survival by the "whatever shrug"



My prelude and postlude yesterday were both drawn from issues of the Wayne Leupold’s “The Organist’s Companion.”  I purchased several back issues of these monthly anthologies from Craig Cramer recently (he sends out emails regularly of used music he is offering for sale).

The prelude was “Communion” by Peter A. Togni. I chose it because Sunday was the last of the course reading of John 6 in the lectionary. This is a lengthy discussion of “I am the bread of life” stuff. Togni’s little piece was dedicated to his mother and father and is sort of easy lyrical slightly dissonant movie music. At least that’s how I heard it.

I think this is Togni.

For the postlude, I chose a Toccata by Flor Peeters.

Flor Peeters 1903 - 1986

I used to do Peeters music more when I was working for the Roman Catholics.  He comes from that tradition.

The piece I played yesterday was a flashy little piece mostly for manuals.

I deliberately chose it so I could rehearse it on vacation on my electric piano. I ended up throwing in some extra fancy pedal work to balance out the manuals in couple of places.

After the postlude, there was a bit of response from the people standing in the church. A bravo and some scattered applause.

It was slightly embarrassing because this piece is pretty much all flash: sextuplets in the right hand, sort of a poor person’s Widor Toccata.

Later a colleague who is usually pretty critical of me complimented me.

This summer I made up my mind to be friendly to all those professionals who attend my church.

I’m thin-skinned and I know it.

Easily bruised. Makes me crazy.

So yesterday I connected with a “good morning” and a smile to people I think disrespect my work or don’t even know it exists. This totally worked. Everyone smiled back. That’s when I got the surprising compliment as well.

As I contemplated my work this summer I found myself calming down around issues of respect from colleagues. I kept thinking to myself, “Whatever!”, when I found myself rehearsing slights and snide comments. This “Whatever” was not the valley girl “Whatever.”

More like a “whatever shrug” feeling then move on.

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This morning as I did my morning reading on the history of Hymnody I was pretty amused.

Watson has a section introducing Victorian Hymnody he calls “Hymnological Darwinism.”

In this section he talks about the hymn explosion of the 19th century and how it’s proliferation and eventually weaning resembled Darwin’s ideas in Origin of Species with generous quotes from Darwin.

He then mentions the hymn, “The church’s one foundation,” written by Samuel Stone. He says it exemplifies the environment of controversy that beset the Anglican church during this time.

Stone wrote his text in response to the ideas of Bishop Colenso. Unfortunately Colenso sounds like a 21st century Episcopalian. According the Hymnal 1982 Companion, he questioned the historical accuracy of the Bible and a whole range of “traditional views of scripture.”

Bishop John Colenso (1814-1883)

Colenso gets kicked out of the church. “The Canadian Anglicans called for a pan-Anglican conference to be set up so that the Church as a whole could resolve this and other controversies.” This ends up being the first Lambeth conference of 1867.

At the main services, Stone’s “The Church’s One Foundation” was the processional that set the reactionary tone against Colenso and his ilk.

The Hymnal 1982 Companion comments that this included Darwinism and Liberalism. Watson’s use of Darwin to talk about this period is deliciously ironic.

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