Advent 2021

29 March 2009
Walton, William (1902-1983) - 107th birthday of

William Walton was born on this day in 1902.

As today is the Fifth Sunday of Lent, wouldn't it be great to hear Walton's A Litany ("Drop, drop slow tears . . .") today?

One of my favorite CDs happens to be of music by Walton.

Upon hearing his Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis (sometimes known as his Chichester Service) on the radio in Houston as a young lad, I immediately called the radio station to find out what the work was.

Shortly afterward, I acquired this disc and grew to love even more of his sacred oeuvre. You can hear snippets of A Litany (in three versions, no less!) and other works on the Hyperion website.

I'm also fond of Façade, but can't really figure out how to work it into the liturgy.


27 March 2009

Twitter + liturgy = twitturgy.

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26 March 2009
Ireland, John - Ex ore innocentium

Like Kenneth Leighton's Solus ad victimam, John Ireland's Ex ore innocentium is one of those anthems that is sung in English, but has a Latin title.

I am delighted to share with you a performance of this work that I recorded earlier this season.

Ex ore innocentium
John Ireland (1879-1962)


25 March 2009
Christmas - 2009, get ready for

I hear that Mary's pregnant again.

It's the delightful incarnationalism of Anglican spirtuality that insists that we recognize that Mary was pregnant for exactly nine months.

Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


23 March 2009
wrap - that's a

Thanks for joining us! We won't be twittering (much) now; we're having dinner. We'll be back with a write up of the concert on later.

twittering - a rehearsal of the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge

If you're just joining us, we're twittering a rehearsal of St. John's College, Cambridge at Christ Church, New Haven, Connecticut. They'll be rehearsing until 6:00 p.m.

Edit: This space held the most recent tweets as we posted them. Here is the stream in its entirety:

# Settling in for the concert. The Choir of St John's, Cambridge singing at Christ Church, New Haven.
7:55 PM Mar 23rd

# Now the encore. I'll keep this one a secret from you.
6:00 PM Mar 23rd

# RVW Let All the World. Some boys sing without scores. Handel Zadok the Priest. Beautiful and bouncy.
5:55 PM Mar 23rd

# Howells Gloucester Magnificat. Bad sightlines coming into play.
5:40 PM Mar 23rd

# Amazing, orchestral Howells singing.
5:25 PM Mar 23rd

# Byrd Mass for four voices.
5:12 PM Mar 23rd

# A Humfrey Verse Anthem. Great solos.
5:07 PM Mar 23rd

# MacMillan: A New Song. Stunning.
4:55 PM Mar 23rd

# Boys warmed up in the choir room. Now back in church.
4:48 PM Mar 23rd

# The choir is here.
4:28 PM Mar 23rd

# The whole floor of Christ Church, New Haven shakes from time to time. This seems odd.
4:24 PM Mar 23rd

# Chatted briefly with Mr. Nethsingha. Bad organ sightlines. Choir yet to arrive.
4:17 PM Mar 23rd

# The organist has moved on to Howells Gloucester Service.
4:00 PM Mar 23rd

# At Christ Church, New Haven. Reeks deliciously: incense and Vierne.
3:56 PM Mar 23rd

this is just the latest tweet from / sinden

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Haven - New

Christ Church, New Haven, Conn.

Today is a travel day.

We're headed to New Haven, Connecticut to take in an afternoon rehearsal of the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, England. They'll also be performing a concert in New Haven at 8:00 p.m. tonight.

Join us at 4:00 p.m. for some intensive Twittering of that rehearsal. You can follow the Twitter stream here by periodically refreshing, or you can follow us at twitter / sinden.

We are excited about hearing St. John's in person because they are one of the greatest choirs in the world. But we've also been excited to follow them online this academic year. The choir's website offers new service to listen to every week. These weekly webcasts (presented in a very useful interface, by the way) are accompanied by reflections by members of the choir on the music and the experience of singing it.

The whole thing is brilliant and a model how to make the heritage of Anglican choral music freely available.

More choirs should do this.

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22 March 2009
Mahlau, Alfred - designer in Lübeck

Alfred Mahlau designed the stained glass window in the Marienkirche in Lübeck, Germany. The window is an homage to the Totentanz mural in the church which was destroyed.

A few centuries earlier, this church was home to Dietrich Buxtehude.

Cooper Union Typograpy has a great collection of Lübeck images by Alfred Mahlau. A few are even organ related. The window is there too.

