Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Snow it Snoweth


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The wind it bloweth
The snow it snoweth
The day goeth sloweth
Here at home.

So here I goeth
With words I knoweth
That rhyme with “snoweth”
In a poem.

[As K says, it's like something Pooh would write.] [xo]




© 2011 Quodlibet. Dissemination, re-use, or duplication prohibited except by express permission of the author.I pay attention and I will find you if you cite, republish, or use my work without credit or without attribution.



Friday, October 28, 2011

First Snow

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"Solaced and Refreshed"


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No time to write something original today, so here are some good quotes about music to soothe your savage breast.


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The exercise of singing is delightful to nature, and good to preserve the health of man. It doth strengthen all parts of the breast, and doth open the pipes. (William Byrd, 1543–1623)

Music is a discipline, and a mistress of order and good manners, she makes the people milder and gentler, more moral and more reasonable. (Martin Luther, 1483-1546)

He who sings scares away his woes. (Miguel de Cervantes, 1547-1616)

Music is the only art capable of affording peace and joy of the heart. (Martin Luther, 1483-1546)

Among other things proper to recreate man and give him pleasure, music is either the first or one of the principal... (Jean Calvin, 1509-1564)

…Whether you wish to comfort the sad, to terrify the happy, to encourage the despairing, to humble the proud, to calm the passionate, or to appease those full of hate…what more effective means than music could you find? (Martin Luther, 1483-1546)

All their music, both that they play upon instruments, and that they sing with [the] voice, doth so resemble and express natural affections; the sound and tune is so applied and made agreeable to the thing; that whether it be a prayer, or else a ditty of gladness, of patience, of trouble, of mourning, or of anger, the fashion of the melody doth so represent the meaning of the thing, that it doth wonderfully move, stir, pierce and enflame the hearer’s mind. (Sir Thomas More, 1478-1535)

My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary. (Martin Luther, 1483-1546)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"The Most Awesome Listening Experience"

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I had meant to post this photo earlier, but lost it in the ether.  This was taken in the moments just after the conclusion of CONCORA's 2010 Extraordinary Concert:


It was really thrilling.

Come to the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hartford tomorrow,October 23, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. to hear CONCORA's 2011 presentation of "An Extraordinary Concert!"

At the beautiful Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hartford, CONCORA presents the second in our renewed series of "Extraordinary Concerts" combining CONCORA's singers with the finest student choirs from Hall, Ledyard, Westbrook, Manchester, and Lyme/Old Lyme High Schools, and CCSU's University Singers. Don't miss what one of last year's concertgoers called "the most awesome listening experience" as students and professional singers join voices for a varied program of thrilling choral repertoire.

*********************************

CONCORA SEASON 2011-2012
An Extraordinary Concert
Sunday, October 23, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, West Hartford
http://www.concora.org/
860.293.0567
contact@concora.org

“Is There Anything More Beautiful?”



"Is there anything more beautiful?"

Those were the words that CONCORA’s Artistic Director Richard Coffey offered to 120 high school and university singers as the last echoes of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” resonated to every corner of The Church of St. Thomas the Apostle last night.

And yes, it was beautiful indeed. As I listened, I wondered if it were the first time that some of these young people had sung that immortal music. There is nothing ― nothing ― that compares to the experience of singing exquisite music in a fine choir with a truly skilled director on the podium, leading and shaping and integrating many singers into a single voice.

This Sunday evening, October 23, these young singers will have the opportunity to share that experience with their families and friends, as thirty singers from the all-professional choir CONCORA, the twenty-voice University Singers from Central Connecticut State University, and 120 singers who comprise the select choirs from Hall High School in West Hartford, Ledyard High School, Lyme/Old Lyme High School, Manchester High School, and Westbrook High School, present "An Extraordinary Concert." We’ll perform with piano, with two organs, and on our own, unaccompanied. (I’ve appended the entire program list at the end of this post.)

