blog.sinden.org

Advent 2017

20 July 2011
Puritansim - New

I think I will be writing an article called "New Puritanism: the destructive simplification of the liturgy to the point of absurdity" or something like that.

A quotation that will appear reads:

"We [Christians] risk becoming so uninteresting in the eyes of ourselves and this world that we come to think of ourselves, and to be regarded by this world, as just one more outfit in the standard repertoire of hardly interesting abnormalities; merely another luncheon club for those with ecclesiastical tastes. None shiver when we enter a room. Indeed, few notice.

To point out that one cause contributing to this trend is a reduction of the liturgy similar to reciting the libretto of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro with guitar accompaniment does not usually succeed. To suggest that one way to begin reversing the trend is not to simplify Christian worship further but to enrich and expand it is not often heard with patience. But if liturgy both anchors and frames in normality a life of Christian orthodoxia, then restoring liturgy to its appropriate scale is more a requirement than a counsel. The liturgy must be rich and varied because the assembly of faith itself is rich and varied in its nature and operation, that is, catholic in the fullest and most basic sense.

Kavanagh, Aidan. Liturgical Theology.

Labels:

 
18 July 2011
clock - educated

I almost couldn't finish reading this because I kept saying "awesome" out loud:

Educated Clock Sings, Talks, and Plays the Pipe Organ

A CRIPPLED inventor of Akron, Ohio, has recently completed what he believes is the world’s most wonderful clock. The remarkable instrument gives the comparative time in 27 different cities. In addition, it sings, talks and plays a reedless pipe organ every hour.

Every day the clock commemorates the death of America’s martyrs. At the hour of Lincoln’s funeral it recites the Gettysburg address. The time of President McKinley’s burial is marked by a playing of the old hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light.” At the hour of President Garfield’s interment, the remarkable timepiece plays “Gates Ajar.”

Valued at $50,000, the educated clock was built by 70-year-old Marvin Shearer after ten years of painstaking work. The clock contains 5000 pieces of wood, a mass of electrical control wires several miles in length, and is twice the height of an ordinary man.

There's a picture

(via BoingBoing)

Labels:

 
15 July 2011
T - Ice, cathedral ministry of

Kent Tritle's appointment to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York is reported as only broadwayworld.com can report it.

Chartered as "a house of prayer for all people," the Cathedral seeks to give voIce To the wide diversity of the world-wide Anglican Communion and its various musical traditions, and to musicians and composers of other faiths and traditions.

Kent Tritle Named Director of Music/Organist at Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Labels: ,

 
06 July 2011

I want to apologize to those visitors using Internet Explorer who are viewing this blog without a style sheet. I've just noticed this issue recently.

I can't really make heads or tails of this problem, but I'll put my tech possums on it and see what they make of it.

Wait, why are you using Internet Explorer anyway? Like exploring the internet, do you? Blimey.

Labels:

 
tradition - dry

I read with great interest the recent "Anglicans should throw out dry tradition" by Theo Hobson in The Guardian earlier this week.

There were some parts I really liked, and parts that spoke to my experience of all that liturgy and church can be.

I especially liked this bit:

The climax of an Anglican service is communion, or eucharist, but normally it doesn't feel like much of a climax; one stays in one's pew as the vicar gets busy at the altar, and then one lines up to receive the bread and wine. Here it is different: we all come forward and stand in a circle round the altar. The liturgy is mostly said by the priest, but we join in with a few setpiece prayers together, one or two of which are sung with gusto, and it's at this point I get a strange sensation: we are not dutifully going through the motions, but performing a ritual that feels alive. It is a bit like participating in a play in a theatre-in-the-round. There is a sense of dramatic excitement. We pass the bread and wine round in a circle, announcing "The body of Christ, the bread of heaven", and "The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation". There is a palpable sense, that I have never really had in English churches, that this ritual is powerful. At the risk of sounding a bit pretentious, there's a sort of primal force to it, not unrelated to a primitive rain-dance. We are doing something strange, other, mysterious: group sign-making of the most basic kind.

But I think that this beautiful image of the gathered community physically centered on the Eucharist must be sensitive to place and culture and, yes, tradition -- the very tradition he calls dry and wants to throw out.

