After Choir Rehearsal last night, there was a crowd of people around the piano all wanting to talk to me about one thing and another. This is the hardest part of my job: dealing with people. It’s probably the part I enjoy the least. Having been around churches all my life, I like to think I’m not too bad at it. But it doesn’t come easy.
Eileen said that my son-in-law came home from his office work in China recently and proclaimed, “I hate people!” I know he doesn’t and neither do I but I do know what he meant. People can make one crazy.
I do like making music with people whom I’m sure like music. So many professional musicians I have known seem so bound up in their own stuff that’s it’s sometimes hard to tell if they enjoy music. With the people I work with at church, I often can tell they find making music satisfying. As do I.
I have been playing a bit of Chopin lately. Kenneth Hamilton mentions him and other famous pianists in his book After the Golden Age.. Yesterday when the ballet teacher asked me to play music for students to sit and think and write in the journal, I chose some Chopin Mazurkas which I dearly love.
I wonder how my improvisations are perceived by young college dancers. When i listen to new popular music these days I am often bored by the music. It seems that music is not really the most important part of what is happening. The focus is the performer and his/her life and how cool or interesting they look and are. You know, celebrity.
I can find these things interesting and sometimes do. But they aren’t really the “music” part and that’s what really interests me.
All that is to say that the materials I use in my improvisations are probably more related to simple pop/rock music which is what I suspect most people listen to these days, especially the college set.
No one remarked on the Chopin in ballet class other than the usual post rehearsal etiquette compliments.
One student this week was so complimentary he said something like “you must have a doctorate in cool improvs.” I said, “No, dude. I’m just a bar musician.”
This is not that far from being accurate. Although I am proud of my work.
I bit the bullet this week and decided to learn some organ repertoire. A week from Sunday our opening hymn is “O God our help in ages past.” The tune usually associated with this hymn, St. Anne, is recalled by a fugue melody by Bach.
So I’m learning the “St. Anne” Fugue by Bach in two weeks. That should keep me busy.
Interestingly, Bach probably wasn’t thinking of the hymn tune when he wrote his fugue. It’s just a happy coincidence. Being an old church musician, I always knew I would learn the St. Anne fugue. Now’s the time.