Participating in an event like this can be a life-changing event for a young musician. Among these young singers are our future music teachers, church musicians, professional singers, community musicians, and arts supporters. Our rehearsals have been thrilling, and I know that this performance will be memorable for them, and for our audience. I hope you can be part of the experience.

It’s going to be an extraordinary evening! To read more about the program, scroll down on this page, look for the subject headings on the right, and click on "CONCORA Extraordinary Concert."

You may find ticket information following these photos of the young singers, our fabulous pianist Barbara Robbins, and Maestro Coffey, taken at last night’s rehearsal:





 Don’t miss what one person has called “the most awesome listening experience!”

*********************************

CONCORA SEASON 2011-2012
An Extraordinary Concert
Sunday, October 23, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, West Hartford, CT
www.concora.org 860.293.0567 contact@concora.org

PROGRAM

Antiphonal Music for Combined Choirs

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
“Heilig ist Gott der Herr Zebaoth!”

The High School and University Choirs

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (BWV 147)

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611)
“O magnum mysterium”

Z. Randall Stroope (b. 1953)
“Lamentations of Jeremiah”

Music by The University Singers

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621
“Gaudete omnes”

Luca Marenzio (1553-1599)
“Dissi a l'amata mia lucida stella”

Dan Campolieta
Settings of Dickinson texts:
“Will There Really be a ‘Morning’?”
“Wild Nights!”

Music by CONCORA

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
“Abendlied zu Gott” (“Evening Song to God”)

Jean Berger (1909-2002)
“Alleluia!” from Psalmo Brasileiro (Brazilian Psalm)

Pablo Casals (1876-1973)
“O vos omnes”

Edward Tyler
“Saint Teresa’s Bookmark”

Alice Parker (b. 1925)
“Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal”

The Combined Choirs

Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)
“Kyrie” from Messe Solennelle (1878, Op. 36)

Morton Lauridsen (b. 1943)
“O magnum mysterium”

Harry T. Burleigh (1866–1949)
“My Lord, what a mornin”

Brazeal Dennard (b. 1929)
“Fare Ye Well”

Last Looks


A few weeks ago I wrote about an important piece of habitat in my town that is going to be developed, and about the many important birds that would be affected by this loss.

I visited the area for just a few minutes today to take a few photos to remember it by. I don’t think I’ll be going there much any more. It’s just too sad, and with so many other burdens in my life right now, I just can’t bear it.


There were a lot of hunters in the area with their dogs, especially at the other end of the meadow where the ducks and geese were feeding in the corn stubble, so I didn’t venture in. But I sat for a few minutes, just looking and remembering and appreciating the quiet beauty of this place. The meadow was busy with sparrows, and I think I saw a lingering bobolink. A Cooper’s Hawk patrolled the margin between meadow and woods.


By this time next year, the area will be the site of an industrial building and parking lots. Traffic is expected from several neighboring towns.


Is it coincidence that I have seen Golden Eagles here two years in a row, or is there perhaps something special about this area? How about the Grasshopper Sparrows, Bobolinks, Vesper Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows? American Kestrels, Northern Harrier, Peregrine, American Golden-plover? Rough-legged Hawk, Short-eared Owl? American Pipits? Snow Geese? Northern Pintail, Shoveler?


Nah, it’s just another flat piece of land. Cover it with asphalt.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Field Notes


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Many birders keep field notes, recording not only what birds they’ve seen, and when, and where, but also jotting down detailed descriptions of the shape, plumage, flight, feeding habits, and other behaviors, of rare or interesting birds. The notes help them to sort out difficult identifications, track sightings over time, and keep a record of their birding activities.

As I’ve written before, I am a "listless" birder. And that works for me. But occasionally I do make field notes. My notes are probably rather, um, atypical. Here are some "field notes" that I collected over the past few months during trips afield.

***************

Kestrel. Beautiful. Long wings. Slice the air.

White-throated Sparrow. Seed-crusher. Sweet song.

OMG. Peregrine. Flash in the sky, burst of feathers, one less dove.

Heron in the mist, winging over the trees that edge the river. Recalls to me [how?] ancient times. Breathe, breathe, look.

