A new organist in town!

Jieun Newland, newest organist in town

Jieun Newland, newest organist in town

In my last post, I told you that I was the new Membership Chair of the Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists, and that I was working on the membership directory. I am happy to report that our chapter will have gained several new members as a result of the post.

One of our new members is Jieun Kim Newland, an organist who graduated from Yale University with a master’s degree in organ performance in 2005. It just so happens her unusual name happened to pop up in my Facebook feed and I friended her. Her application listed a Colorado address, but also indicated that she was a dual member with the Hawaii Chapter.

Here’s what I found out about her online (at the time she was living in the Seattle area. Later she moved to Colorado.)

Jieun Kim Newland, a native of the Republic of Korea, earned her Master’s degree in organ performance from Yale University Institute Sacred of Music. She studied organ with Thomas Murray, organ improvisation with Jeffrey Brillhart, and harpsichord with Richard Rephann. Jieun served Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, MO as an organ scholar and assisted Canon John Schaefer. She served as choirmaster and organist at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church during her years in Yale.  In July 2007, Jieun’s husband Ben accepted a call to serve as Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Puyallup. Ben and Jieun moved to Pacific Northwest after Jieun’s graduation. She is currently serving as Director of Music Ministries/Organist at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. Ben and Jieun both enjoy their life in Pacific Northwest. They are owned by two feline agitators, Buxtehude & Widor.

Jieun took this picture of the Beckerath organ at LCH today.

Jieun took this picture of the Beckerath organ at LCH today.

Well, she and her husband Ben, moved to Honolulu as of yesterday (without pets) and today I took her around to several churches to see their organs, a mini-organ crawl you might call it. Tomorrow we’ll visit even more churches to see their organs. She and her husband will be housesitting for me while I am in Italy for the next two weeks. Ben will be serving as Episcopal Chaplain at Fort Shafter during their time in Hawaii.

And guess what, Jieun will be substituting at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu for the next two Sundays! That’s what happens when a new organist moves to town—she is immediately put to work!

Welcome, Jieun and Ben!

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My AGO peeps

The mission of the American Guild of Organists is to foster a thriving community of musicians who share their knowledge and inspire passion for the organ.

The vision of the American Guild of Organists is to engage, support, and uplift every organist.

As of July 1, I have a new responsibility—I’m the Membership Chair of the Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists. This means I have to be on the lookout for possible new members and encourage them to join our chapter. I just spent several hours this weekend working on our new Membership Directory and you might be surprised to learn that we have 60 members in the Hawaii Chapter. This may seem like a lot of folks, but it’s important to know that our chapter covers the entire state, and of those sixty, twelve live off-island, either on the neighbor islands or on the mainland (they have dual chapter status). Eight members are retired, three of our members are clergy and five are non-organists (whom we welcome, by the way!)

I first became an AGO member when my college professor told me I was supposed to join—I didn’t have a choice in the matter. But I have faithfully paid my dues and kept up my membership all these years.

May 29, 2017 meeting of the Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists

May 29, 2017 meeting of the Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists (members and friends)

But you know what? I can’t imagine not being a member—these are my peeps. As a former Hawaii Chapter member said, “Who else is going to know what a mixture is? Who else can you trade wedding stories with? Who else knows what it’s like to work every weekend, and every holiday? and then go to a ‘real’ job Monday through Friday?”

Now that I have our chapter’s membership records, though, I’m saddened to find out how many people who were once members and have not renewed. When I asked one former member about it, he answered, “I can’t afford it! I’m an organist!”

It’s true that being an organist is a lonely and poorly-paying job. The vast majority of AGO members are only part-time organists, and have to make their living doing something else. I feel almost like we are survivors on the Titanic, with ever dwindling numbers on this ocean of life. Do you remember my telling you that in the state of Hawaii, which has 1.4 million people, that there are only about a dozen of us who have a college degree in organ performance? We represent only 0.00000857142857 of the population! Yikes!

And that gave me an idea—what about giving a gift membership? We have a new precedent, in that our chapter dean, Karl Bachman, has given the first gift membership. Those of us who can afford it should consider this possibility.

