PipeChat Digest #5077 - Thursday, January 13, 2005
 
Sorabji
  by "Robert Lind" <lindr@core.com>
Re: OK OK
  by <RonSeverin@aol.com>
Richer Content In Praise Songs
  by <Devon3000@aol.com>
Re: Richer Content In Praise Songs
  by "Jonathan Orwig" <giwro@adelphia.net>
Re: Richer Content In Praise Songs
  by "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net>
Re: Richer Content In Praise Songs
  by "Jonathan Orwig" <giwro@adelphia.net>
Re: Richer Content In Praise Songs
  by <Joshwwhite@aol.com>
Re: Oceans of Strings, Chimes, Hymn Playing, and Missing Stop
  by <SWF12262@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: Sorabji From: "Robert Lind" <lindr@core.com> Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 17:59:02 -0600   I probably first became aware of Sorabji in the 1960s through Slonimski's Baker's Dictionary.   In the early 1980s I had a chance to go to a performance in Chicago of his "Opus Clavicembalisticum" (the longest piano work ever written) by pianist Geoffrey Madge but didn't make it for reasons I no longer remember.   About ten years ago I bought piano CDs of his works played by Marc-Andr=E9 Hamelin and others and the (2-CD?) organ recording by Kevin Bowyer. Somewhere along the way I bought the score to the first organ symphony (Curwen Edition 999.009, =A9 1929, 105 pp. of music with a trim size of 14-1/2" x 10-3/4", with a price of One Guinea!).   Today I sit here unmoved by any of it. I really didn't care for what I = heard and found no reason to delve more deeply. Perhaps I should give him = another chance now that a decade has passed, but I'm not sure I care to take the time to do this.   Does anyone have a more positive assessment and some specific recommendations? And how does one pronounce the surname: Soh-RAHB-jee? Soh-RAHB-yee? I've heard both.   Robert Lind   ----- Original Message ----- From: Emmons, Paul <PEMMONS@wcupa.edu> To: PipeChat <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 3:51 PM Subject: RE: Organ repertoire question     > Some of the organ works of Sorabji (three huge organ symphonies) might also be fitting-- is anyone familiar enough with him or them to be more specific? > > New Grove describes Sorabji as "the son of a Spanish-Sicilian mother and = a Parsi father." (Parsi =3D Indian but of Persian background, and typically Zoroastrian religion.) So where does that put this composer vis-=E0-vis Hinduism? I'm not sure specifically although in general he's worth investigating for such a situation as the inquirer describes. > > The article goes on to say that he "had no patience" with many 20th-century musical innovations such as electronics, serialism, and indeterminacy, as well as with "vernacular music of any kind." His own music and that which he admired showed "deep mystical qualities... he considered the acts of composition and performance intensely sacred, and = the best music to be suitable only for initiates, not the uncultured masses." Of independent means, exacting, and reclusive, he had neither any need nor often any desire for his own music to be performed at all, preferring silence to "travesty." > > His fellow English (as he was officially, although he didn't like to be considered such) must have been found him outrageously exotic in every respect. I for one have not heard any of his music but am interested, especially as per the New Grove article we're kindred spirits in some = ways. It's pleasantly surprising that it runs to about two pages, longer than = one would expect for a little-unknown composer. With the ongoing meltdown of interest in serialism and a few other disastrous _sine quae non_ of respectability that held forth in mid-20th-century music criticism and teaching, various composers that had marched to a different drummer and suffered the consequent disdain are now up for reconsideration. Sorabji appears to be among these, along with Busoni, whom he championed. He also loved Mahler's music, whose popularity today was barely imaginable fifty years ago.      
