30 April, 2009
On Pascha after I finally got up, I cooked and ate a pound of bacon, all by myself. But I’ve also been craving barbecued ribs, and I haven’t indulged.
Well, I’m going to Texas Roadhouse this evening. Time for ribs. Then on to choir practice at the church. But ribs first. Mmmmm, ribs!
29 April, 2009
I don’t have much to say about the AOCA bishop scandal because it doesn’t make sense, but this quotation — from the AOCA webpage, mind — says a great deal.
The remaining Hierarch, His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER wrote the following note in place of his signature:
“This decision is already in effect and does not need my signature”
28 April, 2009
St Ignatius Brianchaninov on the chants at Valaam Monastery.
The tones of this chant are majestic and protracted…they depict the groans of the repentant soul, sighing and longing in the land of its exile for the blessed, desired country of eternal rejoicing and pure, holy delights…These tones now drag on lugubriously, melancholically, drearily, like a wind through the wilderness, now gradually disappear like an echo among cliffs and gorges, now thunder suddenly…The majestic “Lord, have mercy” is like a wind through a desolate place, so sorrowful, moving and drawn out. The troparion “We hymn thee” ends with a protracted, shimmering, overflowing sound, gradually abating and imperceptibly fading under the vaults of the church, just as an echo dies out under a church’s arches. And when the brethren sing at vespers “Lord, I have cried unto Thee, hearken unto me”, the sounds emanate as if from a deep abyss, are quickly and thunderously wrested therefrom and rise to heaven like lightning, taking with them the thoughts and wishes of those at prayer. Everything here is full of significance and majesty, and anything merry, light-hearted of playful would simply seem strange and ugly.
You can buy CDs of the Valaam monks, who are truly amazing, at Liturgica (search on “valaam”). I’d also suggest you expose yourself to the Monks of Our Lady of Balamand Monastery in Lebanon (search on “balamand”), although all of their CDs are in Arabic.
28 April, 2009
Meeting with +Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow.
Josephus has the story.
27 April, 2009
One thing I really dislike is the use of dissonance as a harmonic device in Orthodox liturgical music settings (hey, I love dissonance, just not in this particular context). It’s one of the reasons I don’t much like either Karam or Kedrov, both of whom use harmonies that are inappropriate for Orthodox liturgies. There’s something very out of place about such comparatively modern harmonics in something as ancient as an Orthodox liturgy. And I don’t mean what most these days would call dissonance; I mean the use of passing seconds and sevenths, which harmonically speaking are quite conservative these days, and have been for a good two hundred years, at least.
One example is something I’ve sung hundreds, if not thousands, of times, Karam’s setting of Receive Me Today, an adaptation of the Communion Prayer as a Communion Hymn, which itself is a fine idea. It’s Karam’s setting that sets my teeth on edge (the music is here).
Karam, Receive Me Today, at 0:41 “As partaker” where you get that passing seventh. I really, really, really despise this setting. Oh, and it’s recorded by the Antiochian New England Choir, so if you can, try not to snicker too much at the deacon’s nasal New England accent, particularly on “draw ye near.” It isn’t nice.
Considering the mess the Catholics have with inappropriate music — because there’s certainly nothing inappropriate about the text, just the setting — I’m tempted to send the URLs to pages with harmonized liturgical music to some Catholic choir directors and beg them to take these things off our hands.
Not all of them. Just the excessively modern — and over-harmonized — settings.
By the way, I do like Kedrov’s setting of the Lord’s Prayer. I posted a video of it (in Slavonic) by the Bulgarian National Choir, here.
27 April, 2009
Who says the Orthodox don’t have a sense of humor?
Well, I once assisted in the choir at an OCA church, and the director asked us (the other choir folk) which version of the Creed we’d like to do.
Naturally, being the revolutionary type, I shot up my hand and said, “Let’s do the one with the Filioque in it!”
Last time I assisted at that particular choir …
Course, it is kind of an “in” joke . . .