another glimpse from the bench


Survived church.

I played well and managed to get the choir through it’s anthem okay.

I did the Samuel Barber setting of “What Wondrous Love of This” well. I’m not sure many people noticed. The adult acolytes like to stand right in front of the organ and talk loudly. This is what they did yesterday. I persisted in immersing myself as much as possible in Barber’s lovely music. Hard to feel a connection to listeners (which is part of the music dance) in this setting.  I simply see it as leading with content when people are used to having their perceptions thrilled in order to get their attention.

Once again I had a group of singers which was essentially a new group due to erratic attendance.

I spent most of the pregame teaching the anthem. Whippy skippy.

For the postlude I played a piece by William Boyce from the English baroque tradition. The English pipe organ from this period didn’t have pedals. So the music doesn’t call for pedals. It does however call for a deeper sound (16 foot pipes that sound 8 notes lowere than written). This pipes could be accessed from the manuals in any decently designed organ. Not so with my little Moller.

In an effort to make the music sound properly I played these notes in the pedal with my feet. This went well for about 80% of the piece. There is a temptation when things are not going as well as planned to switch to playing from feet to hands.

My hands could play this line with much more ease. This sort of panic approach in performance is one I try to avoid. Yesterday, when things were feeling a bit shaky in my head instead of switching I simply doubled the feet with adding the left hand. That felt like less of a panic compromise.

After the postlude there was a group of people who applauded. As Eileen said on the walk home, they were trying to be sure I felt appreciated. Awful good of them.

I did get numerous general compliments on the music. Never quite sure what people mean unless they are specific. The anthem was a lovely setting by Carson Coomans. My men jumped the gun in their second entrance. I have mentioned before that a conductor’s nightmare is the early entrance because it’s harder to get on track than a late one.

I find that performance in music is related to preparation. If people are not at rehearsals or disconnected in the rehearsal the performances shows evidence of that whether it’s obvious or not.

Ahem. Yesterday it was obvious.

But the choral piece was still quite lovely and not quite ruined by one little blip.

Eileen and I came home and watched Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show from Thursday as we had lunch.

He had Steven Brill on. Brill has an article coming out in the next issue of Time magazine.

It’s about the exorbitant cost of medical care in the U.S. It is a work of journalism with facts and figures double checked. Disheartening to read over and over the extortionist mark up that American hospitals have built in to their billing system. One can only hope that this quality journalistic investigation (held up in a public platform by Stewart) will help change business as usual in the USA.

Here’s a link to a PDF of the upcoming article. I’m on page 16 myself.

1. What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2014?

If the laws hadn’t been changed by selfish rich people. Works that would be available for translation, adaptation and use in movies and other art for free include Curious George, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Endgame by Samuel Beckett and others.

2. StackLife

Harvard Library Innovation Lab developing tools to increase usefulness of online access.

3. Library as Platform

Another scrutiny of how library connections could work better online.

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