MusingMuso Posted May 8, 2011 Share Posted May 8, 2011 On the assumption that confession is good for the soul, I confess fully and humbly, with a contrite heart, (or whatever it is that is required of a heart in such situations), that I made an utter and complete hash of mass this morning. You see, I picked up the wrong specs on the way out of the house, and whilst I have quite good long vision, when it comes to close up work or medium distance reading (such as a music desk), I need the appropriate spectacles with me. So I took my normal specs for normal vision, but picked up the wrong pair of reading-specs; the sort normally reserved picking ants out the sugar bowl and detecting weevils in bags of flour; that sort of thing anyway. There I was, hunched over the keyboards, looking about as comfortable as Max Reger pouring over his manuscripts in a hunched position; bottle bottoms perched on the end of his nose. It was a disaster waiting to happen when the priest, with a lamentable lack of judgement, passed me the copy for a hymn I had never played previously. (He does this quite often: I think as some sort of sadistic test of my abilities or lack of them). Although it was possible to pick individual specks of dust off the keys, actually finding the keys, (let alone the notes on the page), was problematic, and I was on auto-pilot for the most part; groping my way around like an ageing mole. This included playing a piece in G major, and misreading the key as D major.....what a fascinating world of mixed modes and atonal cacophony that was, until I abandoned it and continued to improvise in two keys simultaneously; skillfully conjoining each theme in the key of E as a sort of half-way compromise, hopefully giving the impression that the resulting harmonic train-wreck was entirely intentional. The irony of the situation was, that the priest told us how important it was to have faith in people and never to abandon hope. Well that's a silly thing to say, and I had to tell him afterwards that the realist is NEVER an optimist, and the only certainty is that people will invariably let you down when you least expect it. I don't know how many "Our fathers" and "Hail Mary's" it takes, or whether there will be some reduction in pay as penance. Having said that, I'm not sure that confession is really the appropriate course of action, because an organist's sins are laid bare in real time rather than in the retrospective, half-lit gloom of the purple-veiled confessional. There's a big difference between "Forgive me Father" and Father asking afterwards, "What the hell was that all about, are you drunk?" However, in the midst of this humiliating and musically turgid scenario, I did learn an important lesson about memory, because I played the Bach C-major 9/8 thingy after the mass, and even though I only had the vaguest visual outline of the music, (which to me, looked like a score by Ligeti) I got through it quite well. This shows that deep down, a work well practised is a work memorised; proving that there was nothing remotely special about the likes of Jean Langlais, Andre Marchal or Louis Vierne. I'm going to buy some bright red reading-spectacles. If they're good enough for Elton John..... MM Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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