Merganser, shaggy crest, droplets on the beak. Diving ducks, how do they see in the murk? Bob up from a dive, look around, what panache. They know they're cool. Hey.

Listen, far away over the fields, a meadowlark whistles. Dwindling farmland, dwindling habitat, the rare clear whistle. Wish I could see the bird that offers the distant song.

Flickers, golden wings bounding through the air. Calling wicka wicka wicka through the woods. The pair meets on a branch, couples, calls softly, preens.

Blue jays everywhere. So aggressive around the feeders. But see how tenderly this couple feeds each other. Jay, jay, softly they call. Beeble beeble, the rarely heard song. Here is a seed for you.

“An Occasion of Remarkable Beauty”

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This Sunday, October 23, I’ll be singing in CONCORA’s season-opening performance, “An Extraordinary Concert,” in which CONCORA joins forces with six outstanding young choral ensembles to present to present exceptional choral repertoire in a beautiful setting. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the acoustically resplendent sanctuary of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hartford, Connecticut.

The project is a wonderful opportunity for talented high school and college students to rehearse and perform great choral music with the professional singers of CONCORA, under the direction of CONCORA’s Artistic Director, Richard Coffey. The Extraordinary Series had its début in 1993 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, and continued there until 1998. This weekend’s concert is the second in our renewed presentation of this series.

For the 2011 edition of the Extraordinary Series, 150 singers will be on stage: Thirty singers from CONCORA, the twenty-strong University Singers from Central Connecticut State University, and 100 singers who are members of the select choirs from Hall High School in West Hartford, Ledyard High School, Lyme/Old Lyme High School, Manchester High School, and Westbrook High School. We’ll perform with piano, with two organs, and on our own, unaccompanied. I’ve appended the program list at the end of this post.

In my greeting to the audience at last year’s “Extraordinary Concert,” I offered some thoughts on the idea of the “extraordinary.” Those remarks apply just as well to this year’s event, so here they are again (with updated numbers):
Now, the last element in that list of “extraordinary riches” is, of course, you, our audience. I hope you can be part of our extraordinary experience this weekend. Tickets are selling briskly! Call the CONCORA office 860-293-0567 to reserve your place, or purchase tickets online at https://wesingart.readyhosting.com/secure/subscribe.htm. Discounts are available for students and groups of eight or more.

In his notes to the singers last year, Maestro Coffey promised that this performance would be “an occasion of remarkable beauty,” and I can tell you that his promise will be fulfilled in an extraordinary way.

Don’t miss what one person has called “the most awesome listening experience!”

*********************************

CONCORA SEASON 2011-2012
An Extraordinary Concert
Sunday, October 23, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, West Hartford
www.concora.org 860.293.0567 contact@concora.org

Antiphonal Music for Combined Choirs

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
“Heilig ist Gott der Herr Zebaoth!”

The High School and University Choirs

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (BWV 147).

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611)
“O magnum mysterium”

Z. Randall Stroope (b. 1953)
“Lamentations of Jeremiah”

Music by The University Singers

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)
“Gaudete omnes”

Luca Marenzio (1553-1599)
“Dissi a l'amata mia lucida stella”

Dan Campolieta
Settings of Dickinson texts:
“Will There Really be a ‘Morning’?”
“Wild Nights!”

Music by CONCORA

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
“Abendlied zu Gott” (“Evening Song to God”)

Jean Berger (1909-2002)
“Alleluia!” from Psalmo Brasileiro (Brazilian Psalm)

Pablo Casals (1876-1973)
“O vos omnes”

Edward Tyler
“Saint Teresa’s Bookmark”

Alice Parker (b. 1925)
“Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal”

The Combined Choirs

Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)
“Kyrie” from Messe Solennelle (1878, Op. 36)

Morton Lauridsen (b. 1943
“O magnum mysterium”

Harry T. Burleigh (1866–1949)
“My Lord, what a mornin”

Brazeal Dennard (b. 1929)
“Fare Ye Well”
According to Webster, something that is “extraordinary” is “beyond or out of the common order…not usual or customary,” and this program is indeed unusual in that it brings together amateur and professional singers who might not ordinarily have an opportunity to perform together.