(back) Subject: Re: OK OK From: <RonSeverin@aol.com> Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 19:15:21 EST   Thanks John:   Now I can read things more clearly. What's missing? Either a Flauto Dolce Unda Maris in the choir or a nice English Tuba 8' on 15" of wind. For the Flauto Dolce 8' I'd rather see a nice English Dulciana 8'. I know the Swell Trompette Harmonique 8' is supposed to make up for the loss of the Tuba, but it isn't the same. You don't need a 32' Bourdon in a small room. I'd srtill swap out the Doppel Fl. on the great for a second Flute Harmonique 8'   Ron Severin    
(back) Subject: Richer Content In Praise Songs From: <Devon3000@aol.com> Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 19:46:04 EST   Hi all,   I normally listen to this talk of Praise Band Music, and let it roll by, = but Jonathan's recent remarks about the better content of some contemporary = music really upset me. I listen to that one song he quoted about "we believe" = about every other week, and want to throw up. The music is so repetitive and = the chords so boring, that it doesn't make any difference what the words are = to a lot of us, the music doesn't support the text.   Sure, the texts might have improved, but only by a minute notch, in my experience. At my congregation, we have watched the contemporary services = gradually decrease in attendance. But the damage has already been done, and the congregation will be forever divided, musically, for certain. We lose our = heritage of great music and hymns, and we're losing our credibility in the long = run, as the music sounds more and more like that you hear on the popular radio, = and they do it so much better.   We even now call the screen the "Worship Window" at the traditional = services. BARF!   One of the rare joys I experience even in the traditional service is in seeing people rediscover the rich hymnody and occasional well-composed = anthem, but most of all the discovery of the pipe organ. I've never seen so many = people light up with excitement after a worship experience as when they sing with = an organ, unamplified and free of feedback and ear-splitting noise. We're on = our third sound system in two years, and there's still feedback and too much volume attempting to amplify the choir, which is totally unnecessary. = What I do also have great fun doing is to hit a hymn intro after an anthem, as the = sound dude is always off-guard, and there is a tremendous screech or low-pitched = hum in the sound system from trying to overmodulate the choir sound. Certain pedal notes on the organ just love to aggravate sound systems.   I really long for the days when worship was mysterious, exalting, silent = at times, roof-raising when singing hymns, and when preaching was stimulating = and challenging to the core. I know there are still places like this, but = having part or all of the above is sadly a rarity.   Hopefully, a new generation will rediscover "unplugged" sounds of voices = and the glory of the King of Instruments anew.   Until then, all we can do is wear earplugs during the contemporary music, = and do everything we can to promote excellence (boy is that a bad word lately) =   and integrity in our worship experiences. Good wishes to you all.   Devon Hollingsworth DeKalb, Illinois  
(back) Subject: Re: Richer Content In Praise Songs From: "Jonathan Orwig" <giwro@adelphia.net> Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 17:53:24 -0800   <sigh>   I'll admit to the repetitiveness of music in the song Devon refers to...   I'm done with this topic for now.... after these comments:   There are poor worship experiences in every "style" Poor organists, lousy praise bands, whatever   If you will go back and look closely at my post, you will remember my main point was not judging the hearts of the worshippers who did this kind of music:   QUOTING MYSELF: you don't have to like Praise bands You don't have to attend (or work) at a church that has one   BUT   To say that their style of worship is "inferior" means you have decided to = usurp God's role of Judge. Not a good idea. You can believe that FOR YOU = it is not giving your best, or does not fulfill the criteria of worthy worship, but to judge the heart of another in this matter treads on dangerous theological ground. /end quote     On Wed, 12 Jan 2005 19:46:04 EST, <Devon3000@aol.com> wrote:   > Hi all, > > I normally listen to this talk of Praise Band Music, and let it roll by, = > but > Jonathan's recent remarks about the better content of some contemporary =   > music > really upset me. I listen to that one song he quoted about "we believe" = > about > every other week, and want to throw up. The music is so repetitive and =   > the > chords so boring, that it doesn't make any difference what the words are = > to a > lot of us, the music doesn't support the text.   IN YOUR OPINION! (and probably, from your _CULTURAL_ perspective, true)   > Sure, the texts might have improved, but only by a minute notch, in my > experience. At my congregation, we have watched the contemporary > services gradually > decrease in attendance. But the damage has already been done, and the > congregation will be forever divided, musically, for certain. We lose > our heritage > of great music and hymns, and we're losing our credibility in the long > run, as > the music sounds more and more like that you hear on the popular radio, =   > and > they do it so much better.   