I skipped going back to church and practicing last night. I’m still attempting to “recreate” my way back to some sort of equilibrium.
Instead I went to the grocery store and came home and read.
The group at Eucharist was a bit tentative.
I persisted in my usual seduction mode, not playing too soft or too loud. The prelude was lovely if I do say so myself. The setting of “I heard the voice of Jesus say” used the melody twice. The second time it was soloed in the tenor voice. I used the simple 8 foot principal sound and it was luscious. As usual it was unclear to me if people are listening when I am playing solo organ. They talked loudly during the postlude, but then also there was applause when I finished it.
I continue to ponder my own delight in simply playing music in the vicinity of other people.
On the walk home, I was thinking about Bach and his attitude towards his music. I read recently that it’s a mistake to read back onto Bach a more modern sense of religiosity and piety. At the time, the Lutheran faith was the water in which Bach swam. It colored everything he did and did this in a subtle matter of fact way.
So when Bach writes “To God Alone be the Glory” (Soli Deo Gloria) on his manuscripts, the modern sense of celebrity and idealizing and practically worshiping a musician is miles away. I know a colleague who quit playing postludes because he didn’t think people were listening to them. And of course musicians and listeners are always complaining that people aren’t quiet during music.
For my part, I find doing the music so satisfying that when I am successful in drawing inside it and not being distracted that rudeness or obliviousness in people around me falls into the same category of being invisible. People don’t ignore each other consciously.
During Jen’s sermon yesterday, I could hear two men talking loudly in the coffee area. Later they returned to the room. They were leaders in our community. It could be that there was a pressing reason for them to be out of the room and talking loudly. However, I am skeptical. And if the leaders of the community are so rude to Jen, how in the world can I expect them to enter into the beauty of music.
Of course I continue to leave that door open. And many do seem to connect to the music at church. I felt a growing sense in this particular group yesterday of taking responsibility for their part.
By the time we got to the Fraction Chant, I took a chance and left it unaccompanied. The response was quiet but it was there.
Once again: for me music is something one does, it’s a verb. Maybe it’s like cooking for me. I love to cook. I love the doing of it. Serving others what I have made is satisfying, of course, but that’s not what I love. I love the making.
I’ll leave you with another video. I have been playing this sonata lately. Slower than this dude. I especially like the slow theme at 11:06.