But the second definition of “extraordinary” — given by Webster as “exceeding the common degree... remarkable… rare… and wonderful” — is equally, if not more, applicable, for in designing this program, Maestro Coffey has had extraordinary riches at hand:
  • 120 talented high school and college singers from communities where the arts are held in high esteem
  • 6 dedicated choral directors who have worked with CONCORA for nearly a year to bring this program to you
  • 30 skilled CONCORA artists
  • A sampling of some of the world’s most stirring choral music, and
  • A beautiful, acoustically resplendent sanctuary in which to showcase it all

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cathedralesque

I knew it would happen. I expected it, I hoped for it, I’ve sensed it inside me, and I’ve experienced it to some degree in the past few months, yet I was caught off guard when it hit me full-blast last week.

“It” happened during a recent CONCORA rehearsal for our “Extraordinary Concert,” which will be given this Sunday evening, October 23, in West Hartford, Connecticut. (Details about the concert may be found at the end of this post.) "It" is, simply put, a deeper musical understanding. One strives for this continually, of course, but sometimes there are remarkable moments, striking connections, indelible experiences...and when they all come together, well, it's worth writing about. 

It’s hard to explain this all sequentially, as “it” was due to the convergence of disparate experiences: our travels to France in July, my recent preparation of the program notes for this concert, and my first experience singing a particular piece of music in a CONCORA rehearsal last week.

Where to start??

First, France… D, K, and I enjoyed three wonderful weeks in France in July, where we visited many, many fine Gothic churches and cathedrals. We spent hours in those magnificent edifices, marveling at their size and greatness, examining tiny details within their walls, and glorying in the sheer human achievement represented by their conception, design, and construction.

Second, program notes… A few weeks ago, as I prepared the program notes for this concert, naturally I carefully studied the text and music of every piece on the program, including “Saint Teresa’s Bookmark,” by Connecticut composer Ed Tyler. I read about Teresa of Ávila and her “bookmark,” and studied Ed’s setting of this beloved text. As I looked at his score and noticed the succession of tall chords that progress from page to page, I was reminded of the long rows of tall stone columns in the churches we had visited, and I incorporated that image into my note:

During her lifetime, Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582; born Teresa Sánchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada in Ávila, Spain) was a beloved Carmelite nun and church reformer who enjoyed a large following, due to her “charming wit and common sense” but probably due also in large part to her ecstatic mysticism and unworldly visions, which formed the basis for her books and teachings. A calmer sense prevailed in the lines she penned on the bookmark of her Breviary, which was found in her hands after her death. The poem known ever after as “Saint Teresa’s Bookmark” expresses profound, unshakeable faith in God. The setting by Edward Tyler (director of the Manchester High School choir participating this evening) offers an effective representation of Teresa’s faith, with tall richly-harmonized chords progressing in steady fashion, much like the tall, sturdy columns in the cathedral at Ávila where Teresa is remembered today.

Let nothing disturb thee,
Let nothing affright thee;
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Patient endurance attaineth to all things;
Who God possesseth in nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth. Amen.
The “column” metaphor seemed reasonably clever, and I hoped that Ed would appreciate it. But I could not have known how true it was, until I experienced it vocally, physically, viscerally, and intellectually, in that CONCORA rehearsal.

Finally, rehearsing with CONCORA... Led by CONCORA’s Artistic Director Rick Coffey, we – thirty CONCORA artists – had worked through Ed’s amazing, beautiful setting, and were singing it through a final time (“Perform it for each other,” Mr. Coffey had urged) before putting it away until our next rehearsal. Mr. Coffey had asked us to sing the Tyler without vibrato, and we responded with a full, clear, resonant radiant sound that the room could barely contain. As often happens with CONCORA, we were able to achieve real beauty and depth even in our first read-through; it was very beautiful, indeed.

