From the Chaplain

By Troeger, Thomas H. | The American Organist, May 2011 | Go to article overview

From the Chaplain


Troeger, Thomas H., The American Organist


Before the First Note: Getting Centered

WHENEVER I am about to give a sermon or a lecture or perform on the flute, I first need to get "centered." Conductors and organists know all about this. Think of choir rehearsals: people arrive with many things going on in their lives: a fight with their boss, a sick child, a job interview, results from a medical test. The amount of mental and bodily energy they have to support their voice on pitch with an unforced, clear sound is not much until they get centered. Or think of performing on the organ. You sit there for a moment, and before the first note you get centered. You turn on the blower, take a deep breath, release from your mind all the other things you need to do, set your stops, position your hands and feet, and begin.

The need to be centered became especially vivid to me last month when I was asked to preach at a service of worship featuring the Mass Number 2 in E Minor by Anton Bruckner (1824-96). I read several biographies and books of musical analysis and listened to a fine recording of the work. I found Bruckner's story to be a parable of what it means to become centered in one's life and art. Because Bruckner is one of history's legendary organists, I think his story may have special appeal to the readers of this journal. Upon receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna, Bruckner said, "I cannot find the words to thank you as I would wish, but if there were an organ here, I could tell you."1

Bruckner was a devout Roman Catholic. His mother had a beautiful soprano voice and sang in the High Masses of their local church. As a small child, Bruckner often sat on the organ bench next to his father, who played for the services. After his father died, when Anton was only twelve years old, his mother took him to sing in the choir and to live in the community of St. Florian, a monastery with a magnificent organ.

In his adult years, during times of stress and exhaustion, Bruckner often returned to St. Florian to find again his spiritual and artistic center. As one of his biographers wrote: St. Florian "reflects virtually every facet of his musical output: the glory of its Baroque architecture, cradled in the gentle hillside of the Upper Austrian landscape, the fervor of its cloistered and mystical Catholicism, the sound of the great organ . …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

From the Chaplain
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.