My piano trio had its first in person rehearsal yesterday. I went early and measured six feet from the organ on either side. This seemed to work out okay. We are rusty so it wasn’t as fun as usual. But it was good to connect with these two players.
During this period, people who come in the church are to sign in and out, use hand sanitizer on arriving and leaving, and wipe down surfaces.
Today I went over and worked on composition for a while. I’m still trying to put together a three movement piece for trumpet and organ. I have been studying African American Spirituals. My assignment today was to write a little piano sketch on By an’ By. I did that. It was satisfying. Next I want to write sketches on the other tunes I have in mind. Here are the three tunes.
By n’ By Lord I want to be a Christian My Lord what a morning
BLM, get it?
Anyway, I hope I don’t jinx my pieces by discussing it here. Time to go read.
Today was my first day back on the campus of Grace Episcopal Church. I walked over and picked out organ music for the next two Sundays. During this phase we are allowing people to come into the church as long as they sign in and out, sanitize their hands on arriving and leaving, and wipe down surfaces. If the are with other people they must social distance with face masks. I have emailed Jordan and Rhonda that they are now welcome to come and use the building.
I decided to ease back into organ music. I chose some 18th century pieces based on tunes my congregation might recognize rather than the tune of the one hymn we are using in the service. For example, next week I’m playing two pieces by Kauffmann, one based on “Now Thank We All Our God” and the other based on “All Glory Laud and Honor.” I’m planning on writing a little music note about Kauffmann and those two hymn tunes.
I tried to think of something that might give people a bit of pleasure and remind them of what it’s like to hear organ music at church. The time constraint is big on my mind. Less is more on the screen in my opinion.
Having said that here are two a bit longer videos I watched recently.
These were my martini music the last couple of nights. I think the alto in the first has an amazing sound. These are charming recordings in my opinion. I’m planning on listening to more of these recordings for pleasure. I’m not studying the pieces just enjoying these amazing performances.
I finished Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth. It’s not great writing particularly but it is fun and keeps my attention. I decided to up my game and bit and go back to Le Guin.
She is a superb writer.
My copy of Southall’s book, Blind Tom, The Black Pianist-Composer: Continually Enslaved came in the mail. This is volume three of Southall’s research on this composer. I am very interested in learning more about him. Thomas Wiggins (Blind Tom) lived from 1849 to 1908. He was a classical composer and pianist. I had never heard of him before reading about him in The Black History of The White House by Clarence Lusane.
Lusane says that Southall spent 23 years writing three volumes on Wiggins. I’m almost done with Lusane’s book. I don’t have the other books on Wiggins.
My copy of Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars by Henry Louis Gates Jr. also came in the mail. I wonder what Gates and Martha Nussbaum would think of Racist Music Theory (see yesterday’s blog, Hi Jordan!). I recently picked up Nussbaum’s Cultivating Humanity and discovered I had left at chapter on African American Studies. Nussbaum’s book is from 1997 and Gates’s book is from 1992. Both seem salient.