Easter 2024

30 April 2009
electronic organ - bland-sounding

The blasting organ chords were rather disappointing; they left this listener wishing Music Hall still had a real pipe organ, rather than a bland-sounding electronic instrument.

And then there's this non-organ-related tidbit:

However, the final moments of the work were certainly no disappointment. As timpanist Patrick Schlecker was blasting out his closing passage, one of his drumheads broke with a loud crack. He continued playing, improvising a slightly different ending to avoid using the damaged instrument.

Wener, Kyle. "Midori Shines with CSO." Cincinnati Enquirer 26 April 2009

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28 April 2009
Oxley, Harrison - (1933-2009)

Harrison Oxley, former organist and choirmaster of St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk has died at age 76.

His introduction of girls into the choir of St Edmundsbury encouraged the formation of the girls’ choir at Salisbury and later at other important cathedrals. The mixed choir had come about as a result of needing extra singers for the instalment of a new bishop, which was going to be televised. Despite opposition, Oxley was allowed to involve eight girls to sing alongside the boys provided they were placed on the side of the choir where the television camera could not see them. Oxley later reported: “I have never been forgiven by some of my colleagues on the Cathedral Organists’ Association. But I do not see why we should bar half of humanity from the benefits and opportunities of cathedral choir membership. In the end most cathedrals will be obliged to follow our lead and will see it as the just and right way forward.” These were prophetic words.

Harrison Oxley: organist and choirmaster from The Times (London)

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25 April 2009
Empire State Building - controversial Easter lighting of

Interesting that the Empire State Building was lit for "Easter" beginning on Maundy Thursday, April 9.

We need to get more Episcopalians on that committee.

24 April 2009
twitturgy - new horizons in

Twitter has all kinds of implications for Anglican liturgies. At least those that permit mobile phones.

The Instructed Eucharist

Put a laptop on the deacon's prie-dieu and they can educate catechumens about the liturgy. It's not like they're really doing much else.

At the gospel procession, for instance:

We seek God in both word and sacrament. This 
gospel procession honors Christ himself, present 
in these words. "Glory to you, Lord Christ!"

Yes, I suppose the deacon would have to send that before heading out to read the gospel.

The Interactive Sermon

@AnglicanPreacher are you almost finished?
@RestlessLayperson are you almost asleep?

The Emphasized Rubric

Congregation not in compliance? Send a friendly reminder to the flock.

¶The people *will* kneel, gosh darn it!

The Guided Procession

Hang a left on Main Street. Watch out for the
donkey's most recent "offering."

From the Organ Bench

The organist can offer even more input and friendly advice about the liturgy.

Happy Easter everyone! The congregational 
singing of 196 was really sub-par. Let's do 
better on 199.

He or she can also solicit assistance.

I need a page turner for the Postlude (Dance 
No. 4 by Philip Glass). Anyone game?


Announcements can be set to tweet automatically right after church. Obviously you don't want to distract people during the liturgy.

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14 April 2009
LIAR - Low Information-Action Ratio

Lutheran theologian Marva Dawn's "Low Information-Action Ratio" is being picked up by scientists. The ramifications are exactly what she predicted:

New findings show that the streams of information provided by social networking sites are too fast for the brain's "moral compass" to process and could harm young people's emotional development.

"Scientists warn of rapid -fire media dangers" CNN 14 April 2009.

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07 April 2009
Howells, Herbert - Preces and Responses

Howells is perhaps the quintessential Anglican Church music composer, having composed some twenty-odd settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis.

Interestingly, he wrote only one set of Preces and Responses. And I've never heard them sung.

Howells Preces and Responses were written in 1967, the same year he wrote Evening Services for Winchester, Chichester and St. Augustine, Birmingham.

They are included on the evensong webcast from St. John's College, Cambridge this week.

From the St. John's Choir, Decani Bass III writes:

Although we vary the canticles and anthem every day, there are, I suppose, about 6 or 7 settings of the Preces and Responses that get used in rotation. It is therefore always pretty refreshing to sing a new setting, and I had long wanted to sing this setting by Herbert Howells. We sing so much of his music and it had always seemed an omission that we had not tackled them before. Howells integrates the cantoring with the choral parts and they seem more organic and cohesive than many of the more conventional sets.

Check it out, especially that concluding Amen.

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church - baseball and the

In honor of the start of baseball season, we thought we would refer you to the following baseball + church stories:

Previously: church - baseball's similarity to the

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06 April 2009
Berkeley, Lennox (1903-1989) - Sanctus from Missa Brevis

There is an art to picking a Mass setting for Palm Sunday.

The day is different, dramatic, and the music should reflect this drama with a certain liturgical je ne sais quoi.

After the festive procession, the service takes a dark turn with the reading/singing of the Passion Gospel and never quite recovers. For the end of the the service everything is raw and exposed. The temple veil is rent in twain and everything is laid bare.

So, when it comes time for the Sanctus -- the first sung part of the Mass ordinary on this day -- a special kind of "holy-ness" is required.

In my mind, a Mass setting that captures what I'm after is the Missa Brevis, Opus 57 of Lennox Berkeley (pronounced BARK-ley).

There's a kind of hopeful austerity in this writing. An encounter with the Holy that is more informed by journey than by destination.

The Hosanna section deliberately propels itself forward toward a wrenching, fateful climax, one explored further in the Benedictus. This climax is not shouting, but sighing, loudly. One might term this a meta-suspiratio.

It's interesting to note that St. Mary the Virgin in New York also sang Berkeley yesterday: his five-part Mass. St. Thomas in New York found a very similar aesthetic in a Mass by Jackson Hill.

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04 April 2009
Quartet - Parker

We've spent some time this week hanging out with and listening to the Parker String Quartet, a great ensemble.

Here they are playing Ligeti. Barefoot.


03 April 2009
brisbaaayneee - ?

Can you figure this tweet out?

I've always wanted to go to Australia.

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