Erasmus Widmann and Five Dances and Galliards from Der Musicalischer Tugendspiegel


Erasmus Widmann (September 15, 1572–October 31, 1634) was a South German composer and organist.   Widmann was born on September 15, 1572, at Schwäbisch Hall, Germany.  At the Latin school he received a good musical education under John Crusius.  In 1589 he enrolled at the University of Tübingen and received his baccalaurius in the following year.  An accomplished instrumentalist who could play the organ, harpsichord, lute, zither, viol, flute and trombone, he held musical positions at in the mining town of Eisenerz in Styria (1595), Graz (1596-1598), and Schwäbisch Hall where he took a job as Kantor and Lateinschulpräzeptor.  From 1602 he was Kapellmeister and organist to Count Wolfgang von Hohenlohe-Langenburg in Weikersheim till the count’s death in 1610, and then for his immediate successor.

His duties included teaching, composing, playing and directing. The musicians at court were required to be able to sing and to play on a variety of instruments. Widmann’s abilities were more than conducive to generate sound music. Composing a number of secular works for which he wrote his own texts, Widmann’s subjects included mythological concerns, illustrating his strong classical training, as well as those dealing with the life of a student. He used polyphony and homophony in his various works. Occasional antiphonal and character distinctions are found in Widmann’s works. “Geistlich Psalmen und Lieder” (spiritual psalms and songs) was his first sacred publication. He employed tuneful melodies which were well-suited for both melisma as well as syllabic writing. “Gantz neue Cantzon, Intraden, Balletten und Courranten” were instrumental dances published by Widmann. Most of them are modal in character and rhythms were consistent, appropriate for dancing. Harmonies used by Widmann were considered new and fresh while his motifs and phrasings without variation maintained the conservatism of the late Renaissance.

In 1607 Widmann was relieved of his teaching duties and became solely responsible for the court orchestra.  He is mainly remembered for a large quantity of dances and songs in such collections as Drei Motetten, Musikalischer Tugendspiegel gantz neuer Gesäng (1613), Canzonas Intradas and Galliard (1618), and Musicalisch Kurtzweil.  After the death of Count Wolfgang, his successor Georg Friedrich demanded that Widmann return to his teaching activities. This was unsatisfactory to Widmann, so he sought a new job.  As a result, from 1613 on Widmann was preceptor and cantor at the Gymnasium in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, where he died, along with his  wife and a daughter in a plague on October 31, 1634.  The Erasmus Widmann Gymnasium in Schwäbisch Hall is named after him.

My collection includes the following works by Erasmus Widmann:
Der Musicalischer Tugendspiegel (1613): Five Dances and Galliards

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

Biblical Homeschooling, 9/2015, Monthly Meditation

September, 2015

Monthly Meditation


by Wayne S. Walker

     “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17).  The 139th Psalm is a song of praise to God by David for the Lord’s omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.  David understands that God is omniscient or all knowing, because he says, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off” (vs. 1-2).  God knows everything about us.  Of course, He knows when we sin, even if it is in secret and no one else sees it.  But He also knows when we do good to others and go unrewarded or when we suffer for His name’s sake without being noticed by anyone else.  Yes, He knows what is in our hearts.  “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (v. 6).

God is omniscient because He is omnipresent or all present.  David asks, “Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?”  Then he answers, “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell [sheol], behold, You are there” (vs. 7-8).  God is a person—a spiritual one, to be sure, but nonetheless a person, and His person dwells in heaven.  Jesus taught us to pray to “Our Father in heaven.”  But precisely because He is a spiritual person, not a physical or corporeal one, His spirit or presence exists everywhere on earth and even in the entire universe.  There is simply no place where we can hide or be hidden from God.  “Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You” (v. 12).

And God is omnipotent or all powerful.  The almighty power of God was demonstrated in creation, and in particular the creation of mankind.  David told God, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (vs. 13-14).  What is so interesting is that the very atheists and unbelievers who in our time are so insistent that there is no such thing as God and strive to turn people away from accepting Him are themselves evidence that just as the existence of a watch implies the existence of a watch maker, so their own existence implies the existence of a Creator.  “Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (v. 16).  These thoughts are truly precious and great!

Paul Creston and his first three symphonies


Paul Creston (October 10, 1906 – August 24, 1985) was an American composer of Italian parentage noted for his accessible tonal style and for the strong emphasis on rhythm in his works.  Born Giuseppe Guttoveggio on October 10, 1906, in New York City, NY, to Sicilian immigrants, Creston was entirely self‐taught as a composer with the exception of piano and organ lessons in his youth.  His father had come to the States from Italy and was employed as a house painter. During his childhood, Creston visited Sicily with his mother where he was exposed to the folk songs and dances of the Sicilian peasants and his love of music was awakened. Upon his return to the States, he persuaded his parents to let him begin music lessons. The precocious Creston quickly surpassed the abilities of his teacher and by the age of fourteen began to seek his own way. Around this time, he made his first attempts at composition, though his dreams of a musical career were cut short when he was forced to drop out of high school at the age of fifteen in order to help support his family.