Hobson suggests taking out pews to help focus the liturgy on the Altar. Great! You can take out all the pews you want in a space like St. John the Divine in New York and you still won't achieve the focus and intimacy of St. Mark's in the Bowery (that Hobson attends) just a 40 minute subway ride away. But, of course, in a lot of churches this will work. It's a little shocking and will take some work to help people give up "their pew". And like anything, this way of doing church isn't perfect. Handled incorrectly this can ostracize the elderly or others who have trouble standing.

If we're talking about "dry" traditions, pews probably qualify as one. They're a lot more permanent a form of seating than churches have historically had. So I'm with him on that, but he loses me with this bit of description of St. Mark's:

There is no organ – both it and the pews were casualties of a fire some years ago – a godly fire in my view. I consider organ music too loud, too powerful – it alienates, cows. Instead, the liturgy is accompanied by a piano.

That statement "I consider organ music too loud" is a sweeping generalization that fails to realize that the organ is capable of the softest of whispers (yes, softer than a piano) to majestic roars (yes, louder than a piano freight train).

If we're serious about wanting to inject joy, color and variety into our worship, why wouldn't we want to use the organ to its fullest potential, both loud and soft? Why wouldn't we also want to use piano and all kinds of instruments to fully depict the content of what we're singing about?

If I may be permitted a sweeping generalization of my own: the organ is a much better instrument with which to accompany congregational singing. Its sounds are congruous with the sustained human voice unlike the sharp, unrelenting, colorless hammering of a piano trying to lead a room full of people. (Again, how successful is piano accompaniment for hymn singing at St. John the Divine?)

Let's also note that organ accompaniment that is continually too soft (or provided by an instrument incapable of speaking clearly due to poor placement or other difficulties) is also deadly. It produces singing that is flat, flaccid and uninviting.

I have never before realized how many people don't fully appreciate why it is exactly that organs are so prevalent in churches. In the right hands they are the quintessential instruments for accompanying congregational song and providing liturgical improvisation.

Perhaps God is calling me to be an organ evangelist in these types of conversations.

In my view the organ is not a "dry" tradition. Unlike pews, they have evolved dramatically over centuries and across continents, and some of us are really working hard at figuring out how to play them.

I think it's sad that St. Mark's in the Bowery's organ was lost in a fire and I for one wonder about why it wasn't replaced if it was appropriately insured. Though it sounds like they have made things work very well, an organ could certainly serve that congregation just as well as any other.

And while we're on the subject of tradition: the United States just celebrated the anniversary of its Independence, and a key feature of this tradition is fireworks. What if I said of this tradition "too loud, too powerful – it alienates, cows."

I'd probably be laughed at, regarded suspiciously and eventually arrested by (US) Homeland Security officers.

I for one am not willing to abandon hundreds of years of wet tradition that involves the organ and the likes of Bach, Brahms and Britten. This music is appropriate and, I think, needed in our worship. We are taken out of the present by the gifts us with the past (including our Book of Common Prayer) as we move forward in faith into the future.

Fireworks are loud. Deal with it.

The organ is loud too (sometimes). Deal with it.

O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven: Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Labels: , , ,

 

©MMXVII Sinden.org: a site for fun and prophet

Organ and church music, esoteric liturgics, and a site that changes color with the liturgical year.

Archetypes

Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?

Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption

Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida

The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.

Infrequently Asked Questions

picture of a chicken

Questions? Problems? email the sexton.

Archon

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 takes photos, lots of dinner mints, and a little bit of time to get to know.

about

contact

Archbishops

Anglicans Online
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
Brain Pickings
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Sed Angli
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston

Archenemies

Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Aphaeresis
Anne Timberlake
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musical Perceptions
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
Steven Rickards
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Wayward Sisters
Zachary Wadsworth | composer

Archenemies Aviary

@DanAhlgren
@dcrean
@ericthebell
@jwombat
@larrydeveney
@nmedley
@samanthaklein
@sopranist
@voxinferior

Arches

Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the Green (New Haven CT)

Auraling

BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong
New College (Oxford, England)
St John's College (Cambridge, England)
St Thomas (New York NY)

Argyle

Like the site? Buy the shirt.

Areyou . . .

selling diphthongs?
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.

Archives
this site used to be better:

March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
December 2012
January 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017
November 2017
December 2017