But the experience took me far beyond the music; as the music swelled, I found myself flooded by memories of the churches we had visited in France, and I was overwhelmed by a visceral, visual conception of Ed’s setting that became instantly clear within my heart and mind. Teresa’s words – calm, confident, steadfast – are indeed like the arrays of pillars that guard the nave of a cathedral like ranks of ancient apostles. As we sang together, I felt sure that Ed’s setting was a musical pilgrimage around the perimeter of a cathedral.

When I got home from rehearsal that evening, still rather stunned, I had to write it down, else I knew I would not be able to sleep. It's hard to make sense of this all. Here is a description of each portion of Ed's motet, followed by the part of my "cathedral memory" that corresponds.


 K in Cathédrale Saint-Étienne d'Auxerre
The Tyler is ravishing. It is cathedralesque.
The music begins in subdued fashion, with a single voice, then two, then three, each one lower than the first, in a gently walking rhythm. (“Nothing, nothing…)  
I enter through the small door cut into the great portal and stand for a moment in the dimness.
The upper voices enter and immediately begin to climb. (Let nothing disturb thee, Let nothing affright thee…)

As I advance from the portal, the space begins to open above my head and in front of me, stretching into the dimness.
The musical phrases progress in stately fashion, one very much like the next, except for an almost imperceptibly richer harmonization in each phrase. (Let nothing disturb thee, Let nothing affright thee…)

Entering the side aisle, I walk slowly down the length of the cathedral, behind the massive piers, noting the dimly-lit chapels to the side, but overall, remaining exquisitely aware of the soaring nave and the columns which seem stretch to heaven.
The pace slows, the voices come together, and there is a harmonic pause. (All things are passing; God never changeth…)

I reach the end of the side aisle and enter the ambulatory, where I pause in the half-light behind the altar. I look up to the ribbed and arched ceiling of the apse, then through the finely-wrought iron screen, across the choir into the nave, still half-hidden to my sight.
The music continues, building, climbing, strengthening once again, blossoming into tall columns of sound and cresting in a high arch of sound that floats in the shimmering air. (Patient endurance attaineth to all things…)
I leave the apse, move down the side aisle, and enter the transept, where I stop in awe. The rose windows at either end of the transept... The convergence of ribs in the arches over the crossing... The impossibly high ceiling of the nave, revealed at last in floods of light from the clerestory, a high arch that floats in the shimmering air…
As “all things” resonates in space, the music resumes with the same passages we heard at the opening: a few voices in walking rhythm (“Nothing, nothing…) over which the treble voices rise. (Who God possesseth, in nothing is wanting; Alone God sufficeth.). The music eventually subsides into quietness.
I re-enter the side aisle and make my way back the length of the church, passing another row of candle-lit chapels… When I reach the shadows under the organ loft, I am reluctant to leave… I turn into the nave and make my way up the center aisle to the choir.
Finally, an exquisite “Amen” blossoms forth, where contoured, intertwining melodic fragments open the exquisitely curling petals of a new rose.
From the choir, I look back, where a magnificent rose window graces the wall above the western portal. I spend a long time looking at the rose window, becoming lost in its delicate, curling stone traceries.
Somehow, Ed found a way to depict, in sound, the enduring architecture, the steadfastness of Teresa's faith, and the wonder that inevitably springs up in one's heart in the midst of all this musical-architectural beauty.

I could not have experienced "it" had I not had the combined experiences of travel, study, and singing. I am very grateful to have these richnesses in my little life.

Come hear this music for yourself. It's just one glorious selection in a program full of marvels.

*********************************

CONCORA
An Extraordinary Concert
Sunday, October 23, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, West Hartford

Tickets are selling quickly!
Contact the CONCORA office to reserve your seat.http://www.concora.org/    860.293.0567    contact@concora.org

© 2011 Grace Notes Writing. All rights reserved.
www.grace-notes.com http://quodlibet-sarah.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sideways Symmetry


When I arrived in Hartford yesterday for a mid-day meeting, the sun was shining brightly, emphasizing the colors and textures of many of the buildings downtown.

