11.21.2010

Didòmhnaich Adhradh: 11/21/10

The snow is fluttering down onto the road as I type. I did get down to Westminster and back without too much mishap though a small amount of skidding. Exciting!

Wencenslas Bible

Prelude: When I survey the Wondrous Cross - arr. Tedd Smith
Choir: With Hearts and Hands - John Rutter
Offertory: Prelude Op. 13 No. 3 - A. Scriabin
Postlude: Little Prelude and Fugue in e minor - J.S. Bach


Some may say that there are more appropriate hymns for "Reign of Christ" Sunday than one which meditates graphically and existentially upon Golgotha. Perhaps "Joy to the World" would be better? Yet I consider the Bible as well as the hymnody of the Church to be filled with such a great cloud of allusions and cyclical motifs. The ascension up to the cross whispers the same story as the rising to the throne of heaven. Might as well consider where authority comes from.

I'm not a big fan of John Rutter's compositions. Sorry. I feel I've just alienated tons of people, especially elderly choir members. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about flatted seventh degree chords, exciting rhythmic scansions, and disjunct melodies. My experience just has Rutter putting them in all the wrong places or in too many places. I was always taught to say something positive though: I greatly appreciate this composition's use of hymn tune quotes. 

Early Scriabin is a pleasure and an adventure. You never know what's going to happen. G Major to B-flat, to A-flat and back to G! Interesting contrapuntal voices. Can't go wrong. Well... you can; if you get into the quartal harmonies people might get scared.

I really enjoyed this little prelude and fugue. The prelude churns forward with a triple threat of suspensions and the chromatic ricarcare fugue slithers up and down. I'd like to look at it closer because I feel there are a lot of connections between the two sections: a chromatic passage in the prelude foreshadows the fugue and then some of the contours of the delightful countersubjects in the prelude hearkens back to the upward leaps in the prelude. For registration I had the prelude quite loud and thundering, but transitioned attacca to the fugue with a sudden change to quiet foundations.

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