If Books Could Talk …

My stash of organ music has stayed remarkably constant for the past 20 (gasp!) years or so that I’ve been playing the instrument. A few pieces are new, but much of it is old music — inherited from organists now retired, or more likely dead and gone.

old organ music

The binding is fraying or gone, the covers dog-eared and worn. Yet the music inside works just fine. As I practice and select pieces for upcoming services, I add my notations to those of generations past. I love to look at the fading notes of prior musicians.

Someone played this for Easter, 1952 – wow! Before JFK, before Woodstock … and still, the music is here, being played and heard by a whole new generation.

And this one — someone played it in 1948, just a few years after WWII ended. And then I see my own notations. When I first played it, my oldest daughter was less than three months old, and although I didn’t know it, in less than a month Princess Diana departed this world. Who could have imagined?

Old Music. Musicians and congregations come and go, yet there’s something comforting in the fact that Mozart and Handel (not to mention the God who inspired them!) still remain …

4 thoughts on “If Books Could Talk …

  1. However, you’re a dying breed. They just don’t train good organists anymore. We have one that limps along. She’s a bit better than nothing.

    Eh, I’m used to it. I’ve been a dying breed most of my life 🙂

  2. Yes, it is a good memory for me, too, when I note the dates at the tops of many pages in my own church music books. Since I was a church pianist for approximately 40 years, I have many such markings of when and where I played favorite pieces of music through the years. Thank God we still have the master musicians/composers of several centuries to enjoy and emulate! I can’t imagine a world without them. Guess we would only have choruses and 7/11 songs to represent contemporary times. As for me, the church hymns of old, which were very often based on actual scriptures, are the ones that still inspire me the most. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels this way.

  3. My own piano books look the same, except that I know who had them last. They all used to belong to my grandma who passed them down to me when she taught me to play.

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