Alonso Lobo: Versa est in luctum
Tenebrae, Nigel Short, Conductor

My harp is turned to grieving
and my flute to the voice of those who weep.
Spare me, O Lord,
for my days are as nothing.

Allegri: Miserere Mei
King’s College Choir; Stephen Cleobury, Conductor

Bernhard Lewkovitch: Exsultate
Coro de Cámara Ainur

Eurico Carrapatoso: O vos omnes
Coro de Cámara Ainur

Pange Lingua

Live recording of Pange Lingua by Saint Thomas Aquinas performed by Ars Nova Copenhagen and Paul Hillier at Garnisonskirken in Copenhagen, March 20th 2016.

Vers I, III & V: Gregorian chant
Vers II & VI: Anon. from the Trento Codices
Vers IV: Johannes Touront
Passages from the Trento Codices transcribed by Kees Boeke

Heinrich Schütz: Meine Seele erhebt den Herren SWV 426
Collegium Vocale Seoul; Sunah Kim, Conductor

When our country seems to be going from bad to worse. When I wonder when God will finally say “Enough!” music and poetry can speak to me, along with dwelling in the poetry of the Psalms. So I offer this word. I can’t print the words to the poem, as that would break copyright law, but if you click through on the YouTube video Jake Runestad has printed them with permission on the YouTube page.

The Peace of Wild Things by Jake Runestad. Performed by the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus. Michael Kerschner, conductor.

(Update: I prepared this some time ago. Had I known the horrors that would occur I would have chosen something else. I didn’t even realize what would be up until I checked later this evening. I will let it stand, but I am realizing that I should check the news every Sunday morning and then adjust my music when necessary. My heart aches. I’m sick of the violence. And I wish to never see another white man holding a gun. It does usually seem to be the white men who do these killings.)

Eric Whitacre: I thank You God for most this amazing day
Stanford Chamber Chorale and the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge; Stephen Layton, Conductor

Hans Leo Hassler: Cantate Domino
Chorus Salvatoris

A friend recently said he was packing in his particular art form, at least for now. He was weary. He mentioned that the mediocre things seemed to receive the most praise. The poor quality work seemed to get the most attention.

It’s true. That can happen.

I don’t name names. I won’t go there. But there are musicians that are extremely popular that I consider pretty awful. The “general public” (whatever that means!) might enjoy something that, to me, is simply not good. Sometimes it’s an artist they love. Sometimes it’s a composer. The same can go with photographers … some that I see as not-so-great are big hits.

But you know what? I’ve decided that it not my problem!

Coming to that conclusing was very freeing when it happened.

Whether a person likes my work or not is not what I will dwell upon. Because of my faith, I strongly believe I am called to do my best, and I’m called to glorify God. But I’m not called to be popular. I’m not called (or guaranteed) to make a lot of money (if any!). I’m not called to win over people. That is up to them, their ears and/or eyes, and how God may or may not move them. Trying to appeal to the masses … trying to make a lot of money … trying to be better than someone else … that just can’t be my goal.

That being said, of course I sometimes get envious. I sometimes wonder why I only went as far as I did in music (although, in truth, I know it had a lot to do with my laziness!). I sometimes wonder if I’m really just a bad musician/photographer and haven’t a clue that I am! But surely I must be “okay” at music, having survived in this music business for nearly forty-five years. I can hope! With my photography I haven’t a clue. I like what I do. That will have to suffice.

So I hear and see other work that is not only less-than-stellar but is just, plain and simple, bad. That is not my problem! I must let that go.

There will always be mediocrity. For all I know I’m only mediocre at my music and photography and simply don’t know it. But I attempt to do my best and I think that is what is of utmost importance.