Our first meeting will be in September and will introduce our Orgelkids working pipe organ kit to the membership. (Check out my post, “It’s that time again“) for a slideshow of what the kit looks like.)

I just ordered a T-Shirt like this!

I just ordered a T-Shirt like this!

So many people don’t even know what an organ is—remember when concert organist Nathan Laube came to Hawaii and he and Karl Bachman were having dinner in a Hawaii restaurant, the waiter didn’t know what an organist is?

Or remember my telling you that people used to come to the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, and at first glance would tell me, “What a big piano!”

If you are interested in becoming an AGO member, or giving a gift membership, or want to be put on our mailing list, please email me or make a comment below.

And don’t forget that we want to encourage those of you who want to learn how to play the King of Instruments: the deadline for applying for a Hawaii Chapter AGO scholarship is September 5th. Download an application here.



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On my soapbox

A couple things have prompted me to write this post. One is that I just got my August issue of The American Organist, the official journal of the American Guild of Organists.

One article in particular caught my eye: “Organists: a Dying Breed” by Rhonda Sider Edgington. She says that at first glance, things look bad for organists, if you look at the state of religion and the state of music education in the United States. Church membership continues to decline (which means organ jobs are fewer and fewer) and general music education classes are the first ones to be cut.

Many musicians are only employed part-time which means they have to either have multiple jobs and or have non-musical skills to pay the bills (like I and my husband did). The author was astounded to realize that the majority of American Guild of Organists members are only part-time musicians, as there are only a handful of full-time jobs.

She tells of a colleague who asks, “What’s the point of encouraging young people to go into the organ when the future of our profession looks so bleak?”

Rudolf von Beckerath Organ, 1975

Rudolf von Beckerath Organ, 1975

The other thing that prompted me to write this post was that the day before I left on my European trip, a little over a month ago, I was shocked to open the mail and find a four-figure check from the Lutheran Church of Honolulu! When I asked the church secretary about it, she told me it was for the purpose of teaching two of the children in the parish.

Wow, wow, wow! I was truly amazed and happy to learn this, because to me it meant that the church was investing in its future, and trying to insure that the organ continues to be played. I wish other churches who are trying to deal with the organist shortage would have done something similar years ago.

Let me say at this time that I am truly grateful that the Lutheran Church of Honolulu continues to allow me to use their organ for teaching — even though it has been over four years that I retired as organist. Long ago the church made the instrument for practice available to “outsiders” — since money was received by community foundations and other non-members to purchase the instrument, the church has had an open-door policy regarding use of the organ.

Some of my young organ students played in a recital last spring.

A photo of some of my young organ students who played in a recital, spring 2009.

Which brings me to another point—Yesterday I met a Canadian woman who contacted me some time ago about her desire to try to find a church for organ practice during her stay in Hawaii. She has literally had the door slammed in her face with the answer, “Absolutely not!” She made the comment, “People here just don’t value the organ like they do back home.”

This is not a new phenomenon in Hawaii or anywhere else. I ask the question, how are people going to be able to learn to play the organ if churches don’t let them practice?

When I was in Paris in 1968 to study with Marcel Dupré, one of my first tasks was to find a place to practice. Another of Dupré’s American students and I went around the city and merely said, “We are students of Marcel Dupré. May we play the organ?” and the answer was always, “Yes, of course.”

The article in the AGO magazine did end on a hopeful note: the musical endeavors that really count are those that are done in our hometown. “I believe that the rewards of investing in our own local musical communities can be great, despite the covert or even overt messages from our workplace, general profession, or simply the voices in our own heads whispering that such things don’t really matter… That is where—through our friends, families, work colleagues, church members, and students—we have the greatest concentration of potential audience members that we will ever have in one spot.”

It is why I continue to teach organ. I close with a poem that has been floating around the internet for awhile, and have modified it to fit the organ.

This is why I teach the organ
... not because I expect you to
become an organ major,

not because I expect you to play all your life,
… not so you can relax,
        not so you can have fun playing the pedals,
but so you will be human,
   so you will recognize beauty,
   so you will be closer to an infinite
beyond this world,

… so you will have something to cling to,
      so you have more love, more compassion,
more gentleness

          … more good
In short, more Life. (author unknown)


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It’s that time again

Did you see this announcement in yesterday’s Star-Advertiser? (I highlighted it, just so you could find it easier!)

