Introitus et Fuga (John Allison Campbell)

I went to the ecumenical service at St. Matthäus Friday night, because a composer friend, John Allison Campbell, was having a premiere of some new music. It seems there is this organization that pays artists to paint sacred pictures and composers to compose and musicians to perform sacred music, and it is all presented at St. Matthäus.

The church is lovely - very bare, just pictures on the walls and one over the altar (they refer to this as the temporary altar picture, as it appears to be changed every now and then).

The service was very Catholic with all sorts of Gregorian chant bits and a Magnificat and a Kyrie Elesion. The sermon was on Luke 13:6-8:

6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'

8 " 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' "

Now this sounds like giving people a second chance, even if they have screwed up multiple times in the past. Perhaps this applies to teenagers....

The postlude was "Introitus et Fuga (Op. 10)", and as I listed, the music felt vaguely familiar. I figured it was just John, as I have heard a lot of his music over the years.

I went up to John after the service, and he asked me if I liked that last piece. "Yes, I did," I replied. "Good job, since you paid for it!" And then I realized it was a piece we had commissioned for WiseKid's baptism. My famous organist brother was to come play it, so I had requested that it be "a challenge". Then bro didn't come, and we had to find an organist willing to tackle it at the last minute.

One brave soul was found, and we invited a professor for modern music, a friend of John's, to come to the service to hear it. The organist bravely fought on, but got his fingers in knots at one point and stopped, restarting the phrase. Afterwards she went up to him and scolded him: "Young man, this is modern music! No one will know that you've made an error except the composer. Just carry on!"

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