'S HEADED YOUR WAY. . .JUST STAY 
AT HOME.

MICHAEL. . .28. . .WAS A PROMISING STORM SEVERAL YEARS AGO. . .
BUT FAILED A DRUG TEST AND WAS SUSPENDED ON DOPING CHARGES.  
MICHAEL. . .WHO HAS SINCE CLEANED UP HIS ACT. . .IS REALLY 
EXCITED ABOUT BEING BACK ON ACTIVE DUTY AND PROMISES TO "HIT 
ONE OUT OF THE PARK."  HIS FAVORITE ATHLETE IS BARRY BONDS.

NADINE. . .34. . .FROM MONTGOMERY AL. . .CONSIDERED WITHDRAWING 
AFTER THE SUDDEN LOSS OF HER FATHER EARLIER THIS YEAR. . .BUT 
SHE HAS DECIDED TO CONTINUE WITH THE SEASON.  SHE BELIEVES THAT 
SHE CAN TURN HER PERSONAL TRAGEDY INTO TRAGEDY FOR THOUSANDS OF 
OTHERS.

OSCAR. . .37. . .IS A GROUCHY STORM WHO LIVES IN A SOLID WASTE 
RECEPTACLE.

PATTY. . ."THE PENTECOSTAL". . .30. . .IS A FUNDAMENTALIST 
CHRISTIAN.  SHE BECAME A STORM SEVERAL YEARS AGO AFTER READING 
THE NEW TESTAMENT.  HER FAVORITE VERSE IS "AND SUDDENLY FROM 
HEAVEN THERE CAME A SOUND LIKE THE RUSH OF A VIOLENT WIND. . .
AND IT FILLED THE ENTIRE HOUSE WERE THEY WERE SITTING." 
(ACTS 2:2)

RAFAEL. . .AGE UNKNOWN. . .IS AN ARCHANGEL OF THE LORD 
INTERNING AS A NAMED STORM THIS SEASON.

SANDY. . .32. . .IS A SCHOOL TEACHER FROM CANTON. . .OHIO.  
SHE IS CURRENTLY IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH GORDON (ABOVE).

TONY. . .44. . .IS CURRENTLY UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE NOAA 
AS HAVING A POSSIBLE CONFLICT OF INTEREST.  IT HAS RECENTLY 
BEEN DISCOVERED THAT HE ALSO WORKS PART TIME AS AN INSURANCE 
CLAIMS ADJUSTER. . .SURVEYING DAMAGE IN AREAS IMPACTED BY 
HURRICANES.

VALERIE. . .33. . .IS DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS AT A WELL-KNOWN 
IVY LEAGE SCHOOL.  SHE IS ALREADY USED TO "FLOODS" OF 
APPLICATIONS AND "RUINING PEOPLE'S LIVES."

WILLIAM. . .114. . .IS THE SENIOR STORM OF THE 2006 SEASON.  
PREVIOUSLY. . .AND UNDER DIFFERENT NAMES. . .HE HAS APPEARED 
IN SEASONS 1935. . .1955. . .1969. . .1980. . .1998. . .2000
. . .2004 AND 2005. . .ALL OF WHICH ARE NOW AVAILABLE ON 
DVD.

$$
SINDEN.ORG

 
02 June 2006
I have never been to

I have never been to an airport where people walk as slowly as they do at MDW.

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