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March 30, 2005
Vol. V, No. 7

"Bach in the Saddle"
There's a nasty rumor circulating that I gave up Rampaging for Lent. On the contrary, I've had several experiences recently that have left me very cranky. Just been too busy to write.

For instance, why don't healthy people go to concerts? I went to a NY Philharmonic concert a few weeks ago and more recently a performance of NYC Opera. Both audiences were full of sick people and I don't mean sniffles. I mean deep respiratory problems. Gross!

Next, I was stunned on Easter to hear an organist play "melody, melody, who's got the melody" on the final hymn. If even half of the 300-400 in attendance had been able to find the tune to sing along, it would have been an amazing sound. Is there such a thing as an Ivory organ loft? Hey, make them hymns as fancy as you like but the last time I checked, hymns were for singing, not recitaling.

Next, the following article really burned me up. Before we start worrying about Music leading people down the wrong path, I think we should first be concerned about Words. I feel for the organist in this guy's church, if they have one. Music can go where no words ever can. And it does. Read on at your own risk:

Finally, I had high hopes for an art installation that I visited today. Tim Hawkinson's Überorgan is part of his show at the Whitney Museum but it's so big it had to be installed elsewhere in a giant public atrium. The acoustics were cathedral-esque and the artwork/instrument was visually interesting so I felt there was a great deal of potential for a good sound experience.

The sounds are triggered from an automated console akin to a player piano, only on a much larger scale. A giant wind chest feeds a series of air bladders that look like deformed hot air balloons. The bladders in turn feed twelve "pipes" that resemble giant cardboard telescopes. The result is quite "Seussian" and suggests the offspring of a rollercoaster having coupled with a set of bagpipes.

The artwork/instrument plays on the hour from a pre-determined repertoire. I didn't hear any songs as advertised except the one coming from the radio of the nearby coffee and doughnut vendor that created a juxtaposition only John Cage could love. The sounds generated by this work of art amounted to a chromatic pedal solo on one octave (twelve notes) of 16' reeds. Ailings ones, at that. Inventive, yes. Musical, no cigar. The bottom line is I think to call it an organ is an insult to organs and organ builders everywhere and the Über is nothing but hype.

On a brighter note, the visit gave me a chance to try out my new camera phone. Here's a page of photos I took at the exhibit:

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Support our BLOGgers and be sure to leave a comment or two! The link below leads to the main BLOG page and the links below that lead to the individual BLOGs. If you are interested in contributing by writing your own BLOG, please reply to this email.

Susan Burkhalter
"Ever Played the Wrong Hymn? MP 3 Players " - BLOG, MARCH 6, 2005
HEY PEOPLE, HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED THE WRONG HYMN?! and MP3 PLAYERS AND I-PODS: DO THEY ISOLATE LISTENERS? It happened at an Ash Wednesday evening service: I played....
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Victor Frost
"III 05" - The collection of organ solos from my incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream took its final form only so that it could be published on this site.
Until then I had not done the music processing of the score....
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Vic Kovacs
"Too Angry to Type" - I am very upset, in case your wondering why, read my last BLOG entry. The organ is unusable at this point. I cannot even stand to practice on it, half of the mixture is damaged, flute pipes have been pulled, two of them have stoppers missing, and the keyboard....
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Dan Long
"Cipher Adventure" - The organ caught a cipher two Sundays ago when I was practicing. It was in the Swell, which is accessed on the third floor through a door in the stairwell. First, though, you have to walk through the Choir division, go through a door and then walk through....
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Peter Stapleton
"The New Int'l Competition for Old Organists" - C.J. Young, Free-lance gerontologist, Boston Massachusetts
It's all very well to hand out scholarships and prizes to young organists. But what about the old organists? First, consider that....
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Have a great week!

Dan Long

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