the art of church music

I have been embracing the notion that what I do as a church musician is practice my art.

Encompassed in this art is the leading of congregational song. John Ferguson, the very fine organist and conductor that I admire and aspire to emulate, urged American Guild of Organists types to always remember that despite their fancy degrees and abilities on the organ, their first job as a church musician is to lead the song in church.

This reflects the late 20th century understandings of many liturgical churches. Participation of the assembly or congregation was very important to these reforms.

But in addition to this, I’m realizing how much satisfaction I am getting out of my preludes and postludes. I’m also enjoying revisiting the scholarly considerations of hymnody.

I have maintained a scholarly interest in musicology, music history and theory for most of my adult life. This is one reason I am so tickled to have good online access to academic journals and resources.

This week alone I have connected with two interesting online articles. One I mentioned in yesterday’s post  (Leon Botstein’s “Recording and Reality: The Musical Subject” Musical Quarterly Spring 2012). I put up a discussion starter regarding this article on LinkedIn’s Classical Musician group. So far no has responded.

But I also am reading David Yearsley’s article, “Death Everyday: The Anna Magdalena Bach Book of 1725 and the Art of Dying”  in Eighteenth Century Music/vol 2/Issue 02/ September 2005, pp 231 – 249. Again this is only available via my college’s online subscription, this time to Cambridge journals.

I found Yearsley when someone posted one of his books on Facebook organists. I interlibrary-loaned a couple of them.

Then I went on Yearsley’s Cornell Faculty page and found a citation to this article. Looked it up and downloaded the pdf to read.

On the Cornell journal page there was a button to send articles to your Kindle. I fussed about with this last night and this morning. I think it only works with real Kindles and not Kindle for PC (which is what I use).

Speaking of the art of church music, I once again have chosen organ music for this weekend which is requiring copious preparation.

Prelude: Andante from Third Sonata for Organ by Francis Jackson (b.1917)

Postlude: Fanfare by Tony Hewitt-Jones (1926-1989)

This are a couple of Anglican dudes. I have long admired Jackson’s work.

Couldn’t find a YouTube of his piece to share. It is however on Spotify. Not sure if that link will work. Tried to embed it, but it kept disappearing. It’s a recording by Francis Jackson himself who apparently is still alive.

Tony Hewitt-Jones on the left,

I found recording of the Hewitt-Jones piece on YouTube. It was well played but on an electronic organ and pretty much sounded like shit. So I didn’t embed the video.

Thinking of my work as an art has a calming affect on me.


Political Theology: The Border in Question by David Yearsley

I did find an online article by this scholar. Haven’t read it yet. It seems to be about Bach and Court Life.


F.A.A. to Review Rules on Use of Electronic Devices –

This article uses the phrase, “people are addicted to their phones.” Lovely.


Dan Deacon Shows a Changed Attitude in ‘America’ –

I have never head of the composer, Dan Deacon. He seems to be quite insane. I will check him out today.


Revolt of the Rich | The American Conservative

This was a link shared by a family member.  The author, Mike Lofgren served 16 years on the Republican staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees. He has just published The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.

The article linked seems to be a conservative analysis that is a bit more dispassionate than the noise in the Republican right now.


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