Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Choral anthems, scores, and a little research


It’s not very often that I see an original score of music that is about to be performed.

On Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA performed a choral anthem “Blessed Are Those”, based on Jeremiah 17:7-8 by John Shepherd. In the “synecdoche” atrium of the church (Philip Seymour Hoffman would love this place), the score of the hymn, in E Minor but with heavy use of accidentals and passing tones in the score, was in view, before the 11:15 traditional service.

The composer seems to be Minneapolis-born (I think I recall the name from my days with AGCMCC there), with a descriptive link (website url) here

There was an (English) Elizabethean composer John Sheppard (1515-1558), whose name is sometimes spelled as Shepherd, Wiki link here, or list of works here

You can look at scores here (PDF) or play them (mid, Quicktime). Try it!

Judith Fulp-Eickstaedt gave a sermon “Willing to Yield”, after a children’s sermon on the same topic.  Yes, there is more to life than “competition”.  “Yielding” is often necessary for self-interest.  For example, it’s important to yield and follow courtesy in traffic to avoid accidents.  In sports, “yielding” is often in effect out of a bigger interest in winning for the team.  A baseball player lays down a sacrifice bunt rather than swinging for the outfield fences—or a baseball team shelves its top pitcher on the advice of surgeons rather than risking rushing him into playoffs, because it is concerned about its long-term interest.

Sometimes, it seems, though, “yielding” demands a surrender of self-interest to that of others in the group beyond anyone’s possibility of choice or control.  Sometimes the applicable word is “sacrifice.”

I think that sometimes, when one faces disruption from the acts of others, one can ask, what does this other person (people) really need?

Picture: a “bamboo house” shell.

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