Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten

Perhaps this one’s a little too funereal…maybe don’t listen to this over breakfast or after listening to the news. But, hey, it’s Lent afterall. 🙂

This piece is another example of J.S. Bach manualiter, or organ pieces for manuals only.

The English title is Whoever lets only the dear God reign. There’s a cantata centered around the same hymn. Click HERE to see all the words of that cantata. Maybe you’ll be inspired to track down some Bach cantatas on YouTube. They’re great stuff. Fun to perform and a real pleasure to listen to.

Click the player below to hear me playing it in this morning’s wee hours. Good thing I’m using headphones while I played this. The neighbors might think Bela Lugosi moved in.

Viennese Ladies’ Ländler and Ecossaises

I’m so lucky to get to play and direct at Lakewood UCC because they are the most accepting and forgiving audience one could ever hope to have. Forgiving you can tell from all my mistakes (especially in today’s selection) and accepting because they put up with my occasional kilts and t-shirts and leisure pants and moccasins but also my VERY eclectic taste in music (some might say “no taste” in music). I get to program almost anything I want, from my own music, through the Grateful Dead through J.S. Bach. Today selection is an example. When I do this one, some of the ladies in the congregation get up and spontaneously start dancing in the style. I love working there!!!

Music in honor of St. Patrick

revised IRISH TUNES coverThroughout March, Hilton is playing music during the service exclusively from the rich tradition of Irish folk songs. If you click on the arrow in the player below, you can hear 15 of the pieces he’s playing this month. This streaming music is for free and with no need to download anything.

Here’s a list on the songs in this playlist:

  1. Sally Gardens
  2. Red Haired Boy
  3. Carrickfergus
  4. The Maid That Sold Her Barley
  5. Raglan Road
  6. Spancil Hill
  7. Come To The Hills
  8. My Love Is A Band Boy
  9. The Meeting Of The Waters
  10. The Durham Rangers
  11. Slievenamon
  12. St Anne’s Reel
  13. The Wild Rover
  14. 4 Jigs
  15. Wexford Carol


O Gott Du Frommer Gott

Another sleepless night, so another bit of music to tide us over while we’re practicing social isolation.

Sometimes I would bring my laptop to church and play into it from two synthesizers as if they were two manuals of a pipe organ. The sounds didn’t come from the synthesizers, however. The sounds came from within the laptop. They were sampled sounds of actual pipe organ pipes from around the world.

This piece, by J. S. Bach, is a piece just for manuals (there’s no pedal part) so I was able to do it on the two synths.

I remember when I was a little kid listening to recordings of Albert Schweitzer playing organ. I wondered: Why does he play so slowly?! I played everything at least two times as fast as he did. Well…now I know why he did! LOL I’m at least 20 years older now than he was back then. My tempi have a lot more lasagna in them than hot peppers.

Same disclaimer as last time: this is mistakes and all. It’s offered only to help you remember what Sunday mornings used to be like at Lakewood UCC.

Mozart sonata 16 mov 2 K545

My sleep is disrupted because of all the recent events. So…I’ve decided to start recording in my home studio some of the stuff I used to play on Sunday mornings at church (mistakes and all…if I took the time to edit them out I’d stop having fun).

Here’s one of my favorites: Mozart sonata 16 mov 2 K545.

Just click on the link below.

No magic brush


This is the most important truth I still have to learn for every piece. It’s like I completely forget how to write music after every piece. At one point in my life, I kept the first scraps of paper from pieces so I could look back, the next time, to see how miserable the first notes were. This really is the Number One lesson to learn. That Disney thing where the brush sweeps across the screen and the picture just flows off the brush just isn’t the way it really happens. It’s true, the Cosmic Radio does exist, but sometimed the reception isn’t that great. It can be like driving across country late at night and listening to AM radio. You might pick up a station that’s really from a different piece, or maybe a different spot in the same piece, or perhaps just a bad idea, or maybe…aliens.

Your cosmic radio

About hearing notes in your mind: if you can firmly hear one note in your mind, the mind will usually wait to “play” the next note for you until you’ve done whatever you have to do to figure out what the first note was. It’s as if the notes are sort of already in a tube waiting for you and you can take them out one at a time. They won’t all disappear (usually!). If the “cosmic radio” metaphor doesn’t resonate for you, maybe think of the process as a “musical Pez dispenser.”

It takes a while to trust this process. Use whatever it takes to facilitate identifying the pitches: take an ear-training class, sing them into a tape recorder, use your music software to find them, find them on a keyboard or some other instrument, record them and painstakingly identify them one note at a time in the editor, guess (sometimes you’ll be right).

I recommend singing them and taking an ear-training class. Those two things are part and parcel of the same skill. Secondly, my next preferred method is finding them on a keyboard. The danger with that method is that all too often, the fingers will “do the talking,” and what they come up with isn’t what you heard.

But, as you develop your ear-training skills, usually the notes will be there in your “cosmic radio,” waiting for you. Try singing. It strengthens your ear and also keeps you honest so you don’t write “paper music.”

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