09.2013 Archives


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The Trinity Choir and Benjamin Britten’s Antiphon
El 14 de septiembre de 2013. Hola. The full Trinity Choir returned on Domingo/Sunday (el 8 de septiembre de 2013) to Trinity Church Wall Street (Anglican) in lower Manhattan. I was looking forward to the full Chorus returning and was hoping that the choristers from last season would be back. They are! All except for about two. They are a very prized/valued group of choristers, in my opinion. The processional hymn was Nicaea (Text: Holy, Holy, Holy) and there were dos/two descants for that hymn sung by the sopranos and tenors (I like that and Julian did that once before with “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken). So not just one descant, but two and I would guess that the descants were written by Dr Julian Wachner, their director. Yes, they had a descant while in procession (which is sort of unique) and then the sopranos and tenors sang another descant while “in place” at the High Altar. It was beautiful. I liked both descants and Julian changed the harmonies on the last verse of the hymn to match the descant. With most choirs, you’re lucky to get one descant out of them! There is another Anglican descant for Nicaea which I like (it’s similar to Julian’s first descant), but it’s rarely sung for some reason. Maybe Trinity would do that descant sometime. That descant goes like this as best as I remember it since I’ve only heard it on one occasion. Let’s say that the hymn is in D major:

The descant starts on the A above Middle C (and goes up the keyboard) and these are all quarter note values to make it easier to understand, and the hymn is in 4/4 meter:

A A (up) D D E E F# F# G G G G (down) F# D A,
A A (up) D D F# F# (down) E C# A (up) C# E E E (down) C# A
A A (up) D D E E F# F# G G G G (down) F# D A
D D D D D D D D D (back down) B (back up) C# D D

That’s the descant as I remember it if the hymn (Nicaea) is in D Major.

I should mention the psalm setting for this liturgy. The Anglican Chant setting was by Sir Hubert Parry. It was lovely and soothing. Extremely clear diction. Nice organ accompaniment from Guest Organist, Erik Suter. As the Choir was seated following the psalm I said to mi amigo (watching the video with me), “well that was polished.” I could understand every word and I wasn’t looking at the service leaflet. The psalm begins at 22.22 in the video (click on the Read more here link below).

Then Julian (who seems to have improved from his shoulder injury earlier this year…glad to see he’s doing better) conducted the Chorus in the Offertory Anthem: Benjamin Britten’s Antiphon (which begins at 58.20 in the video). Do you know that piece? I think I’ve heard it before but I don’t know it well at this time, although I suspect I will know it quite well in about a week from listening to The Trinity Choir. The Trinity Youth Chorus assisted The Trinity Choir. The Britten was absolutely splendid! Mi amigo called it “stunning.” You’d have to hear it by watching the video to know what I’m talking about. Three choristers from The Trinity Choir were in the back Gallery of the church and they and The Trinity Choir answered each other throughout the piece, which is what an Antiphon is.

When the piece ended, I said to mi amigo: They sang THAT on the first Sunday back? I think most choir directors would reserve that piece for the most special of occasions to pull it off half-as well (if that) as The Trinity Choir did. Most choir directors would not do that piece the first Sunday back. They would instead do something “safe” that all the choristers already know and have sung many times before to get them “warmed up” from being gone all Summer. Well, The Trinity Choir doesn’t need to get “warmed up” in that context and Julian is fortunately not like “most choir directors” and so the resident congregation and internet congregation had a real treat with the Britten Antiphon. As I said earlier, I was watching the liturgy with mi amigo and he said at the end of the Britten, “Damn, they’re good! (Mi amigo got his ear chorally trained by listening to Robert Shaw’s (at that time) Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Anglican Cathedral Choirs of Men and Boys/Girls). I’m glad The Trinity Choir sounds as good as they did last season.” I am too. Yes, they do. I agree. Mi amigo asked me how long The Trinity Choir would have worked on that piece (the Britten). Well obviously I don’t know for sure but based on my own choral experience (Cathedral Choir and Orchestra Chorus) and their superb skill level, they (Trinity) may have rehearsed the Britten at most three times, maybe even just twice. Some of or most of the choristers may have already known the piece from their previous choral experience and with their very high skill level and superior sight-reading abilities, it wouldn’t require much work for The Trinity Choir. Julian probably rehearsed it in the Nave once or twice particularly to check the sections where the choristers in the Gallery and the full Chorus answer each other. Now of course some other Chorus with a much lower skill level would have to work many months on that piece to try to achieve the same outstanding results.

