September 24, 2006

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

We got served Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze" for Communion at Church today. I have never, ever heard it performed at such a speed, which might safely be described as a hand-gallop. If the sheep were planning to brunch this morning, I hope they didn't mind fast food, ha ha ha.

And speaking of Church, we also had an Offeratory piece by a composer I've only vaguely heard of, one A.A. Archangelsky. I don't know anything about him except that he was a Russian who died in the 1920's. What was remarkable about this piece was how, although pleasant, it had almost absolutely nothing to say.

Why was this remarkable? Well, I sometimes think we do ourselves - and particularly our children - a disservice by focusing in art education on Masterpieces all the time. If we expose (say) our kids to nothing but Shakespeare and Mozart and Rembrandt, they come to assume that these are the norms reyther than the pinnacles in their various fields, and fail to understand why these figures are so particularly special or should be especially revered. The truth of the matter is that there is an awful awful lot of bad Art out there. It strikes me that the better way to understand the exceptional achievement of the true geniuses is to also get some exposure to the second rate, the mediocre and the outright hack-work of most of the people around them. The Archangelsky piece reminded me of this again.

Posted by Robert at September 24, 2006 09:21 PM | TrackBack

Reminds me of an incident from my college days. My first foray into college was at Fort Wayne Bible College, which is now Taylor University Fort Wayne Campus. At the time, it was associated with The Missionary Church, the denomination in which my father pastored. First Missionary Church of Fort Wayne was across the street. One of the individuals who was well-beloved of both the church and the campus was Dr. Ira Gerig, a retired professor of music and member of one of the founding families of the denomination.

One Sunday, he was invited to play the offeratory at First Mish. The piece he chose was ornate and full of runs and trills. After the service, he received many compliments on the beauty and inspirational nature of the piece. But to one college student who thought he recognized the piece, Dr. Ira admitted that he had embellished the original composition.

The tune? "Yes, we have no Bananas".

Posted by: Memento Moron at September 24, 2006 10:55 PM

Awful? May I recommend anything and everything put out by Oregon Catholic Press. They are the purveyors of such atrocities as "Here I am, Lord" and "On Eagles's Wings". Also anything by Marty Haugen and David Haas, the first two to be put up against the wall when the revolution comes.

Posted by: Mike at September 25, 2006 08:36 AM