Organ Scholarship announcement

Organ Scholarship announcement, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, August 5, 2017

Yes, it’s that time again—applications for studying the organ will be coming due soon. If ever you had a hankering to play the organ, that magnificent King of Instruments, now’s your chance! I can’t imagine there is no one who cannot learn to play the organ (unless you’re a toddler still in diapers!)—everyone is eligible to apply and there’s no age restriction. [However, you do have to live in Hawaii!]

The scholarship is named after local organist Don Conover, who twenty-five years ago, decided that people should give money to educate organists, instead of taking money for a 50th birthday. The idea is that the American Guild of Organists will pay for HALF of your lessons for a period of three years, with a cap of $1,000 subsidy over the three years. How incredibly generous!

You can check out the impressive list of student recipients by clicking here. Many of those have gone on to become church organists, both locally and on the mainland. You’ll also find the name of Joey Fala, concert organist now based at Duke University!

Joey Fala, AGO Scholarship recipient, with the late John McCreary.

Joey Fala, AGO Scholarship recipient, with the late John McCreary.

In the meantime, the Hawaii Chapter AGO has just received its very own Orgelkids pipe organ kit! This is a REAL pipe organ which can be assembled AND played by children as a means of introducing them to the King of Instruments!

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Okay, you’re sold. If you would like to download a scholarship application, click here: Scholarship-Application

And if you would like to re-read my post about the organist shortage, you can click here: “Desperately. Seeking. Organists.” Even though I wrote the post two years ago, the situation is no different today. It’s nigh impossible to find an organist substitute!

(By the way, when I was in England, I told a local organist that I did a lot of “subbing.” He told me in England it’s call “depping” — as in being a “deputy” organist. Isn’t this quaint!)


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Duty calls …

I’ve been home now for three days and am having a miserable time with jet lag. My first night, I didn’t arrive into Honolulu until 10:30 pm, and by the time I retrieved my luggage, it was after 11:00 pm when I tried to sleep. Mind you, I had been awake since 6:30 am London time (11 hours off from Hawaii time), and watched five movies and three TV shows en route! My flight from London to San Francisco was delayed by two hours, which meant that I missed my connecting Hawaii flight. I ended up landing in Kahului, Maui, and transferring to Hawaiian Airlines, for an additional flight to Honolulu. Thank you for this, United Airlines!

Well, it wasn’t until 5:00 am that I fell asleep, absolutely exhausted! But it wasn’t for long—I was up by 7:30 am, just 2-1/2 hours later! The next few nights I’ve awakened at 1:00 and 1:30 am accordingly. Today has been better: 3:05 am! I’ve decided that since I’m awake at those ungodly hours, I may as well be productive and have managed to take care of some of my responsibilities—yes, even though I’m officially retired, I have commitments!

My first early morning project (timestamped 1:26 am–yikes!) was creating a postcard for Early Music Hawaii’s opening concert: Purcell, Royal Odes and Anthems. This concert is slated for Saturday, September 16 at 7:30 pm at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.

Director Scott Fikse has assembled a stellar cast to perform an all-Purcell program, including “The Bell Anthem,” “Ode for Queen Mary’s Birthday,” and “Ode for King James,” and the famous “Dido’s Lament.” Guess who will be playing organ continuo?

I also just finished the monthly newsletter for my condo association. It’s just a two-pager, but still takes time to collect the various stories and lay it out.

While I was in Europe, a high-rise condominium fire in Honolulu made international news, as there were three fatalities, a dozen people injured, and 30% of the building’s over 500 apartments were damaged. I reminded my readers that my building has sprinklers and monthly fire alarm tests, so we’re okay on that score.

Then yesterday, I was back to teaching organ lessons—five, to be exact. I am grateful to my former organ student, Joey Fala, for teaching my kiddos in my absence!

Lunch to say goodbye again to Joey.

Joey took me out to lunch at Bloomingdales—my first time in the new Honolulu store. He left the next day to take up new responsibilities as the Organ Scholar of Duke University—I hope to visit him in the spring when the flowers are blooming.