Then your praise team needs to raise its level of competence   > We even now call the screen the "Worship Window" at the traditional > services. > BARF!   Again, opinion... and culture   > One of the rare joys I experience even in the traditional service is in > seeing people rediscover the rich hymnody and occasional well-composed > anthem, but > most of all the discovery of the pipe organ. I've never seen so many > people > light up with excitement after a worship experience as when they sing > with an > organ, unamplified and free of feedback and ear-splitting noise. We're =   > on our > third sound system in two years, and there's still feedback and too much > volume attempting to amplify the choir, which is totally unnecessary. > What I do > also have great fun doing is to hit a hymn intro after an anthem, as the = > sound > dude is always off-guard, and there is a tremendous screech or > low-pitched hum > in the sound system from trying to overmodulate the choir sound. = Certain > pedal notes on the organ just love to aggravate sound systems.     Now, that sort of action is mean-spirited and totally unbecoming from someone who is supposed to be a servant of God     > I really long for the days when worship was mysterious, exalting, silent = > at > times, roof-raising when singing hymns, and when preaching was > stimulating and > challenging to the core. I know there are still places like this, but > having > part or all of the above is sadly a rarity.     I have participated in services like what you have just mentioned, all without hyms or organs...     > Hopefully, a new generation will rediscover "unplugged" sounds of voices = > and > the glory of the King of Instruments anew.     I wish that perhaps that might happen, too... but I doubt it     > Until then, all we can do is wear earplugs during the contemporary = music,     or find another church     and > do everything we can to promote excellence (boy is that a bad word > lately) > and integrity in our worship experiences. Good wishes to you all.   I'll vote for excellence... WHATEVER THE STYLE... Contemporary praise bands _CAN_ do it excellently -   ***********   Finally... I'm sure that you are not exaggerating on the problems you have mentioned... (well, maybe a little, but I can't know that since I = am not there) What I _am_ concerned about is your attitude.   REMEMBER   I never said you have to LIKE it   My main beef is when people lump it all together and say "It's all utter cow-dung, mediocre, unworthy, and useless drivel that mocks the dignity of worship and is a lesser offering to God"   FOR YOU maybe   I worship God just as passionately whether playing Buxtehude on the organ or jamming with the band to a Matt Redman tune... FOR ME there is no difference in "worthiness" of the music - it's all worship, and I = try to do it ALL with my whole heart, mind soul and strength. Are the styles =   different? You bet. Am I an anomaly? Apparently....   I have received no end of nasty private remarks (and a few nice ones)about = my post (and suppose this will engender even more of the same). Folks, it's just not worth fighting over for me anymore. You all are free to post whatever you want, but it grieves my heart to see the mean-spiritedness that surrounds this issue. Tim and Dave have = been kind in forbearing us this trek off-topic, and I think it's time to let it rest. Many of you will never agree with me, nor I with you, so let's just let this one go, much like the pipes vs. electronics debate   Peace,   -Jonathan     -- Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/m2/  
(back) Subject: Re: Richer Content In Praise Songs From: "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net> Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 22:01:43 +0000   On 1/13/05 1:53 AM, "Jonathan Orwig" <giwro@adelphia.net> wrote:   > you will remember my main point was not judging the hearts of the worship= pers > who did this kind of music:   That's what confuses me sometimes (OK, a lot). I don't know WHERE the "up-to-date" folks are these days. (Do I care? Don=B9t ask!) One minute they want to be judged or considered by their =B3hearts=B2, and the next minute it=B9s just playing a CD of somebody ELSE doing =B3whatever,=B2 with no consideration of that =B3heart=B2 at all, so far as I can see.   That makes me suspect the whole process, in a given room and hour on a give= n Sunday morning.   Alan  
