Modulations

A modulation is a "change from one key to another in a piece of music." Seems simple enough. Often they are, and, being a rather lazy songwriter, I'm a huge fan of a common-tone modulation, where a single note is sufficient to transpose one key into another, often in a single beat. Right now, though,…

Bedtime Stories

As I grow older, it is often more difficult to fall asleep. I know I'm not alone in this. Age brings with it more anxieties and activities than the sheep we might otherwise be counting and, honestly, the only cure I've found (aside from melatonin) is to return to reading bedtime stories. As I recently…

An Advent Poem

Empty, the sanctuary waits beneath a tree, beneath a cross— the branches a burden and trough to bear body and newborn king. White wails of a storm without are vespers whispered warm within, And yet echo infant, age-old cry — of beginning and of end. In the lonely silence, all is dead, yet all holds living…

Three Principles

As I was practicing piano the other day, I wrote a series of three questions to ask myself as I worked on each detail: Is it clean? Is it beautiful? Does it mean something? First, I work technically, listening even to exercises to discern if they are played with clarity and precision. Are they clean?…

Little Elegy

Walking through Cambridge, inspiration is difficult to avoid. My apologies to those on the sidewalk who had to go around me as I stopped to give this poor bird a proper elegy. "His eye is on the sparrow," so 'tis sung But 'neath some foot or wheel its feathers flung- Poor claws curled up in…

Mirror, Mirror had a Great Fall

There is a story to be found in anything and, I am finding, that there is also a theology to be found in any story. I feel this poem is an apt example of enjoying the beauty of an old tale reimagined while contemplating a truth that shimmered in the retelling. Mirror, Mirror Had Great…

Books from Abroad

I'm back from a six week tour and study trip to four different countries and, thanks to jet lag, my brain is wide awake while my body is still confused as to whether it's time for second breakfast or a mid-morning nap. So I will take advantage of this forced downtime to go on my…

In the Image

I just finished reading St. Athanasius' On the Incarnation and my heart is full as I ponder the awesomeness of its subject: the Word of God made flesh. I especially am captivated by the beauty of the Son of God as the Image of God and the restorer of humans created "in the image of God." …