Giving thanks

Things to be thankful for:

Gas @ $1.48/gal on Thanksgiving morning

Two parents still alive. Oddly, my mom was in better shape than my dad.

Finishing two pieces this weekend, a mediumish one (7 in.) under deadline, and a short (50 sec.) piano piece that I don’t “have to” write until next year.

And I went to church Sunday! Rusty had been invited by our neighbor to attend her Pentecostal church, but she didn’t invite me. So I went to St. Ambrose RC in G-ville. Unlike St. Michaels in Windham, there’s music, and one gets the impression that the congregation cares a bit more, in the way they dress and in liturgical execution. It’s Novus Ordo, of course, with all that implies. Without the purple cloth and the Advent wreath, I’d have had no idea it was the first Sunday of Advent. I tend to think of the liturgical year as being a bit like working the Wheel of the Year, (Unreconstructed Wiccan that I am) and it feels wrong if I don’t know where I am in it. There were missalettes that nobody used, where the music didn’t match up at all with what was sung. The Introit Entrance Song was “Veni Emanuel” but the offertory was by Satan’s Kapellmeister. (So what’s with jumping up an octave to the top of the range, and then going up? Palestrina didn’t do that, and he had professionals singing, not congregants). The choir performed with piano and synthesizer (and in one regrettable instance, a Mark tree) and produced a well-blended sound for a small group; they’d probably sound really good singing chant. The homily was credible. I can’t say it was much of a deep religious experience for me, but even making the attempt was salutary.

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2 Responses to Giving thanks

  1. kishnevi says:

    [So what’s with jumping up an octave to the top of the range, and then going up?]

    Probably trying to outdo Beethoven. If you’ve never sung the Missa Solemnis, look at what the chorus is supposed to do in the “et resurrexit” passage of the Credo: everyone sings a sustained note at the very top of normal range (and for some folks, probably above the top of normal range)–and of course Beethoven doesn’t mark the passage piano either. And of course he uses wordpainting for “et ascendit” for another run to the top of the scale. That it doesn’t always come out like a giant shriek wasn’t for lack of Beethoven trying…And while I’ve never studied the score, I’m told that there is at least one similar throat breaking moment in the 9th Symphony.

  2. jeffreyquick says:

    Yes, Beethoven’s vocal writing is infamous. At least it wasn’t piano; it would have been much harder that way. But this is apples and oranges. Beethoven was going for an effect: it’s hard, but there’s a reason for it. And he was dealing with pros (or as pro as orchestra choruses get). The octave jump in Haugen (as opposed to a 4th) is unnecessarily hard, and adds little if anything to the line. it’s just bad craft.

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