Tuesday Miscellany

– the Prism Quartet plays with guests Chris Potter and Ravi Coltrane on June 9th at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia and June 10th at Symphony Space in New York. It’s the next installment of Heritage/Evolution, a project featuring new work by top jazz saxophonists, created for Prism.

– I was walking up Fifth Avenue a week ago Sunday, early for a Mass I was going to attend in celebration of the anniversary of a friend’s ordination as a priest. I decided to stop in at St. Patrick’s for a few minutes before continuing on my way to that anniversary celebration. It was shortly before the main Mass of the day at the cathedral, and the following little incident says something about the role of the arts in the liturgy of my denomination. An organ prelude begins: a Bach trio sonata. Pretty classy, no? Then – while the Bach is still going – someone steps up the microphone with a cheery “Good morning and welcome…” The trio sonata became a more or less pleasant, vaguely “church-y” background noise, or, rather, it became clear that it had been understood by those shaping the liturgy as background noise all along. There’s a rather different experience of Bach and of music in general at Emmanuel Church, which I have often written about here. It’s a place where my motets and Bach cantatas and organ works are understood to be an integral part of the service, not just atmosphere. My music takes on a pastoral role in that context.

– try taking this test to see if you can tell the difference between compressed and uncompressed audio files. I’ve been in situations where I felt a musical recording didn’t sound well, with a squished dynamic range, and it turned out to be a compressed file, but I was horrified to see how badly I did on the test, even with decent headphones.

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