I had some time to spare, so I sat in my car, had a snack, and read for a while. But my gaze kept returning to the view down the street from where I was parked:


The longer I looked, the more I liked it.

Are these two buildings designed by the same hand? They complement each other. In fact, they are almost identical, except that one is reversed and turned on its side. See?

I found this delightful.

I love these buildings.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

“A Sense of Grandeur”

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During the summer, D, K, and I spent three glorious weeks in France. Our French sojourn began with five days in Paris, where we visited the magnificent, massive Église Saint-Sulpice (Church of St. Sulpice). The photos that illustrate this post are among those we took at St.-Sulpice.


As you might expect, my primary interest in visiting St.-Sulpice was to celebrate its prominent place in musical history, particularly the distinguished legacy of magnificent French pipe organs and the organist-composers who brought them to life. It was at three great churches of Paris ― St.-Sulpice, Notre-Dame de Paris, and the Basilique Sainte-Clotilde ― that the great “symphonic” organ tradition was born and flourished, inaugurated by the great César Frank, organist-composer at Sainte-Clotilde from 1858 until his death in 1890.


One of the greatest proponents of the symphonic organ tradition was organist-composer Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937), who was appointed organist at St.-Sulpice at age 26, and held the post for 64 years. The wealth of sonorities available in the famous, 100-stop Cavaillé-Coll symphonic organ at Saint-Sulpice (shown in the photo) influenced Widor’s tonal conception and found their way into his written works, including his Messe Solennelle (1878, Op. 36), composed for the choir and organs ― and acoustic ― of Saint-Sulpice.

The church, constructed between 1646-1732, is notable for its somewhat-odd architecture (Baroque overlaid with Classical elements) and enormous size; it is the second largest church in Paris, bested in that regard only by Notre-Dame de Paris. In addition to its large dimension, though, this building is massive; its heavy piers, enormous pillars, and soaring, deeply arched vault are nearly overwhelming in their size and grandeur.


CONCORA, the all-professional choir in which I sing, will perform the “Kyrie” from Widor’s Messe Solennelle on its upcoming concert, which takes place this Sunday, October 23, 7:30 p.m., in West Hartford, Connecticut (more details below). This “Extraordinary Concert” includes about 150 singers, with 30 from CONCORA, select choirs from five high schools (Hall, Ledyard, Westbrook, Manchester, and Lyme/Old Lyme High Schools), and the University Singers from CCSU. The huge choir is necessary for the Widor Messe, which calls for “a choir of two hundred seminarians” (originally from the seminary across the square from St.-Sulpice) to be accompanied by the orgue de chœur (the choir organ), while the grand orgue (great organ) provides majestic interludes and forceful ending. The men of the high school and CCSU choirs, while not numbering 200, will be our “seminarians” in this performance of the opening movement, the Kyrie. This Kyrie demonstrates Widor’s commitment to composing sacred music of true dignity and splendour, and conveys, in fellow-composer Vierne’s assessment, Widor’s “authority, his sense of grandeur, his imperious mastery...”

Did you notice that Widor calls for two organs? CONCORA’s Artistic Director Richard Coffey explains: “Widor’s mass employs the French custom of having two organs (and often two choirs) perform the liturgy. The enormous grand orgue (great organ) is located in the gallery, with the petit orgue (the “small organ,” sometimes called the orgue-de-chœur or choir organ) in the apse behind the altar, near the choir, opposite from the gallery. The petit orgue, a substantial instrument in its own right, provides accompaniment for the choirs and creates an aural contrast with the grand orgue. Together, the two choirs and two organs create a remarkable antiphonal effect.

And you can hear that "remarkable antiphonal effect" on October 23 when CONCORA and a six choirs of talented young singers perform this beautiful music in the resonant sanctuary of St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hartford.

Six choirs, two organs...and you.

