December 22, 2003
Vol. III, No. 36
"'Twas the Night..."
It's hard to believe that at about this time last year I was cooling down from my recital at St. Thomas Church. Some of you may remember the following take-off on a familiar poem and that it came to me while seated at the St. Thomas console during a late-night rehearsal for that recital. I thought it was worth trotting out for the holiday.
'Twas the Night...
'Twas the night before my recital, when all through the church-house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a church mouse;
My music was stacked by the console with care,
In hopes that correct notes soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While I was up practicing, filling with dread;
Each piston changed the stops with a snap,
I'd have rather been draining a giant nightcap!
When out of the Swell there arose such a clatter,
I jumped off the bench to see what was the matter.
Away to the chamber I flew like a flash,
Pried open the shutters and threw out my back.
I pulled out the cipher to go on with the show
And staggered back down to the console below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a security guard with his hands on his ears,
With a little old flashlight, so lively and quick,
He shined and he questioned until I was sick.
He looked at my program like a man insane,
Then he smiled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"A FANTASY, FUGUE, TOCCATA and PRELUDE!
That's a whole recital and not just a postlude!"
To the top of the church for his friends he did call
And I had to play the whole thing for them all.
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So over the keys my fingers they flew,
Amazing my feet on the pedalboard, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard to my right
A roaring of laughter filling the night.
As I got off the bench, and was turning around,
Down the facade slid Old Bach, all the way to the ground.
He looked much like the pictures you see in the books,
After all of these years, he still had his looks;
He put on the shoes that were slung on his back,
And pulled some old music from out of his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his fingers how merry!
His toes were like birds, a quick tune they could carry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the hair on his head was as white as the snow;
He played a great cantus with four voices beneath,
Til the music encircled our heads like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he played like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight through each werk,
Then completing a cadence he turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the facade he rose;
He sprang to the Choir and silenced a whistle,
Then faded away without an epistle.
But I heard him exclaim, my Germanic idol,
"HAPPY PRELUDES TO ALL, AND ENJOY YOUR RECITAL!"
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Sheet Music Store:
Organ Music for the Christmas Season by Rollin Smith (Editor). I couldn't find this at sheetmusicplus.com for the December Monthly Links page but then I found it at Amazon.com. Click here for more info:
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