blog.sinden.org

Ordinary Time 2017

28 August 2014
choir - what is it for?

When men and women, and children, encounter the divine, when we meet face to face with God, when we find ourselves as it were banging up against holiness, we cannot keep from speaking, from singing, from proclaiming. Our lives are overwhelmed with the need to pray and praise, to lament and cry out, to protest and to question and to adore. And the word we use to describe all of that, is worship. Worship is why you are here. Worship is what cathedral choirs are for. Worship is what Christians do, and we need help and inspiration and the words to say when no words will come, and the harmonies that will lift us up or console us, or help us to deal with all the anger and frustration, all the adoration and wonder and all the bits in between – everything that bubbles up from the heart in that great outpouring of whatever it is that outpours when we recognise that God is here and we are here, and that we need to do something about it.

The Rev. Canon Tom Clammer, Precentor, Salisbury Cathedral. Sermon: "What is a choir for?". 20 July 2014.

Labels: , ,

 
26 August 2014
art - the question of power and

I've been confronted this week with my deep poverty of imagination and understanding on the concept of "power" as it relates to art. Part of my deep frustration with the powerlessness of which I wrote a few days ago is that I don't rightly know what the concept means as related to art, music, church music, the church itself, etc.

“You can kill people with sound.”

And so it seems to us at the blog at Sinden.org that the time is right hold a colloquium on the questions of power and art, and explore how these concepts relate to music within the liturgy of the church.

The ever helpful Maria Popova gets us started on the value of arts

This is the power of art: The power to transcend our own self-interest, our solipsistic zoom-lens on life, and relate to the world and each other with more integrity, more curiosity, more wholeheartedness.

Wholeheartedness leads to thoughts of Brené Brown, and (artistic) vulnerability of which I expect we will have plenty to say later. Note that the title of her TED talk uses the P word: The Power of Vulnerability

Which leads us to think maybe the power of art as found in its vulnerability could really be thought of as "weakness". I'd love to unpack the paradox here, and I may later reach for a title by theologian Marva Dawn, Joy in our Weakness.

There are moments on this blog when "power", as it is connected to art, music, and the church, has already surfaced.

Here are a few:

“If we consider what sort of music we should want to hear on entering a church we should surely, in describing our ideal, say first of all that it must be something different from what is heard elsewhere; that it should be a sacred music devoted to its purpose, a music whose peace should still passion; whose dignity should strengthen our faith; whose unquestioned beauty should find a home in our hearts to cheer us in life and death. What a powerful good such music would have”.

Robert Bridges

“You can kill people with sound.”

Arvo Pärt

It makes you appreciate the tremendous power of particularity. If your identity is formed by hard boundaries, if you come from a specific place, if you embody a distinct musical tradition, if your concerns are expressed through a specific paracosm, you are going to have more depth and definition than you are if you grew up in the far-flung networks of pluralism and eclecticism, surfing from one spot to the next, sampling one style then the next, your identity formed by soft boundaries, or none at all.

David Brooks, we of course interpreted his remarks are referring to Anglican church music, others related it to Anglican liturgy

And these words of music critic Alex Ross, which find their way on to this blog for the first time:

“Art does not stand apart from reality; if it did, it would have no life in it, no light, no darkness, no power.”

"As If Music Could Do No Harm." The New Yorker, Cultural Comment Blog, 20 August 2014

“Art does not stand apart from reality; if it did, it would have … no power.”

As I look back over the ten year history of this blog (has it really been that long?) it seems that strands of this colloquium have been emerging for some time. I'm happy to try to collect these different strands into a more directed conversation. I am eager to see what emerges.

To bring this brief tour full circle for now, art, which Alex Ross so powerfully notes "does not stand apart from reality", has a peculiar kind of power. I believe this power is best explained by Thomas Merton summarizes when he says

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

art - threatening

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
22 August 2014
Richmond, Virginia - "powerlessness" of musicians therein

I read with real disappointment "The Power List" in the Style Weekly periodical of Richmond, Va. In the Arts & Culture portion of the list not a single musician was listed, nor was any musical organization in this city named. Listed were philanthropists, Ballet board members, theaters, visual artists, non-profits -- one of whom wants to build a new baseball stadium, etc.

Does music really exercise no influence in the cultural life of this city? I suppose one shouldn't put too much stock into a list like this, but then none of the other Arts & Culture articles in this issue were about music or musicians either.

Whether or not we currently do, musicians should occupy a vital place in the cultural life of this city.