The young Giuseppe decided to “Americanize” his name and pursued his studies by reading the classics of history, theory, composition, literature, and philosophy and studying the scores of the masters: Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, and, above all, Johann Sebastian Bach, while helping to support himself and his family.   Working as an errand boy, and later as a bank clerk and as insurance claim examiner, he would rise early and work late into the night, practicing on a $10 piano and composing.   Creston’s first employment as a musician occurred from 1926 through 1929, when he worked as a theater organist for silent movies. Following the introduction of talkies, Creston was appointed organist of St. Malachy’s Church in New York, a post he was to occupy for the next thirty-three years.  Fiercely independent by nature, the composer developed his style free of any particular school of thought or teacher’s influence and made rhythm a cornerstone of his work, often emphasizing shifting subdivisions of regular meters. He created works in many genres including five symphonies, concertos for violin, piano, saxophone, and marimba, several dance works, songs, and choral, chamber, and instrumental pieces.

In 1933, Creston approached the composer Henry Cowell (1897–1965) with his work Seven Theses for piano, who published the score as part of his New Music Quarterly. Cowell also arranged for Creston to perform his works in a composer’s forum recital at the New School for Social Research in October 1934. Cowell greatly admired the younger man’s work, and became a life-long advocate. Following his début, commissions and accolades came to the industrious, self-taught composer—two Guggenheim Fellowships in 1938 and 1939, the New York Critic’s Circle Award for Symphony No. 1 in 1941, the Music Award of the National Academy of Arts and Letters in 1943, and the Alice M. Ditson Award in 1945.  Creston considered his greatest “teachers” to be Bach, Scarlatti, Chopin, Debussy, and Ravel. He wrote in an accessible, conservative style that incorporated song and dance idioms and often featured unusual instruments like the trombone, marimba, or saxophone.  There is a distinct religious sensibility to much of his music that is clearly evident in such works as the Symphony No. 3 (“Three Mysteries”; 1950) and the orchestral meditation Corinthians: XIII, Op. 82 (1963).

In 1940, Creston accepted a teaching post at the Cummington School of the Arts in Massachusetts where he taught piano and composition. Other teaching jobs were first at Swarthmore, and later at the New York College of Music (1963-1967) and Central Washington State College (1968-1975).  Lush harmonies and expansive orchestrations characterize an often brash and spontaneous body of his work, organized around a remarkable mastery of thematic development evident in works such as the Symphony No. 2 and Chant of 1942.  From 1944 thru 1950, Creston worked as musical director of the ABC radio program Hour of Faith and later wrote numerous scores for radio and television, including the Philco Hall of Fame, Creeps by Night, and the children’s series called the Storyland Theater. Creston earned several awards for his work in radio and television, including the Christopher Award for his score for Revolt in Hungary 1958 and an Emmy citation from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his score to the documentary In the American Grain (1964).

Creston was one of the most performed American composers of the 1940s and 50s. His music was championed by a number of important conductors, including Toscanini, Ormandy, and Stokowski, but few were as committed to Creston’s music as Howard Mitchell, longtime conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C.  The 1950s were a period of tremendous creativity and success for the composer—with premières of over thirty new compositions. His international fame spread and his music was, along with that of Gershwin, Barber, and Harris, the most frequently performed American composer abroad. From 1956–60, a further honor was accorded Creston when he was asked to serve as president of the National Association of American Composers and Conductors. Creston continued his activities as a television composer, providing scores for the ABC Television documentary series, Twentieth Century, and his Emmy-winning score to In the American Grain, a documentary about the poet William Carlos Williams. Throughout the early 1960s, Creston continued to be in demand as a guest composer and teacher.

However, by the late 60s, Creston’s music began to fall into obscurity, losing favor to the more experimental works of the younger avant-garde composers.  Yet, Creston continued to compose works such as Sadhana for ‘cello and orchestra in 1981.  His Symphony No. 6 receiving its première at the Kennedy Center in 1982, and the Prelude and Dance for two pianos was performed at the Convention of the National Federation of Music Clubs in 1983.  Several of his works have become staples of the wind band repertoire. Zanoni, Prelude and Dance and the Celebration Overture have been and still are on several state lists for contests across the U. S. A.  Also, his work as a teacher provided him with the opportunity to set down his unique theories of music composition, and he was the author of the theoretical books Principles of Rhythm (1964), Creative Harmony (1970), and Rational Metric Notation (1979), as well as numerous articles analyzing four centuries of rhythmic practice and a massive ten-volume compendium entitled Rhythmicon.