As I’m painfully getting over my jet lag, I’m already getting ready for my next trip, the Historic Organ Study Tour to Venice and the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, for which I’ll leave in just two weeks. Yes, back across two ponds, and back to a 12-hour time zone difference! We’ll be visiting and playing 27 organs in the cities of Venice, Treviso, and the magnificent ski area of Cortina d’Ampezzo.

We have been alerted by the tour director, Bruce Stevens, that twelve of the organs are one manual only from the 17th and 18th centuries, with only a short pedal board. Ten other instruments are two manuals but also have short pedal boards. In other words, I’ve been on the hunt for music with either no pedals at all or with limited pedal work.

Chiesa di San Trovaso, Venice

1765 G. Callido organ

Looking forward to visiting these beautiful churches and playing these organs! (even though I’ll be jet-lagged!)


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An English Farewell

Peter Nardone, conductor (Photo credit: Herefordshiretimes.com)

“Undimmed grief” is what composer Herbert Howells suffered when he and his wife suffered the loss of their son, Michael, aged nine, from polio. He wrote:

I am completely frozen and all the sympathy and kindness in the world couldn’t help. Friends tried, but I knew I had to get something out of me that had taken possession; I needed to write a special type of work. In the first year after he died I jotted down a few notes and put them in order in the following two years, when I was a little more social and sensible. It was completed in 1938 but it was a private document and I didn’t want to share it with the public.

The work, Hymnus Paradisi, was premiered at the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival on Sept. 7, 1950, fifteen years and one day after the death of Howells’ son.

That was the closing work of the 2017 Three Choirs Festival which we heard tonight. It was based on the traditional words of the Requiem, in addition to the Lord’s Prayer, Sanctus, I heard a voice from heaven and Holy is the true light. 

At times there were some quiet, melancholy moments; other times great swaths of chords washed over us. Surprisingly it ended very quietly, a thoughtful end to a fantastic week of great music.

The other pieces on the program were Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music and Gerald Finzi’s and Dies Natalis.

As I experienced last year, this Festival has been off the charts in terms of music making at its highest level. What makes it so special are the cathedral acoustics, the extraordinary level of musicianship from soloists, choirs and orchestra; and the camaraderie that is built among the audience members. I mean, after sitting next to the same people night after night, concert after concert, you develop a bond.

Yup, you guessed it—I’ve already booked my hotel in Hereford for next year’s Three Choirs Festival!

P.S. Guess who I saw tonight—Stephen Strugnell who lives in Honolulu, and plays the organ at St. Timothy’s in Aiea, was here for the final concert!

Farewell, Worcester!

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The Gold Standard

This afternoon’s concert at the Three Choirs Festival was by the world-famous Kings College Choir conducted by Stephen Cleobury. It was sponsored by the American Friends of the Three Choirs Festival to which I contributed.

For decades my late husband Carl Crosier and I listened to the Kings College recordings and out of their concert today of 14 choral anthems, only three of them were new to me. The rest were all pieces Carl had programmed at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, and I had either played or sung them during my years as organist there.

Stephen Cleobury, director

Those included O sing unto the Lord; When David heard (Tompkins); Ave verum corpus; Haec dies (Byrd); Warum ist das Licht gegeben; Schaffe mir, Gott (Brahms); Locus iste (Bruckner); Cantate Domino: Adoramus te Christe (Monteverdi Vespers); Remember not, Lord, our offences (Purcell); and Nunc dimittis (Howells Collegium Regale). 

I couldn’t help thinking if Carl had not bought those recordings, and then scheduled our choir to perform them,  I would not have known all those works!

Kings College Cambridge set the gold standard not only in terms of choral literature but also in beautiful choral musicianship.

My favorite part of the concert was when the boy sopranos absolutely soared on the high Gs of the Howells Nunc dimittis. I was thinking that during Evensong people don’t applaud the choir, so finally we got our chance to clap for them on a piece that normally would only be heard in the context of Evensong.

The choir also sung an encore which no other group has done during the Festival and again it was a piece that Carl had programmed in our church: Hymn to the virgin by Benjamin Britten.

Of course, the choir sang well, but there was also a bit of nostalgia —director Stephen Cleobury had once been a chorister here at Worcester Cathedral, from 1958-1963 and for him it was a bit of a homecoming. The pieces he chose for this concert were those he remembered as a Worcester chorister.

