Easter 2024

22 June 2007
Austin, Ernest (1874-1947) - The Pilgrim's Progress

Everyone knows about Ralph Vaughan Williams and his opera The Pilgrim's Progress, but have you heard of English composer Ernest Austin?

His best-known work is probably The Pilgrim's Progress, a 12-section narrative tone poem setting for solo organ of the work by John Bunyan; it takes about 2 3/4 hours to perform. There is a text which explains what is happening at each stage of the music which can be read by a narrator, and in the 12th movement, there are optional parts for choir (SSATTB), bells, and solo violin.[2] It was revived in November 1988 at St. Michael's, Cornhill, London, by organist Kevin Bowyer, who continues to perform it on occasion.

Almost 3 hours of organ music? Slough of despond ineed.

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20 June 2007
spam - Gmail taketh/giveth

I have a Gmail email address, and I'm really happy with it. Gmail has, from what I can tell, far and away the best web-based spam filtering.

Heck, I'll even go so far as to say that Gmail provides the best spam filtering, period. The one I use at my place of employment is far from perfect and has its share of false positives. This can be very annoying as one doesn't want to look in one's spam folder for important information.

But back to Gmail. It does a great job catching spam. It's very rare that anything gets through (especially lately). And it's not like the amount of spam sent to me is trivial. At the moment it's around 1500 pieces in the last 30 days. (I've seen this number climb over 2500 in a 30 day period.) And I've never Gmail pick up any false positive. Not even big "opt-in" corporate emails. Everything seems to go where it's supposed to.

So it must of been a pretty serious case of boredom that led me to look at my Gmail spam earlier this week. But the spam wasn't what caught my eye.

Gmail does offer discreet text advertisements based on the content of your email. And what, you ask, does it offer when presented with a folder full of spam?

More spam.

Savory Spam Crecents


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organist - shortage of part-time

Presumably, Sally Casto does not mean to say that part-time organists are working full time as organists, but, rather, as something else.

"Part-time organists are now working full-time jobs," [Sally] Casto said. She said it's hard to find new organists because the ones working today "haven't done a good job with recruiting."

Hawes, Jane. "Music pipeline". The Columbus Dispatch. 15 June 2007.

Well, if Sally says that I'm not recruiting, I better get on that. Anyone want to take lessons? Email me.

Part of the problem today is that the job of church organist "rarely pays a living wage," said Robert Griffith, an organ music professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. Many supplement their income by also serving as church music directors.

Yes, because "church music directors" really make a living wage.

This coming from an "organ music professor". Is that really what it says on his door? Prof. of Organ Music?

This "music director" vs. "organist" is a strange distinction in the ecclesiastical soundscape, and its one that the profession doesn't really understand, so why should the author of this article?

The distinction deserves a little more examination. Certainly the position of "church music director", as completely separate from the organist, requires little to no technical skill or musical expertise. It's the nerdy, brooding, internet-savvy, awkward, poorly dressed, shy "church organist" that the average congregation has a harder time getting to know and value. The organist is the one who must be trained -- extensively -- but doesn't get paid or get the prestige of being "music director", whatever that is.

This is a false distinction. I don't know how these "music directors" weaseled their way into our little profession, but I think it's high time they learn how to play the organ or leave.

Bach wasn't known as a music director, but as an organist. And he was very full-time, thank you very much.

The organ is the traditional instrument of the church, and it should act as church music's gateway drug. If you can play the organ, you're qualified to get in. And I mean reasonably well. I'm not talking about virtuosity here. If you can't play the organ, you probably work at a megachurch, not that there's anything wrong with that.

At least, that's where I want you to work. Preferably part-time.

Photo admiration: I love the lead photo in this article taken by Chris Russell (above). I'm seeing it with an organists eye, though. It's a little too tightly framed to really be sure that it's an organ. If you know that we're talking about organists, however, it works beautifully.


18 June 2007
baristas - church leaders as

In consumer Christianity, however, church leaders function as religious baristas, supplying spiritual goods for people to choose from based on their preferences. Our concern becomes not whether people are growing, but whether they are satisfied. An unhappy member, like an unhappy customer, will find satisfaction elsewhere.
from a great article (that I may have quoted here before?) iChurch: All We Like Sheep (via Out of the Cocoon)


13 June 2007
St Columba - Feast of, 2007

It was on the Feast of St. Columba (June 9), 2007 that we at noticed a remarkable numerological coincidence involving the hymns set to the tune named after him.

In the 1940 Hymnal, "The King of love" is 345.

In the 1982 Hymnal, it's 645.

Both hymn numbers end in 45. Columba died in 597.

597 - (45*2) = 507

Hymn numbers 345 and 645 are separated by three hundred.

507 - 300 = 207

The two hymnals bear dates 42 years apart:

207 - (42 * 2) = 123.

123 represents the first three scale degrees of the tune ST. COLUMBA.

1    2    3    4    5 
The_____  King of   Love

Additionally, "King of Love" rests on scale degrees "345" the same hymn number as found in the 1940.

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12 June 2007
Sinden - stationary company, winner

SindenHome is the winner of "Best New Product" in the Desk Accessories category of the 61st annual National Stationary Show.

They have won for their HomeboxTM filing system.


08 June 2007
Netflix - usability improvement

Netflix tells me that I can now drag and drop movies in my queue.

It's about time.

Unrelated update: tells me that yes, Paris is back in jail.


05 June 2007
concert - three-flavored church

Program of a Hypothetical Arbitrary Concert Theme (PHACT) Neopolitan ice cream "church" music

An English Mass
Herbert Howells (1892-1983)

The French Suites
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

A German Requiem
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

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