And being High Church people, we were also very pleased to see the incense not rushed through at The Gospel reading and with the censing of the free-standing altar. Both priests took their time. Muchísimas gracias.

I suspect other churches in Manhattan are seething with envy at the stellar quality of the brilliant Trinity Choir and Julian Wachner.

The guest organist for this Liturgy looked familiar to me but I couldn’t identify him immediately. He is Erik Suter, one of the former organists at Washington National Cathedral. He still fills in there on occasion. I also liked Erik’s organ voluntary: Allegro deciso, from Evocation by the French composer Marcel Dupré. Read more here

Do you walk your dog or your gadget?
Dogs and Cats will become obsolete in the future
Animals of the past

El 12 de septiembre de 2013. Hola. I’m seeing more and more people walking their gadget with their lonely dog tagging along. Their gadget is getting all the devotion, love and attention that the dog should be getting (and wants) and maybe used to get. But the dog’s guardian, a text-gadget addict, ignores his/her dog and remains focused on that all-important screen. Even though we’ve had many muggings in San Francisco of people having their gadgets stolen, people still don’t seem concerned. They really seem oblivious to it. They walk at any hour of the night even in dark, isolated areas glued to that gadget. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if in the future people only have dogs and cats on their gadgets in the form of apps that people go to on their gadget. That would be enough for many people. By doing that, there would be no more having to walk one’s dog or give the dog love and attention or buy food for him/her or deal with vet bills or any of that. One would have more time to stare at one’s gadget screen, like many people are already doing. What I’m talking about may take a while, but with the disinterest I see people having in their own dogs, I question why they became a guardian of their dog to begin with. I couldn’t ignore my dog or cat the way I see people ignoring their dog.

What’s the problem with gadget addicts having “pet” dogs and cats by app only? Well, our society will have an abundance of dogs and cats that few people want because their gadgets are more important to them, and we know where that leads when there’s an abundance of dogs and cats. Sad.

I told mi amiga/my friend I was writing this article and she kindly sent me an e-mail regarding a new report about gadget crime in San Francisco.

“I read today that in San Francisco over fifty percent of robberies daily are connected with gadgets. Sixty-seven percent of robberies in San Francisco include gadgets. I read that some fool guy had two gadgets and his wallet stolen from him last week near 14th Street and Sánchez in San Francisco. He was texting at around midnight near that intersection. What idiot would do that at that time of night? Right after he sent his text message two guys approached him and robbed him at gunpoint and wanted everything he had on him. He said he was texting to someone about a block away. Why didn’t he just call them? He claimed his text was a business transaction. Sure it was. That happens to me all the time. I’m always doing business transactions around midnight. Don’t you? I guess it could have been or was he on one of those sex apps trying to do a sex hookup? You and I have talked about this many times. What fool would be in any major city around midnight and completely oblivious to their surroundings absorbed with their texting? You and I see this frequently. This guy who was assaulted said he thinks that maybe the guys who assaulted him saw his gadget screen light from a distance. That’s a reasonable assumption, dude. People walk by my apartment building late at night and I’ll happen to look out the window and see them walking by and I see their gadget screen lit up and they’re texting not even looking around or looking where they’re going or looking behind them. Why do (stupid) people think that they are immuned from any troubles on the street just because they are glued in to that fucking gadget with texting addiction? Get off the damn thing. Throw it in the trash where it belongs and then maybe you can walk on the sidewalk without running into people, such as me. Look up and see the world and start talking to people again! Gracias, mi amor, for letting me say what I have to say.” Read more here