We were fortunate to hear Kings College Choir twice in 1992 and 1999 at their annual Lessons and Carols service on Christmas Eve—which meant standing in the queue for 5-1/2 hours beforehand. We also heard them sing Evensong during several summer trips to England. There is something very special about hearing the choir in their own building with its high vaulted ceilings which contribute to the blossoming of their sound.

In the morning I took a tour of Worcester Cathedral which the guide apologized for since a rehearsal of the orchestra and chorus for tonight’s concert was going on simultaneously and it was so loud that he could not be heard over it. Still he pointed out parts of the Cathedral I had not noticed before.

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On the next to last day…

Sir Edward Elgar statue in Worcester.

It was only today, the next to last day of the Three Choirs Festival 2017, that the construction fencing came down around Cathedral Square and we were able to see the statue of Sir Edward Elgar!

The plaque reads: Sir Edward Elgar, who rose from obscurity to become England’s greatest composer for 200 years, was born on 2nd June 1867 at Broadheath near Worcester. Later he lived in this City where his father had a music-shop at 10 High Street.

He was organist, violinist, teacher, conductor, and self-taught composer. After 1900 his compositions won international recognition, the best known being The Dream of Gerontius, the Enigma Variations, the two symphonies, the concertos for violin and cello, and Land of Hope and Glory. He drew his inspiration from the English countryside, saying “Music is in the air all around us.”

From 1878 to 1933 he associated with the Three Choirs Festival held in Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester. The statue shows him at the age of 64 in the robes of a Doctor of Music which he often wore when conducting at these Festivals.

Well, at least we got to see the statue before the Festival is over!

We sat in the Choir stalls for the organ recital.

This morning I attended the Celebrity Organ Recital featuring Wayne Marshall, whose program began and ended with organ improvisations. That’s ad libbing, or “making it up on the spot.” The program mentioned that improvisation is much more developed on the European continent, and the English practice of just playing through the first line of the hymn as an organ introduction is thought of as inadequate. 

No worries, Marshall’s improvisations were very inventive, and his constantly changing registration changes showed off the organ well. He played a huge program including the Trois danses by Jehan Alain, the Deuxième symphonie by Marcel Dupré, and the Fantasy and Fugue on Ad nos ad salutarum by Franz Liszt—the concert was over two hours long with no intermission!

I was reminded that my late husband, Carl, had always urged me to learn the Trois danses but I never did, thinking it was too difficult. Now, if ever I get the time, I might try it.

I did go to Evensong where the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis was from the Jesus service by William Mathias—a piece I had played!

Tonight’s concert was the Mozart Mass in C minor, and all the soloists were good, but the soprano, Katharine Fuge, was absolutely outstanding, the perfect Mozart soprano with a clear, flexible tone. I could have listened to her all night! Luckily she performs with John Eliot Gardiner and many other performing groups.

Mozart soloists Gillian Keith, Katharine Fuge, conductor Adrian Partington, Joshua Ellicott and Robert Rice

The second half of the program was Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony No. 12 in D minor written in 1917, one hundred years ago. It was evocative of the turmoil and uncertainty of the Bolshevik Revolution and had extremes of dynamics including an almost constant piccolo part. It was so loud at times that I was tempted to put my fingers in my ears!

The person who sat next to me pointed out the very tall piccolo player—thought to be over 7′! Ironic, isn’t it! The biggest person in the orchestra with the smallest instrument!

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A perfect pair: Dove and Fauré

Tonight’s two major works at The Three Choirs Festival could not have been paired more perfectly: Jonathan Dove’s There was a child and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. You see, the Dove piece was commissioned by Rosemary Pickering to celebrate the young life of her son, Robert, who drowned at age 19 while snorkeling in Thailand.

“Jonathan has completely captured Robert’s spirit in this modern oratorio which traces a young life, from birth through childhood to young manhood, through a sequence of poems. Robert was a thoughtful, warm, happy, fun-loving, fearless person with great compassion and love of mankind; he grabbed every opportunity that came his way and his adventurous spirit has inspired all of us who knew and loved him —he would have been delighted to have had such a joyous piece of music written to celebrate his life and the lives of all young people taken from us too soon.”

