jupe’s monday musings


I nailed my prelude and postlude yesterday. The prelude was a lovely modest trio based on the opening hymn, “For All the Saints,” written by Hugo Gehrke. It’s an obscure little piece but I love it. The postlude was also based on the opening hymn and was a bombastic short treatment by Charles Ore in his inimitable style.

I wasn’t sure if we would have enough robes to go around.  It was late in the rehearsal before I understood who exactly was going to be present. I was preparing the rather elaborate treatment of the opening hymn with the choir, but time was running out if I was going to give them time to put on their robes. Rattled, I ran through the two choral verses and the descant and dismissed them. As it turned out we had lots of time. My boss wasn’t ready to start until well after the hour.

Al Fedak’s recital went well. I found it a bit retro. He played the organ version of Louie Couperin’s Chaconne. This is actually a harpsichord piece and I love it very  much. However, the previous century found brass groups and organists appropriating it. Fedak played well and connect with the audience. I felt like I was in a time machine, but I often do. Living in western Michigan can be a lot like living in the past or at least in the sticks.

Two memories from the recital are stuck in my head this morning. The first one is watching the widower of our previous organist weep at this recital which was a memorial for his dead wife. This was moving. Moving in another way was watching a local millionaire being escorted into the recital late, barely pushing a walker and wearing sweat pants. I wish he had been in better shape. I would love to have teased him about the organ he insisted be installed at the local college since he was paying for it. He was escorted by a retired Hope professor who is a Grace parishioner and had initially resisted installing a tracker at Grace.

Talking with Birky last week about how colleagues and others sometimes have difficult pigeon holing me professionally, he asked if I thought power games had anything to do with it. I think where two or three humans gather, there are power things happening. But it was a new thought or at least an unfamiliar one to interpret my life as a professional outsider from that point of view.

I’m more likely to understand myself as someone who has refused to conform to the necessary norms which confronted me in music. By doing so, I have made my situation the way it is and even  though I bitch about not being recognized, in fact, I am very happy, even passionate about how I see music and my life.

This evening my trio is playing for the local AGO meeting. We are going to do all four movements of a Handel Organ Concerto. I decided that this was best for us for two reasons. First, the parts were available online at IMSLP. Secondly, because unlike some of the Stanley organ concertos whose parts were also available, the violin and the cello have much more important parts (solos, actually) and it gives me a chance to show them off better.

The trio has three more scheduled appearances in the next couple of months, twice at my church and once at my Mom’s old nursing home. At church we will repeat some, if not all, of the Handel for one Sunday and do a couple of very cool movements of a Bach violin sonata at the other. I gave my violinist and cellist copies of the Real Book volume I a couple of Christmas ago. We will add stuff from that for the nursing home gig.

I’m meeting this afternoon for a last minute rehearsal with the trio before this evening. The piece is a bit under rehearsed on my part, but it should be fun to do. I will work on it today. I don’t usually find myself practicing intensely the day of a performance, but that’s the deal today.

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