For more information about the magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ at St.-Sulpice, visit http://www.stsulpice.com/. Or…visit Paris.

For more information about this special concert,
visit http://www.concora.org/, or call the CONCORA office at 860-293-0567.

*********************************

CONCORA
An Extraordinary Concert
Sunday, October 23, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, West Hartford

Tickets are selling quickly!
Contact the CONCORA office to reserve your seat.
http://www.concora.org/
860.293.0567
contact@concora.org

Text and photos © 2011 Grace Notes Writing. All rights reserved.
www.grace-notes.com http://quodlibet-sarah.blogspot.com

Eine Kleine Bach

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In German, "Bach" means "brook."

A little brook - "eine kleine Bach" - runs along the edge of my yard.

Listen to its song:



  

Unintended Consequences

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This joke has been floating around for some time, but it’s still funny. I’ve added several items of my own at the end of the list.

****************

The Mozart Effect
(from www.bachorgan.com/Jokes.html, via L.N.)

A recent report now says that the Mozart effect is yet another charming urban legend. The bad news for hip urban professionals: playing Mozart for your designer baby will not improve his IQ or help him get into that exclusive pre-school. He will just have to get admitted to Harvard some other way. Of course, we’re all better off listening to Mozart purely for the pleasure of it. However, one must wonder whether, if playing Mozart sonatas for little Tiffany or Jason really could boost his or her intelligence, what would happen if other composers were played during the kiddies’ developmental time?

Liszt Effect: Child speaks rapidly and extravagantly, but never really says anything important.

Bruckner Effect: Child speaks v-e-r-y slowly and repeats himself frequently and at length. Gains reputation for profundity.

Wagner Effect: Child becomes a egocentric megalomaniac. May eventually marry his sister.

Puccini Effect: Child is prone to murderous fits of jealousy if another child plays with his/her toys. Child also suffers never ending bout of croup and insists it’s nothing.

Verdi Effect: Child marches around his room repeatedly, lines up all of his stuffed animals in a parade, pays particular homage to his stuffed elephants.

Mahler Effect: Child continually screams – at great length and volume– that he’s dying.

Schönberg Effect: Child never repeats a word until he’s used all the other words in his vocabulary. Sometimes talks backwards. Eventually, people stop listening to him. Child blames them for their inability to understand him.

Ives Effect: The child develops a remarkable ability to carry on several separate conversations at once, in various dialects.

Glass Effect: The child tends to repeat himself over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again[, making almost imperceptible changes to the words as he goes].

Stravinsky Effect: The child is prone to savage, guttural and profane outbursts that often lead to fighting and pandemonium in the preschool.

Brahms Effect: The child is able to speak beautifully as long as his sentences contain a multiple of three words (3, 6, 9, 12, etc). However, his sentences containing 4 or 8 words are strangely uninspired.

Cage Effect: Child says nothing for 4 minutes, 33 seconds—exactly. A recent study has determined that the Cage Effect is preferred by 10 out of 10 classroom teachers.

That list inspired a few of my own:
The Gesualdo Effect: Child begins each sentence on one topic, then shifts unexpectedly to a new, unrelated topic. Grows up to be a serial murderer.

The Scriabin Effect: Child believes he is God and believes that he can bring about Armageddon by talking to the Himalayas. [Not unlike some present-day religious nuts, eh?]

Another Mozart Effect: Child is prone to procrastination, insisting that he can write down his homework from memory in plenty of time before class. (And he can.) Obsessed with scatalogical speech and bodily functions.

The Satie Effect: Child refuses to bathe and cleanses self by rubbing body with pumice. Eats only white foods.

Another Wagner Effect: Child develops persistent narcissistic, hypersensitive, grandiose personality. Insists on pure silk underwear.

The Sussmayr Effect: Child believes that he can gain eternal fame by completing a classmate's homework. Can't understand why no one appreciates him.

The Beethoven Effect: Child is pathologically antisocial, but believes he can save humanity from its own ignorance. Forces art down their throats until they admit they like the taste, then says, "I told you I was right."

