Musical encounters


Yesterday I had three very nice encounters around music. The first was with the assistant pastor at my church, Dennis Remenschneider. He is a Lutheran minister with whom I actually worked at one point in a Lutheran church. He loves the Lutheran tradition very much and in the course of our conversation asked me if I would play for him some of my prelude for this Sunday which is by Distler who was writing in the Lutheran tradition in Germany in the 30s. I was flattered that anyone took that much interest in what I am playing at church and immediately complied.

I asked him to listen to two registrations I had in mind for the piece. It is the first movement of Hugo Distler’s Organ Sonata (Trio) opus 18/2.

I also had a nice chat with Dawn Van Ark, the cellist from my piano trio. Our violinist failed to show as sometimes happens. We are a tolerant trio and just tend to carry on if someone is a no show. Sometimes we play through our trio material absent the missing part. Sometimes we do other stuff. Yesterday Dawn and I did a bit of both.

I asked her to listen to my organ registrations as well. Here are two videos of the two registrations.  If you like, dear reader, you could sample them and email me ( or leave a comment about your preference.  (It looks like Take one has a permanent freeze in it 3:51-5:13, but you can still get the idea about the sounds I have chosen) I think I will not prejudice you with the responses from Dennis and Dawn. Any opinions would be helpful to me as I decide which of these registrations to use this Sunday. FWIW I did notice that the first take is a bit slower than the second. But speeds up. Yikes.

Distler does a very clever little thing in this trio. There are three sounds in a classic organ trio. In this case my left hand begins on the lower keyboard and my right hand is on the upper keyboard. At a certain point, Distler asks the player to switch which hand is playing which manual (this happens at  2:32 in “Take one” and 2:25 in “Take two”). The listener then hears some material that originally sounded in the other voice with the sound on the upper keyboard. This entire section is then repeated so that by following Distler’s instructions to switch hands a second time, the hands (and the melodies) return to their original set-up. 4:48 in Take two

Later in the afternoon, my friend, Jordan VanHemert dropped by for conversation and music. Jordan is an accomplished musician who is currently studying improvisation in U of M’s grad school. He plays saxophones, but yesterday brought his flute.  After catching up a bit we played through the E minor Bach flute sonata. It was fun.

Then later Eileen and I had date night. I think my life is pretty good.

Just for fun, here’s a video of me practicing my postlude for Sunday as well:



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