What's our role? What's our position? How can we fix this?

Labels: ,

 
20 August 2014
Weezer - 20 years of listening to

It was on my birthday, August 20, in 1994 that I first came to hear the "Blue Album" by Weezer, which I received as a gift that day.

I'm a strong believer in listening to new music, even that from another genre, so I have enjoyed what is now a twenty-year affinity for this quartet.

I have, in the intervening twenty years, purchased for myself further recordings of this modern, electric, american chamber music and enjoyed

Things have been quiet for a while, but I look forward to the release of Everything Will Be Alright in the End, which has an indescribably awesome internet-aware cover, on October 7, 2014.

I'm not sure if there are other "bands" that make "albums" like these, but I do find this stuff fascinating and worthy of study.

Labels:

 
14 August 2014
Sculthorpe, Peter - remembrance of

Those familiar with the list of Christmas carols commissioned annually by King's College Cambridge for their famous Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols will recognize the name of Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe. Sculthorpe's carol "The Birthday of Thy King" was sung at that service in 1988. 

This is a great tribute by Andrew Ford (via Alex Ross)

Peter Sculthorpe, a composer in Australia | Inside Story
http://inside.org.au/peter-sculthorpe-a-composer-in-australia/

In orchestral works such as the Sun Music series (1965–69), Mangrove (1979), Earth Cry (1986), Kakadu (1988) and Memento mori (1993), Sculthorpe addressed a wide audience, communicating with them in a direct manner similar to the way in which Aaron Copland had addressed American audiences. However, there was a difference. At the height of Roosevelt's New Deal, Copland had deliberately set out to find an American style, assembling it from hoedowns and hymns. Sculthorpe, at least initially, was far less deliberate in his methods.

Labels:

 
13 August 2014
Glasper, Robert - on forging a way ahead

I first heard Robert Glasper when we were both students at Houston's High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) about ten years ago.

Since then, he's gone on to make a name for himself and was the subject of this article in the Washington Post in 2012: "Pianist finds the right notes between hip-hop and jazz".

This article is the source of the quotation that appeared in my post from yesterday ("Glasper, Robert - music in the present"). Here it is in full:

“I think everybody stopped trying to outdo each other and everybody started paying homage,” he says. “I love all my jazz masters and my elders that came before me, but I always say that people have killed the living to praise the dead. It’s like, ‘Yo, I’m here.’”

Reading it in full gave me more food for thought, especially about music in the church.

It's very easy to "pay homage" to all the great music of the past. And in fact I think many music lists of many churches fail to move past the expected and the very familiar.

While the "Yo, I'm here" sentiment has limited value in the liturgy, there is something to be said for forging a way ahead that pays homage to the past but also moves the conversation forward.

Music can't remain static. The repertoire should not remain the same. If the Holy Spirit is still in operation today then fresh voices must be given airtime.

Finding a balance between the established canon and new voices should be a struggle in jazz just as it should be in church music. The two should be held in creative tension.

We in the church can learn a lot from jazz, a form of music whose very being thrives on fast-paced real-time creativity, conversation, and improvisation.

The modern "symphonic" approach to church music, first found in the music of Charles Villiers Stanford and then redefined by Herbert Howells, continues to provide a foundation for much of the sacred music being written now.

So, the ultimate tension is that "paying homage" is itself a way forward.

Labels: , , , , ,

 
12 August 2014
Glasper, Robert - music in the present

It's been a really rough couple weeks for jazz. 

First, poorly conceived satire piece in The New Yorker aimed at an elder statesman. 

It's supposed to be funny, but it's not. At best, it's a poor, confusing joke. At worst, it's racist.

And now someone dismissing the whole genre – not satire – in The Washington Post. 

Thank goodness for this response. 

All what jazz? Or: How to declare something dead without listening to it

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/08/11/all-what-jazz-or-how-to-declare-something-dead-without-listening-to-it/

There's an entire of generation of rising young jazz players wrestling with that perception — and with the idea that jazz music belongs to the past, not the present. Two years ago, the inventive young pianist Robert Glasper told me, "I love all my jazz masters and my elders that came before me, but I always say that people have killed the living to praise the dead."

The refusal to investigate Glapser's world — i.e. the present — is what makes this argument so bothersome. The article dismisses an art that the author is not currently engaged with, tamping his broadside with the disclaimer of simply speaking one's mind. These are "some of my problems," [Justin] Moyer writes. (And Moyer has a fascinating mind — I've known him through the D.C. punk scene since I was a teenager.)