The Duruflé Effect: Child suffers from extreme perfectionism; works obsessively to create only perfect work. Has difficulty starting and completing homework due to his fear of making a mistake.

The Sousa Effect: Child is obsessed with toy soldiers, setting them up for one parade after another. Walks, talks, chews, and brushes teeth at precisely 120 beats per minute.

The (Richard) Strauss Effect: Child is obsessed with number of possessions. Often teases other children who have less. ("My orchestra is bigger than yours!")

The Bach Effect: Child grows up perfect and loved by all.


Monday, October 17, 2011

October Afternoon

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I took a short walk around my yard this afternoon, reveling in the variety of colors and textures that I found. It's amazing what you can see if you open your mind to unexpected beauties.

Blueberry bushes in their autumn finery:


A tendril of English Ivy, climbing outside my office window:


Sapsucker drillings in the old apple tree in the corner of the yard:


Leaves fallen from the big maple near the street:


Interesting shadows cast by yew seedlings on a big yellow maple leaf:


The last of the geranium blossoms and the thickly-blooming chrysanthemums:


Another view of the walk and the chrysanthemums:


The bark of the oak tree has some beautiful soft colors:


The maple trees are loaded with seeds, as is the black walnut and all the oaks. It's a "mast year" - great for the birds and other animals that depend on this for winter sustenance.


Ivy geranim - thriving in the cooler weather.


I loved how the color and texture of these pine needles contrasted with the variegated, glossy leaves of this small shrub:


Here's the big maple in the front yard, source of the yellow leaves:


Pine needles adorning our lilac bush:


Gorgeous chestnut-colored mushrooms under the pachysandra:



Our little brook:

An Extraordinary Concert

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CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists), the professional choir in which I sing, opens its 2011-2012 season with “An Extraordinary Concert” this Sunday, October 23, The concert begins at 7:30 in the acoustically resplendent sanctuary of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hartford, Connecticut.

In this concert, CONCORA performs with the finest student choirs from Hall, Ledyard, Westbrook, Manchester, and Lyme/Old Lyme High Schools and CCSU’s University Singers, singing a selection of the world’s best choral music from the Renaissance to the present day.

I’ve enjoyed exploring the music for this concert both as a singer and also as a music historian, since I prepared the program notes which will be printed in the concert program. I’ll share some snippets from those notes over the next few days. You can see the entire song list at the end of this post.

Don’t miss what one person has called “the most awesome listening experience!”

Tickets are selling quickly! Contact the CONCORA office to reserve your seat.
http://www.concora.org/
860.293.0567
contact@concora.org

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CONCORA SEASON 2011-2012
An Extraordinary Concert
Sunday, October 23, 2011 – 7:30 p.m.
Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, West Hartford, Connecticut

Antiphonal Music for Combined Choirs

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
“Heilig ist Gott der Herr Zebaoth!”

The High School and University Choirs

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (BWV 147)

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611)
“O magnum mysterium”

Z. Randall Stroope (b. 1953)
“Lamentations of Jeremiah”

Music by The University Singers

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)
“Gaudete omnes”

Luca Marenzio (1553-1599)
“Dissi a l'amata mia lucida stella”

Dan Campolieta
Settings of Dickinson texts:
“Will There Really be a ‘Morning’?”
“Wild Nights!”

Music by CONCORA

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
“Abendlied zu Gott” (“Evening Song to God”)

Jean Berger (1909-2002)
“Alleluia!” from Psalmo Brasileiro (Brazilian Psalm)

Pablo Casals (1876-1973)
“O vos omnes”

Edward Tyler
“Saint Teresa’s Bookmark”

Alice Parker (b. 1925)
“Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal”

The Combined Choirs

Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)
“Kyrie” from Messe Solennelle (1878, Op. 36)

Morton Lauridsen (b. 1943)
“O magnum mysterium”

Harry T. Burleigh (1866–1949)
“My Lord, what a mornin”

Brazeal Dennard (b. 1929)
“Fare Ye Well”