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Michael Hammer
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just checking in
This has been, if you've been reading the blog for a while, an odd semester. Back in March I was diagnosed with cancer, which, as I mentioned in The Temerity of a Tumor , might well require an interruption in this blog. And well it did. Fortunately it was a...

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Sin, sin, sin!
The following is Pianonoise's first, and so far only, book review: There are two images to take note of on the back
of Steve Shoemakers' new book, "A Sin a Week" (Mayhaven Publishing). One shows a heavily bearded, stern looking preacher who
could ha...

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out for a walk -- be back changed
Two composers went for a walk. This isn't a joke. It just sounds like the setup for a joke. Let me tell it to you first. The composers names were Johannes Brahms and Gustave Mahler. Mahler was a strapping youth full of energy and the standard cocktail of ar...

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Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord
What was he thinking? What was in Francois Couperin's head while he was writing "Mass for the Parishes?" Specifically, what did he have in mind for the 2nd verse of the Sanctus, which happens to be what I'll be "feeding" my congregation this weekend. I'll b...

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The temerity of a tumor
It's called a mediastinal seminoma. The first word refers to the region of the chest directly behind the sternum-right in the upper middle-, and the second is a kind of germ tumor which typically grows there. Not too typically, understand. It is rare enou...

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No place for the timid
There's a little bromide that used to be very popular on wedding programs, that, like most really popular bits of sentiment, didn't sit well with me. It was meant to be really nice, of course: Don't lead me, I may not follow Don't follow me, I may not lead ...

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going Medieval
We've been going for walks on Mondays of late, listening to pieces of music with the curious title "praeambulum." This is not the same as your standard-issue prelude, which of course, means it comes "before a lude." Incidentally, the German term for this is...

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Dancing the Walk
For a couple of weeks I've been obsessed with the term praeambulum, as it relates to walking, or coming before, or an emergency vehicle that isn't ready yet--- wait, that's a pre-ambulance. You see how confusing these terms can get? Terms that have been in ...

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In three days, Easter will be here. If you are an organist, however, you get stuck in a time warp. Easter has already been here. The instant the Holy Thursday service ended in darkness and silence, you ran across the hall and started to rehearse Easter musi...

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The right notes at the right time
"with regard to organ playing, there is nothing to it. You simply strike the right notes at the right time and the instrument plays itself."                                                              --J. S. Bach When it comes to accompanying, it is neces...
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