But personal and provocative declarations are what make the Internet hum, and in music journalism, (and everywhere else), the clicks have become more important than the quality of the conversation. So the conversation stays urgent and stupid, preventing a substantive dialogue from ever getting started. A little more brain gets chewed up and spit out.

(via Instapaper)

How many of us musicians have to deal with the "urgent and stupid" conversation about an art form that our critics don't bother to engage with? How many of us really have the courage to? Or the time?

Music must belong in the present. Music of every genre happens in the present. 

We can have better conversations. We must.

Reports of the death of music of all types has been greatly exaggerated.

Labels: , , ,

 
06 August 2014
Calendar - Episcopal Musician's

Many All Episcopalians use The Lectionary Page, which is an online liturgical calendar, and many Episcopal church musicians own a copy of The Episcopal Musician's Handbook.

But until now there has not been any resource that lists the birthdays of composers and hymn writers of interest to Episcopal Church Musicians.

Behold: the Episcopal Musicians Calendar. Along with principal feasts and feasts of Our Lord, and other major feasts of course.

Submissions welcome.

Bookmark this calendar here: sinden.org/calendar

Labels: , ,

 
05 August 2014
text message - 1,500-year-old
The following article so brilliantly summarizes what we at Sinden.org love about hymn texts that we wish to provide it with a more permanent location on the web. A link widely circulated via social media last week is, unfortunately, already out of date.

This article, written by Dale Adelmann, Canon for Music at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta is still available in PDF format on the Cathedral's website in the August 3, 2014 edition of the Cathedral Times.

Have you ever thought about the fact that, after the Bible itself, our hymnal is the richest collection of Christian texts we have at our disposal?

We have no greater anthology of Christian poetry for use in worship. Whether you sing or not, I encourage you to open the hymnal—as you await the beginning of the service, and during worship—to read the texts we are singing. Our hymnal is an astonishing treasure-trove of Divine revelation in verse—from the simplest truths to the most profound mysteries—through the musings, admonitions, prayers, and praises of nearly every generation of Christians who have gone before us, as well as our own.

Music aside, if you check out the fine print underneath every hymn, you may be surprised to notice that, for instance, the text we are currently singing at the breaking of the eucharistic bread is attributed to Thomas Aquinas. And that some of the Christmas carols you love most have been sung by Christians for 200, or 500, or 1700 years. The Hymnal 1982 contains words penned by some of history’s greatest poets, even one hymn by a living Pulitzer Prize winner. Did you know that the texts to several of your favorite Easter hymns have been sung by Christians (albeit in Latin, and obviously to other music) for 1500 years? We live in the only age in history that has ready access to the profound poetry and hymnody of every previous generation. We also live in a time when newly composed hymnody, both texts and tunes, has flourished as it has in only a very few other generations before us. Those two facts provide immense potential for our spiritual enrichment, and they also pose significant challenges for the Church.

“none of us will live so long that the Holy Spirit will run out of unexpected words and music to inspire us”

It is a fundamental tenet of my own life pilgrimage that, like life itself, a vibrant faith should always be dynamic rather than static. This core belief also governs my approach to music, to text, and to music-making. I have been working full-time with the “new” Episcopal hymnal for several decades, yet rarely a week goes by that I do not discover something profound that seems “new” to me. If there is wisdom to be gleaned from that realization, I suspect it is that none of us will live so long that the Holy Spirit will run out of unexpected words and music to inspire us, or the ability and will to open our eyes and ears to something more of “the beauty of holiness.” The question might be, will we be open to receive it?

Of course I hope you will read and sing the hymns, whether you think you have much of a voice or not. Why? Well, the answer to that would fill books, but one of the many reasons we sing is because singing texts helps us to remember them. I enjoy a great preacher as much as anyone, but as the old quip goes, when was the last time you left church humming the sermon? Throughout Judeo-Christian history, singing holy texts has been one of the ways that people who seek God have learned and internalized their faith. God's self can be revealed in more ways than we can begin to name or imagine, and one of those ways (interestingly, in nearly every religion known to humankind) has always been through singing sacred words.

I invite you to discover the hymnal. Where else are you likely to receive a 1500-year-old text message?

Dale Adelmann
Canon for Music

As an afterward to this, it may interest readers to know that Church Publishing offers a book that contains only the words (not the music) of The Hymnal 1982. It is called Poems of Grace.

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