Sunday, January 6, 2008

A few announcements

Hello. Is this thing on?

(Taps microphone. Squealing feedback noises.)

Can you hear me? How about now?

(Everyone nods except for a woman in the back of the congregation, who yells "No!")

Oh. Errr. . . how about if I stand like this and talk into the microphone sort of sideways, like this?

(This makes no audible difference. Somewhere in Africa, children can hear the creaking of a massive glass mountain, swaying in the wind.)

Good. I have only a few announcements for you this morning, before the Rector dismisses us:

1) So the big project in my life at the moment is learning Leo Sowerby's Pageant, the only piece of organ music to come with a Surgeon General's warning. I am only slightly exaggerating - the pedal acrobatics of the part are basically ridiculous. Ridiculous! There's a bit near the end I am currently despairing of ever being able to play properly: a rapid descending chromatic scale in triplets which must be taken entirely with the left foot, because the right foot is holding another note in the upper register of the pedalboard. The whole piece is like this. Please make allowances for this traumatic experience if you have to deal with me in person.

2) Walton was amazing when I wrote yesterday's post, and guess what? He's still amazing. As I write this, the Sinfonia Concertante is playing in the background. Heady stuff. Early Walton with typically energetic, bouncy music but some uncharacteristically simple, gorgeous lyricism in the slow movement. Can't see pianists lining up to play it, though - it's not really a show piece, using the piano more as "a sort of interesting percussion instrument"* to add colour to the orchestra at key moments.

* I feel vaguely ashamed of myself for including this: the quote is from Hindemith's preface to the Suite "1922". Most obscure reference EVER. It sticks in my mind, I think, because it fits so closely with how I think of the piano nowadays. What, you have to actually hit the thing to make a sound? What poorly regulated action. And only one manual! Cheapskates.


SadOatcakes said...


I just saw a commercial on television for a show called "Orangutan Island." Apparently it is just a show about orangutans being orangutans. I realize you probably still do not own a television, but I thought that you ought to know.

Osbert Parsley said...



Coolest species EVER.

SadOatcakes said...

I know! I haven't seen the show but I am sure it is great, just because it exists.

The commercial I saw included one of those teasers for the next episode. It was something like "Friday: Orangutans eat FISH!!!"