broken organs and morbid curiosity

The lengthy and involved setting of “Land of Rest” by Sowerby I played for yesterday’s prelude went well. I pretty  much nailed it.

I had one little bad moment near the end where I neatly executed a difficult measure and screwed up the easy measure that followed.

This happens. It is as though one’s concentration is cemented well on the difficult section and then lapses in relief in another.

About a third of the way into the postlude, a key stuck in the pedalboard. Notes that suddenly begin sustaining themselves in a performance do happen. The trick is to determine (which continuing to play) in which set of pipes the culprit is to be found and then shut off that set.

Yesterday, the sticking note happened right after I thought something had fallen on the pedalboard.

I happened to glance down and notice that one note was continuing to stay depressed.

I shut off all the pipes connected to the pedal board. I finished the second section of the postlude playing the written manual part. My wits were sufficiently recovered by the last last section that I played the pedal part with my left hand and faked the rest of the piece with the right.

These things happen.

I came home and phoned the organ guy.

He  promised to come Thursday or Friday of this week and repair the note.

I have six hymnals and 2 hymnal companions scattered on the dining room table. I have been looking up hymn sources as I read about them in Watson’s The English Hymn.

I feel kind of sheepish about obsessing about hymnody.

But having two generations of three hymnals enables me to observe trends in the use of historical hymnody.

Paternal Line DNA

The hymnals are American Episcopalian Hymnals 1940 and 1982, The English Hymnal 1906 and the New English Hymnal 1986, Hymns Ancient and Modern 1861 and its 1981 revision.

I am doing nothing more clever than looking up hymn writers and metrical psalm collections in the author index of each book.

Then turning to the hymn. I have the hymnal companions for the American Episcopalian Hymnals and they are a wealth of information (especially the multi-volume 1982 Companion).

So I read about a writer in Mason, then look him up and find out whether his hymns are in the old hymnals and whether they are retained or discarded in a newer. Occasionally an older hymn will only be used by the newer hymnal. This interests me because it shows that the newer hymnals were not only giving access to more modern work but actually opening up some unused historical pieces.

I feel like I’m exhibiting a somewhat obsessive morbid curiosity.  But curiosity it is.


Mitt’s Olympic Meddle –

The jupiterjenkins prize for the best quote in yesterday’s NYT goes to Maureen Dowd!

“[W]hy not stick with the president we already have?
Better the android you know than the android you don’t know.


In Texas, Arguing That Heat Can Be a Death Sentence for Prisoners –

I am constantly amazed that a country with so much verbose public religiosity turns its back on the disenfranchised.


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