Emerging briefly from invisibility
It was kind of odd yesterday to have an audience paying attention to my words and my music. During the course of my work at church, I am often under the impression that the choir doesn’t always listen to the words I say and that the music we make is often not on the radar of many listeners. So yesterday at the nursing home, it was an unusual experience for me to have a group of people not only listening but obviously appreciative. Sunday I asked the choir to keep talking to a minimum after they came to the choir area in the church. Despite several of them ignoring this request, it was markedly quieter. That also felt like a brief lapse in invisibility of my work. Weird.
Neither Town nor Gown
It occurred to me recently that in that classic divide between locals and the college I don’t really have a niche here in Holland. Many of the “townies” are enmeshed in church politics of the Reformed denominations. At least the ones I know about are. I continue to find Hope College distasteful in its bigotries and not just of the few students who now feel free to hate a bit more publicly.
Dark times in the USA
It seems that the USA continues to move to the right. Yesterday Trump called Brietbart a “conservative” news outlet. Maybe it is inevitable that we as a country continue to move toward these extremes. Negativity works in political campaigning. Outrage easily gets the megaphone. Single issue voters and thinkers move us away from wisdom. I still think it’s possible to attempt to inform oneself but can’t help but speculate that few people take the time to do it. These extremes on the right also seem to have an effect on people I agree with. most of whom are mildly liberal in my view. The strong hatred of Trump is as distasteful to me as any kind of hatred. It feels that the people I agree with have lapsed into a Manichean outlook, a version of the famous “you’re either with us or against us.” So. When I see the “not my president” signs, I think, oops, unfortunately Trump is our president. And I clearly see the USA as “our” country. It is a dark time, that’s for sure. But I find it incoherent to hate in the name of democracy. But of course, what do I know?
The Miracle of the Interwebs persists in Jupe’s life
I know. I know. I’m a fucking broken record regarding the wonders of instant access to stuff that interests me. But I love it. I decided to read Werner Breig’s essay in The Cambridge Companion to Bach, “Composition as Arrangement and Adaptation.” I was disappointed when he indicated he would only be considering instrumental originals, since I am very interested in transcriptions of cantata movements (like the famous Wachet Auf which I am performing this Sunday). But I persisted in reading the essay. After he outlined the movements from Reinckin’s Hortus Musicus that Bach converted from small ensemble to keyboard, it occurred to me to search for Bach’s transcriptions by BWV number. And of course, they came up online. I played through the seven movements of BWV 965 and the one fugue of BWV 954. These pieces are basic keyboard pieces. I had never seen or heard of them before. Cool! So far I have limited myself to reading Breig’s essay about the original works. But I just checked and sure enough the original works that Bach transcribed are also sitting on line. Here’s Reinckin’s version of a fugal section (starting at the Allegro). Here’s what Bach came up with. I think it’s interesting to see that Bach drops the original bass line. Breig talks about how Bach and contemporaries were evolving a new and different kind of keyboard idiom. One can certainly see this in these transcriptions. I love the interwebs