malleable jupe



emptiness of church experience yesterday

By the end of the evening yesterday I was quite disenchanted with all things church. The playlet composed by a vestry member came off fine. But I found myself feeling uncomfortable and out of place for the part of the evening when I wasn’t at the piano accompanying the skit.


I embrace this emptiness. It helps me realize that I don’t need to take stuff so seriously. i can sit at a table with other people from my church and listen, not speak so much.  I still get to come home, have a martini, and watch Louie CK stand-up on Netflix. That definitely helps.



Okay, maybe I should modify some of this since I did get nice comments on my playing for the musical last night, both in person and on Facebooger. My boss’s partner, Beth, even drew me in my costume (see above).


Also, I keep receiving nice comments on the music at church and my bulletin article. Yesterday two people commented on the bulletin article and one woman came up to our table last night and said how good the choir sounded that morning.

malleable or curious jupe?

I am well aware of the fact that I seem to flit from one interest to another. There are some days and today is probably one of them when many things seem interesting to me. Once my attention is caught I am almost unable not to act. Thus if I hear some Schumann on the radio, I find myself spending hours with his wonderful piano pieces.

I have been playing Schumann’s Opus 4 much much more slowly than this wonderful recording for accuracy’s sake. But I can still hear the beauty in a slow version. Curiously, Schumann writes a quote from Goethe’s Faust over a particularly poignant passage in the second intermezzo: “Meine Ruhe ist hin (My peace is gone).” Not sure what to make of that. He was only 22 years old when this was published. He had a couple decades ahead of him before he went mad.

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I am easily influenced. This sometimes feels like a sort of vapidity or superficial nature. The blog serves a function in that it allows me a small place to discuss my current passions or curiosities without worrying too much about being boring.

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I share the concern for the reader that David Foster Wallace and Charles Garner insist on. I think it is Garner who says you must not assume anything in the reader. You have to be clear,  thorough, and succinct. Thus how you use words is essential.

new  new york public library podcast

This is a brilliant podcast. You have to get past the person who introduces Atwood and Shaw. Then the fun begins. Shaw can rattle off Shakespeare at an amazing speed. Atwood’s mind is so sharp and her experience is so broad that it must not be missed.

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This podcast is being taped the week of the third Presidential debate. Atwood slyly points to Bob Dylan’s Pulitizer as a gift to poor America at a hard time. She also manages to work a reference to “pussies” in her comments.

But the best part is watching her mind at word. Amazing stuff.

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Also she reads from her new book a section of hip-hop-like adaptation of Shakespeare. Not to be missed.

Atwood’s graphic novel

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Atwood is working on a series of graphic novels with Johnnie Christmas (as she says in the podcast, his real name). Who knew?

quote from today’s Writers almanac

Readers of my blog probably know that I listen to Writer’s Almanac almost daily. It’s hard not share stuff from it. Today is Denise Levertov’s birthday. I think she is speaking of writing when she says:

“Strength of feeling, reverence for mystery, and clarity of intellect must be kept in balance with one another. Neither the passive nor the active must dominate, they must work in conjunction, as in a marriage.” 

Finished Seven Good Years

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I wasn’t too impressed with this book. Maybe it’s because it’s a translation from the Hebrew.

Sunday afternoon blog

Trying not to take work too seriously

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I have noticed that my daily life is a bit more relaxed if I manage not to take church too seriously. I didn’t get a chance to blog before church this morning. So I thought it might be a good opportunity to see if I could still write a paragraph or two here about not taking work too seriously on a Sunday afternoon.

It is on Sunday afternoon that I am liable to give in to what I have been thinking of as my mild pathology, that is being a tad too quick to blame myself for stuff or feeling like I have failed when in fact I haven’t.

 Lord, we beseech thee

This morning the high point of church for me was the choral anthem. “Lord, We Beseech Thee” by Adrian Battan. The anthem occurred where we usually do it, right after announcements, during the collection. This morning, they plugged the musical we will be doing to night at the Ocktober fest, “Stewardship, the Musical.” They had several of the characters speak in costume. As you can imagine it was kind of a funny moment  with lots of good-natured giggling and laughing..

I was pleased that we pulled the group back into a more meditative mood with a solid performance of this beautiful anthem.

Jupe the old man on Sunday afternoon


So, now I have done a service and a post service rehearsal (of the musical for tonight). I walked  home exhausted. I wonder how I will muster doing Sunday afternoon concerts after we get our organ. Maybe I will need to either rethink offering recitals at this time or make a point to baby myself after church until it’s time to go play.

Designing concerts

I have strong ideas about putting together programs at my church. I want to get away from the stodgy idea that one has to perform all movements of a composition or that different styles of music do not sit well in the same program.

This morning we went right from the lovely anthem into my Jazz mass setting of the Holy Holy. I have been taking more liberties with this music since we have been singing it for a while. I felt the movement from Renaissance to hokey pop worked.

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When I played coffee house I often went from “classical” to “folk-rock” to other stuff. It always seemed logical to me. I especially like the idea (which i stole from an organ dude whose recital blew me away) of thinking carefully about the melodies in different (otherwise unrelated) pieces and matching them. This takes some cleverness. But the idea of using hymn materials (as so much instrumental church music does), opens up some possibilities.

Matching music themes

Just thinking randomly, the tune, Westminster Abbey, to which we usually sing “Christ has made the sure foundation,”

moves like the main theme of  Beethoven’s  3rd symphony, the Eroica.