31 July 2005

Shoes and Sorbet

This morning I went to Mass at Our Lady of Knock Shrine in East Durham, NY. I sat near a stained glass window depicting St. Peter, and was pleased to note that St. Peter was wearing red shoes.

Last night, I discovered that the chef at the Freehold Inn has stumbled upon the only good use of white zinfandel: as flavoring for a sorbet. It was delicious. I offer no apologies to the white zinfandel drinkers in the crowd; it is my duty as a certified Wine Snob to proclaim to the world that white zinfandel is an abomination. Except in a sorbet.

After two weeks of a French immersion course, I can now say "Un chasseur sachant chasser sans son chien chasse bien" quite fast, and hope to be able to converse a little with Lizzy next school year. If anyone wants to learn a lot of a language in two weeks, I highly reccomend the Language Immersion Institute at the State University of New York, New Paltz. No guarantees on what languages are available, though--I originally signed up for German, which didn't go forward because only two people requested it.

23 July 2005

Palestrina, Contemporary Liturgy, and Very Short Fingernails

Yes, I am being a copy-cat. Matt has blogged about starting work on his thesis, so I’ve decided to go ahead and blog about having started on mine, even though the topic was settled on sometime around mid-April and this is old news. If you’re not particularly interested in liturgical music, the following explanation will probably bore you.

The title given in the proposal that the music faculty approved was something like “The use of the motets of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina in contemporary liturgy.” It’s a little unwieldy, perhaps, but not as bad as some of the thesis titles I’ve read. It’s basically in three parts. Two of the parts are settled. The first: a listing of Palestrina’s motets which are based on the Proper of the Mass along with which days they belong to--both pre-V2 and post-V2, since the Propers were rearranged a little, and a short list of where the motets may be found (i.e. the three complete works editions, and possibly editions from a few major publishers which are currently in print).

Part the second: a couple of Palestrina’s many, many SATTB works arranged for a voicing more practical for a modern choir (SSATB, SAATB—there are a lot more women in the average parish choir than men) as example pieces. Nearly all of Palestrina’s Offertories, probably the most easily-employed pieces, are SATTB, and I believe this keeps them from more frequent use.

Part Three: a lot of writing, probably involving a history of how the motets were used in history, and why it is important that they continue to be used in the liturgy.

Whatever else you may say about why you like Victoria or Lasso better, etc., Palestrina is the one that everyone held up as the model of church music—to the point where he was even set down in legend as the “Savior of Church Music.” He’s tremendously important, and though those of us who sing his music regularly are in danger of thinking him a cliché, his music really is sublime.

I don’t really know if anyone will be interested in reading my thesis, but my advisor has hopes that I will be able to submit it for publication when it’s finished—if I do a decent job and don’t completely muck it up. I suspect that it is a topic of more general interest than some music theses I’ve read about. Anyone for the history of Jamaican music in London, or common medical problems of french horn players?

I’ve done some of the work on Part One already. As a surprise, my mother bought me a copy of Haberl edition of Palestrina’s Complete Works on microfilm, then sent it off to a company that copies microfilm onto CD-rom. I will soon possess what just might be the first CD-rom of the Complete Works ever (there certainly are none for sale). Muahahaha. When I get the CD, I can continue work, and should have Part One finished by the end of the summer, with hopefully some research done for Part Three. Part Three must be finished (as in, edited, revised, reviewed and ok’d by my advisor) by mid-December, because it will be shipped off along with my grad school applications. Yes, that is the sound of me biting my fingernails a la “Looney Toons,” complete with typewriter sound-effect.

16 July 2005

I solemnly swear I am up to no good.

I admit that:

1. I pre-ordered a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
2. I attended two midnight release parties.
3. I stayed up all night to read it.
4. I've already finished it. Yes, that means I know who the Half-Blood Prince is and how the book ends. No, I'm not telling.
5. I disagree with this article: Pope disapproves of Harry Potter. Let's pull out our Grains of Salt. They quote casual remarks made in two private letters sent before he became pope--remarks which could easily be misconstrued or misquoted. I think I might prefer to see the rest of the letter before making such a statement. Either way, it could be harmful to JK Rowling as well as our Pope. Either way, I still find it a little fishy.

Mischief managed.

01 July 2005

You Know You're a Catholic Nerd When...

...the last bachelor/bachelorette party you attended included adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and recitation of the rosary.