The Epiphany Season
Digital organs are acoustic plagiarism
There's no deception with the microphone on the lectern. We're familiar with the convention of the public address system. There's no deception with electric lighting. I think most people are familiar with this reality.
However, the digital organ seems to be a deliberate attempt to deceive. There's no evaluating it on its own merits. No one asks the question: "isn't this a great digital organ?" Rather, the question posed is "you can't tell this apart from a real organ, can you?".
These thoughts come as a result of reading this AP article by Jeff Martin. I continue to be surprised by Trinity's shift from calling the digital instrument an interim solution to a "long-term commitment". A quick-fix simply does not have long-term viability.
The organ at St. John's, Church Hill
In this installment of a collaborative effort to record organ stops from around the globe (email me to contribute a recording) I submit the following.
Organ: Adam Stein, 1905 (restored 1983)
Location: St. John's, Church Hill, Richmond, Va. (organ specifications)
Stop: Melodia 8'
Hear previous episodes including an English oboe.
More photos from the organ at the church where Patrick Henry said "Give me liberty or give me death":
Funny story: after repeatedly sending Indiana University a payment of $.30 to pay an outstanding balance of -- yes -- thirty cents I have continued to receive bills for this amount.
After calling the Bursar's office today I am told they are probably not able to cash checks in that amount, which is why I am still being billed for it.
I'm not sure how much presorted first-class mail costs, but I'm going to guess they've spent way more than the amount I owe trying to collect an amount that they cannot receive.
was born in Leytonstone
An exciting new episode for the collaborative recording of organ stops from around the world: our first overseas contribution! This recording comes to us from Kathyrn Rose of Artsy Honker, where she first shared this recording.
Hear previous episodes, including the Iula from Rochester.
Labels: organ stops - recordings of
In 1913, at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester, [Herbert] Brewer was entrusted with conducting the premiere of Sibelius's tone-poem for soprano and orchestra, Luonnotar, Op. 70. The soloist was Aino Ackté.Thanks Wikipedia!
"We wait for thy loving kindness, O God: in the midst of thy temple. Alleluia. O God, according to thy name, so is thy praise unto the world's end: thy right hand is full of righteousness. Alleluia. We wait for thy loving kindness, O God: in the midst of thy temple. O God send us now prosperity. Amen."
Music: William McKie (1901-83), Organist of Westminster Abbey 1941-63
Words: Psalm 48: 8-9; 118: 25b
If one considers Anglican theologian Richard Hooker a kind of archetypal choral conductor, the following begins to emerge.
The choral text is paramount and to be highly respected. It is to be studied and meditated upon. It is only by repeated study over time that one becomes conversant with the text itself and can approach the true intent of the creator.
We ask the questions: how has this work been performed and received through time? What customs are associated with performances of this work? Especially relevant are those traditions that seem to be at odds with the scripture itself. In those instances: why? Is the scripture too "difficult" or is our faith in the creator's intent too weak?
Having gratefully received the gift of the choral text and a received heritage of performance we explore issues of timeliness. Our reason, by definition, is firmly grounded in our own reality no matter how we strive to inform that reality with the past, or to bend that reality toward a perceived future. What adaptations or alterations do we find necessary after a pilgrimage toward the creator's intent and donning the mantle of our chronological imperative?
Here's another version of the chant by Hylton Stewart that I mentioned in my previous post.
This version comes from The Anglican Chant Psalter from Church Publishing. In this Psalter it does accompany Psalm 39, which is heard in this week's webcast from St. John's, Cambridge.
You'll notice a marked difference in the partwriting between this version and the one posted previously from The New St. Paul's Cathedral Psalter (now available as The Anglican Psalter): in the penultimate bar the bass and tenor parts are inverted.
It's a subtle difference, but I think I prefer the lower, darker part writing for this chant -- especially for its pairing with Psalm 39.
These verses in particular seem to fit the aching, evolving emotion inherent in this chant.
LORD, let me know mine end, and the number of my days; * that I may be certified how long I have to live. Behold, thou hast made my days as it were a span long, and mine age is even as nothing in respect of thee; * and verily every man living is altogether vanity. For man walketh in a vain shadow, and disquieteth himself in vain; * he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what is my hope? * truly my hope is even in thee.
There's something wonderfully simple and effective about the initial motion in each quarter of the chant's construction.
In the first quarter: rising by a half step, falling by a fourth.
In the second quarter: rising by a fourth, and rising by a whole step.
In the third quarter begins in the relative major with the reciting note on the B♭, the fifth of the E♭ Major chord.
In the third quarter: rising by a minor third, falling by a half step.
In the fourth quarter: rising by a minor third, falling by a whole step.
The rise of only a minor third in the relative major yeilds D♭, a "blue" note. It's a ♭VII in the relative major, but how do you analyze a D♭ major chord in G minor? You really can't get any farther away. Wacky.
Looking at the intervals, and the direction of the pitch contour, there are some interesting patterns here that I think our minds perceive on some level.
The truly heartbreaking moment, for me, is in the last quarter, when the rise of a minor third reaches only the terminating note of the third quarter (and in that delicious 4-3 suspension, no less).
On this date in 1883, Walter Russell Bowie was baptized at St. Paul's, Richmond. Bowie was, as Wikipedia puts it, "a priest, author, editor, educator, hymn writer, and lecturer in the Episcopal Church".
PublicHealthIdaho.com Indicates that May 11, 1883 was a Friday. Other sources confirm this, but the Idaho public health site was higher in the Google search rankings.
Bowie is the author of such well-known and widely sung hymns as "O holy city seen of John" (Hymns 582 & 583 in the Hymnal 1982) and Lord Christ, when first thou cam'st to earth" (Hymn 598).
Southwest District Health in Idaho currently lists no events scheduled for May 11, 1883. The calendar reads: "Nothing is currently scheduled for this day."
Here's the latter hymn as it appeared in the Hymnal 1940:
Idaho Statehood: It makes sense that this organization would have nothing scheduled for 128 years ago given that Idaho did not receive statehood until 1890 (the 43rd state).
I think this might be the prettiest Anglican chant I have heard in a long while.
Hear it yourself at this week's webcast from St. John's, Cambridge.
Today, on the 178th anniversary of his birth, I want to take a moment to remember what many people know about Johannes Brahms.
Several years ago I was involved in a performance of the Brahms Requiem, which was picked up by a local organization and widely publicized as "Johannes Brahms Reunion."
What does that even mean?
I can only imagine the thought process in that kind of situation. Oh, that looks like the name of some classical composer, so let me make sure I spell that right, and then an R word, got it. Okay, send this to thousands of people . . .
I'm not really interested in actually getting together with Brahms at this point. But neither, it seems, is of the general public aware of or interested in anything that I do.
It's a strange world.
At least Brahms might be gaining a little more name recognition . . .
Yes, it's by that George Dyson.
Clicking on the above image of the title page of the book will take you to Google Books where you can read the whole thing.
This particular copy was checked out of the University of California, Berkeley library twice, it seems: once in 1940 and again in 1987.
Now that we've blogged about it here, it will be checked out by
dozens thousands more!
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Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.
the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.
interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.