Indeed, and joyous it was, with a freshness of harmony and humor. There is, of course, the moment when death had come, and music was very dark. The chorus sings words from Shakespeare’s King John in two word sobs:

Grief fills / the room / up of / my ab-/ sent child / Lies in / his bed / walks up / and down / with me

But the piece did not end there, and closed with Walt Whitman’s There was a child went forth which radiates joy.

Fauré said his Requiem was called “a lullaby of death”, a welcome deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than a painful experience.

We all know every note of Fauré’s Requiem, but tonight what was so extraordinary for me, was the sensitive string playing of the Philharmonia Orchestra, especially the violins.

The soprano sang the Pie Jesu with great tenderness while the bass was equally  outstanding in Libera me. The Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir and the Choristers of the Three Cathedral Choirs were superb, conducted by Adrian Partington.

The Choristers of the Three Choirs

Talk about perfection—in the afternoon we heard The Cardinall’s Musick,  a 10-voice vocal ensemble singing music of Sheppard, Cornysh, Tye, Mundy, Taverner, Byrd and Tallis. The balance, shaping of vocal lines, and intonation were all perfect from this 2-woman, 8-man group conducted by Andrew Carwood.

The Cardinall’s Musick

In the morning I explored parts of Worcester Cathedral outside of my concert seats! King John is buried in the chancel, there is a Handel organ and I ate a big breakfast so that I could climb the 235 steps up to the tower!

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On the way down I heard the choir rehearsing the Fauré. How magical!

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‘More an orgy than a mass’

A couple of nights ago, I sat next next to a man who said that he has been coming to the Three Choirs Festival every year since 1965. That’s over 50 years!

Another woman told me she has been regular attendee for the last 40 years. Many of these people sit in the front section of the cathedral, “have come here for years,” and come to know the people who sit around them.

It is because of people like this that the Three Choirs Festival programs many seldom-heard works; after all, these people don’t want to say that they hear the same old stuff, year after year.

[As an aside, may I say that the people in the audience at the Three Choirs Festival are the nicest and friendliest ever. I have been drawn into a conversation by nearly every one of my seat neighbors at every single concert. I can’t ever say that I’ve engaged in conversation with any of my seat neighbors in America unless I already know them.]

For people like me, hearing last night’s Glagolitic Mass by Leoš Janáček was a first, in fact, I had never heard any of the music on the program before. In many ways, it was somewhat of a relief after hearing the first half of the program. The concert started with Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen. I am sorry, this piece to me just meandered and I couldn’t hold on to any of it. It was written for strings only, but no ordinary configuration. There were 23 separate solo parts, making for “a complex polyphony, relentless pathos and virtuosic solo-as-texture … driving forces” according to the program notes.

The second work was Torsten Rasch’s A Welsh Night, which was commissioned by the Hereford Three Choirs Festival in 2015 for voice and piano accompaniment. This year it was fully orchestrated including a full complement of percussion. I did enjoy the poetry by Alun Lewis, but as I told my seat mates, I certainly did not come out remembering any melodies, but only the dissonance.

Bows with the composer who was in the audience.

Described as ‘more an orgy than a mass,’ the Glagolitic Mass by Leoš Janáček was “a glorious explosion of life.” The text of the mass was mistranslated into high church Slavonic by Janáček, omitting several parts of the mass.

I think the fact that Janáček was non-religious to the extreme and wrote this piece more as a patriotic than a religious work is important to remember. Even though he was brought up as a Catholic, he said that the church was ‘concentrated death … tombs under the floor, bones on the altar, pictures full of torture and dying .. death and nothing but death. I do not want to have anything to do with it.” He even refused extreme unction when he was dying.

That said, I finally stopped trying to follow the text in the program, and tried to just listen to the work as a piece of music, because to me, the text of the mass did not fit the nature of the music. Here’s a little video clip with Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic.

I actually liked the work, although the word that kept coming back to me was the word ‘tormented.’ I tried to put the work in the context of the long-suffering Czech people now that I have just visited that country and learned about their many years of persecution.

I was sitting in row 10 for this concert.

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