A great take on the gorgeous Hanseatic city.

Finland Alert: There's even a Finland one. 30,000 lakes. Take that Minnesota.

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20 March 2009
interesting - this should be most

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16 March 2009
violinist - concert, piano tuner trained by

In other news, I'm a gourmet chef, I was trained by a tractor salesman.


14 March 2009
laughter - evil

The lights went out pre-Organ Pump, and evil laughter ensued from the crowd. I <3 Oberlin.

tweet from horrorwine

Glad to see that the Organ Pump is still going strong at Oberlin and that the experience is still memorable.

Organ Pump? What's an Organ Pump?

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13 March 2009
Dyson, George - Evening Service in F

Yesterday at St. Thomas Church in New York was sung the Evening Service in F by George Dyson. (As always, you can listen to this service online for the next two weeks or so).

This service is refined and reserved, a perfect foil to the boisterous "Star-Warsy" Evening Service in D (YouTube). Both canticles are marked by a preponderance of writing for solo voice: treble in the Magnificat and bass in the Nunc Dimittis.

The chorus winds its way into some ambiguous harmonies at the end of the Magnificat with the bass moving from the supertonic to subdominant. The ensuing plagal-flavored resolution melts into the Gloria, the new treble solo entering heart-rendingly on high F.

It is a tender, understated service that is very effectively accompanied entirely at 8' pitch.

The hackneyed prose of Wikipedia's George Dyson article claims that Dyson is indebted to Sibelius. At least I think that's what this article is trying to say.

His compositions include a symphony in G major (1937), a violin concerto, and a number of other works, many of them for choir. Ernest John Moeran's symphony of the same decade (and completed the same year) has some similarities of style and ambition with Dyson's. Both are among the longest works of each at about 45 minutes, and both show some influence, harmonically and in instrumental use, from Jean Sibelius.

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12 March 2009
Litany - Great, scrolling

For those of you who read on a news reader, please note that the physical site now sports a scrolling Great Litany at the top of the page.

Just part of our Lenten observance.


10 March 2009
Bernstein, Charles - counting

American poet Charles Bernstein counts from one to a hundred [mp3].

If you ask me, this is a spoken interpretation of Herbert Howells Master Tallis's Testament.

The reading is powerful lesson to organists. Even with limited means (pipes, air) we can be exceedingly expressive.

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09 March 2009 - 5 year anniversary of began five years ago today.

We've recently moved this portion, and there will surely be other changes in the next five years.

Feel free to offer us your congratulations and let us know your thoughts!


06 March 2009
madness - umlaut

Today, Arvo Pärt's record label, ECM Records, points us to this Björk interview of Pärt in 1997.

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03 March 2009
Pärt, Arvo - Mein weg . . ., string version

Today sees the release of Arvo Pärt's latest CD, In Principio.

Among the pieces on this disc is Mein weg hat Gipfel und Wellentäler, composed for organ in 1989. On this recent recording, however, it is performed in an arrangement for strings.

It will be interesting to see given this piece's prominent re-release if it shows up on organ programs with any increased frequency.

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01 March 2009
Shelby 427 - First Sunday of Lent

What's not to love about the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- the marriage of man and machine, the sheer human drama, the connections to the Revised Common Lectionary:

Before we get started this week, let me point out a bit of text I found on the NASCAR Power Rankings:

So the last shall be first, and the first will be last." -- Matthew 20:16
"Yeah, first is better than last, that's for sure." -- Matt Kenseth, 2009

So there it is. And now, the lectionary vs. the Associated Press article covering the race.

Kyle Busch notched the biggest victory of his young career by driving from the back of the field Sunday to win the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his hometown track.
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
my God, I put my trust in you; *
let me not be humiliated,
nor let my enemies triumph over me. 
. . . an engine change meant he had to drop to the back of the field at the start of the race, and Busch had to power his way through the field.
And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.
Matt Kenseth, trying to become the first driver in Nascar history to win the first three races of the season . . .
let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.
had engine failure six laps into the race and finished last.
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

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The author of this website is an organist whom the New York Times calls “repeatedly, insisting that he pay for his subscription”. He likes to read parking meters, music, Indianapolis Monthly, and weather forecasts in Celsius, particularly whilst wearing cassock and surplice. He serves lasagna, overhand, as an example to many, and on ecclesiastical juries. He mixes salads, drinks, and metaphors. He takes photos, lots of dinner mints, and a little bit of time to get to know.




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