(back) Subject: Re: Richer Content In Praise Songs From: "Jonathan Orwig" <giwro@adelphia.net> Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 19:37:17 -0800   On Wed, 12 Jan 2005 22:01:43 +0000, Alan Freed <acfreed0904@earthlink.net> = wrote:   > On 1/13/05 1:53 AM, "Jonathan Orwig" <giwro@adelphia.net> wrote: > >> you will remember my main point was not judging the hearts of the >> worshippers >> who did this kind of music: > > That's what confuses me sometimes (OK, a lot). I don't know WHERE the > "up-to-date" folks are these days. (Do I care? Don=C2=B9t ask!) One = minute > they want to be judged or considered by their =C2=B3hearts=C2=B2, and = the next > minute it=C2=B9s just playing a CD of somebody ELSE doing = =C2=B3whatever,=C2=B2 with no > consideration of that =C2=B3heart=C2=B2 at all, so far as I can see. > > That makes me suspect the whole process, in a given room and hour on a > given > Sunday morning.   Please... READ what I said... Contemporary worship MUST be done with excellence, just as any style needs be. I no more condone "playing a CD" for leading =   worship than I do using "trax" to back up my choir   I've admitted it is sometimes done poorly... so is a lot of traditional music... both "sides" have to answer to GOD for that.   Always it seems folks want to find the worst examples of the genre and the = most ridiculous excesses upon which to base their arguments...   Again, I'm not arguing that bad doesn't happen, but IN ALL TYPES OF WORSHIP STYLES, THOUGH!   Please, don't lump it all together - that is lazy debating :-)   AGGGHHH... and I said I was gonna keep my mouth shut   -Jonathan       -- Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/m2/  
(back) Subject: Re: Richer Content In Praise Songs From: <Joshwwhite@aol.com> Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 22:54:47 EST   That's what confuses me sometimes (OK, a lot). I don't know WHERE the > "up-to-date" folks are these days. (Do I care? Don=B9t ask!) One minut= e > they want to be judged or considered by their =B3hearts=B2, and the next=20= =20 > minute it=B9s just playing a CD of somebody ELSE doing =B3whatever,=B2 w= ith no > consideration of that =B3heart=B2 at all, so far as I can see. > > That makes me suspect the whole process, in a given room and hour on a =20 > given > Sunday morning.     There are some churches I know of who do not have organists, but still use=20 the organ to accompany hymns through the use of MIDI sequencers. Is this=20 really any different from the above mentioned situation? =20 Josh=20  
(back) Subject: Re: Oceans of Strings, Chimes, Hymn Playing, and Missing Stop From: <SWF12262@aol.com> Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005 01:31:26 EST   Dear Pipechatters, Regarding the "oceans of strings" with multiple stringy ranks and accompanying celestes, my understanding is the basic concept came from the = French romantic instruments, but the "embarrassment of riches" offered on some instruments in the USA in the first half of the twentieth century is = attributable to the enormous impact that theater organs and the concomitant attempts at orchestral imitation had on the design philosophies of the day. Whew! = What a long sentence! My first pipe organ experience was a 1927 Votteler of about 20 =   ranks at my childhood church (Rogers Park Presbyterian, Chicago), and it = was all 16, 8, and 4. Some really lovely stops, but definitely a creature of its =   era! Likewise, the use of orchestral tubular chimes dates from the same = era, but has become a much loved part of many organs here in the US. The harp =   (really a wooden glockenspiel, I believe) never achieved the same = popularity. Chimes can be useful and artistic -- for instance, I have used them on my =   introduction to the hymn tune Ash Grove (Sent Forth By God's Blessing in = our hymnal) by striking the appropriate melody note on the downbeat of each = measure while playing the tune on another manual and pedal. Chimes are also = quite useful in Pietro Yon's Christmas anthem Gesu Bambino. They are, however, =   effective in inverse proportion to the amount of their use, in my = opinion. Occasional catnip for the congregation's elderly tabbies? Perhaps. ;) Regarding hymn playing, I have always been encouraged to vary registration = to best reflect the text of a particular stanza. I think the best hymn accompanying I have experienced is the sensitive yet dramatic and = responsive settings of Richard Webster. His arrangements for organ, brass, choir, = and congregation are well known, but his simple hymn accompaniments have = always been right on the money. I guess the point is we shouldn't vary registration = in hymn accompaniment for the sake of variety, but rather to better express the text. It is my understanding that hymn introductions consisting of the = first half of the hymn are a peculiarly British phenomenon. I play the hymn = through, unless it is quite well known to my congregation; then maybe first and = last quarter, or refrain, or end of hymn; or if AABA form, just BAA. My guess as to the missing stop in the RCO organ? Howsabout some kind of = 8' Diapason in the Swell? Or does one draw a flute and a string to = approximate it? I would like to see a 32' in the pedal -- flue or reed, preferably = both. I should think they would at least provide a resultant on an instrument = of this scope. On yet another subject, good luck on the Hindu service. We have a Sri Lankan Mass (Feast of St. Sebastian) this Sunday with the bishop. Working = in a multicultural parish can be challenging -- sometimes I feel like a = translator for the UN when I'm assembling the program! Best of the New Year to all! Steve Folkers St. Lambert RC Church Skokie, IL