Creston was an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, initiated into the national honorary Alpha Alpha chapter. His work tends to be fairly traditional in style, with a strong rhythmic element. His pieces include six symphonies, a number of concertos, including two for violin, one for marimba and orchestra premiered by Ruth Stuber, one for one piano, one for two pianos, one for accordion, and one for alto saxophone dedicated to Cecil Leeson, a fantasia for trombone and orchestra composed for and premiered by Robert Marsteller), and a Rapsodie again for alto saxophone written for Jean-Marie Londeix. He also wrote a suite (1935) and a sonata (op. 19, 1939) for alto saxophone and piano(both dedicated to Cecil Leeson), as well as a suite for organ, Op. 70. Several of his works were inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman. Creston was also a notable teacher, with the composers Irwin Swack, John Corigliano, Elliott Schwartz, Frank Felice, and Charles Roland Berry, accordionist/composer William Schimmel and the jazz musicians Rusty Dedrick and Charlie Queener among his pupils. After retiring from his academic career, Creston moved to San Diego, CA.  In 1984, he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor. He never completely recovered from the surgery and died on August 24, 1985, in Poway, CA, a suburb of San Diego.

The following works by Paul Creston are contained in my collection:
Symphony No. 1, op. 20 (1940)

Symphony No. 2, op. 35 (1944)

Symphony No. 3, op. 48, Three Mysteries (1948)

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

Oldest Wooden School House, St. Augustine, FL


Oldest Wooden School House

14 St. George Street

St. Augustine, FL 32084


The oldest wooden schoolhouse in the United States dates back to the early 18th century. Located near the Old City Gates in the area that was known as the “Minorcan Quarter,” the Old School House is a surviving expression of another time, built over 200 years ago, while Florida was under the rule of Imperial Spain. The house was originally a homestead belonging to Juan Genoply. The building is constructed of red cedar and cypress. Everything was made by hand, even the nails. Wooden pegs keep the timbers in place. There are no extant wooden buildings in St. Augustine built prior to 1702 when the British burned the city. The exact date of construction is unknown.  The house first appears on the tax rolls for the year 1716, but more than likely it existed years before then.  Government moved slowly in colonial days and communication between the Spanish Crown and the little garrison town took a long time before taxes were assessed.  The schoolmaster and his wife lived upstairs, above the small classroom. The building had no electricity, no running water, no privy, and no kitchen. The customs of the day dictated that their kitchen was separated from the main building, because of the threat of fire and to spare the house of any excess heat during the long, hot summers. Several of the cooking utensils used in those days are displayed here for the visitor. In the schoolhouse, related artifacts and copies of the books the pupils studied from are exhibited.  The privy was dug away from the main building and a small building was constructed around it for privacy. Drinking water was drawn from the well.  When Juan Genoply was a bachelor the small one-room house was sufficient to his needs. But when he married and the house became a school, an addition was needed to allow privacy and separate functions.  The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse was also the first co-ed school, as it educated both girls and boys together beginning in 1788. Copies of the textbooks used by students, along with related school artifacts are on display in the schoolhouse along with several cooking utensils of the time. After touring the schoolhouse visitors may walk through the garden and see the kitchen, the privy and the well. The patio and grounds are a typical green garden with tropical plants such as hibiscus and bird-of-paradise, including one not-so-typical white bird-of-paradise. Plenty of shade trees and comfortable benches offer a cozy spot for a moment of rest and reflection. The old pecan tree has been authenticated to be at least 250 years old and still bears nuts. The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse is encircled by a large chain, placed there in 1937, to help anchor it to the ground in case of a hurricane. it has had recent maintenance such as a new roof among other fixes. Visitors to the Oldest Wooden School House can tour the property and become acquainted with the daily life of school children in the eighteenth century.  The school is open every day except Christmas from 9 to 5 with extended summer hours. The facility features a self-guided tour with a robotic professor and student giving a brief history on the house. There are also numerous items with information posted around the building to read. For additional information, call (904)824-0192.


I Prayed for Zucchini; God Sent Me Lilies

I Prayed for Zucchini; God Sent Me Lilies
by Mary Biever, (Aug. 1, 2011)
Zucchini is the gold standard of my summer garden. I can eat a zucchini, by myself, every meal, every day, for a month and enjoy every squash. This spring, as we began to plan our garden, the best squash took priority. We would raise them from seed and have 3-4 different varieties, different colors, to extend that gold standard season.
This became the year of the unexpected.
I didn’t count on a spring of rain.
I didn’t anticipate flash floods, including the afternoon our backyard had a foot of water in it.
A cold May, with wet ground, that delayed our planting season, surprised me.
Read more:

Michel Corrette and his organ concertos


Michel Corrette (April 10, 1707–January 21, 1795) was a French organist, composer and author of musical method books.  Corrette was born on April 10, 1707, in Rouen, Normandy, France. His father, Gaspard Corrette, was an organist and composer. Details of his life are sketchy and some authorities suggest he may have been born at a date later than that given and at St. Germain-en-Laye.  His professional life appears to have begun in 1725 with an appointment as organist at the church in Rouen. Soon after that, he moved to Paris, where he married Marie-Catherine Morize on January 8, 1733. Most of what is known about his life is a chronicle of his titles, positions, and publications.  Corrette was named Grand maître des Chevaliers du Pivots in 1734, became organist to the Grand Prior of France in 1737, and served as organist at the Jesuit College in Paris from about 1750 to 1780.  Also in 1750, he received the title Chevalier de l’Ordre de Christ. In 1759 or 1760, he gained the position of organist for the Prince of Conti of the Church of St. Marie-Madeleine.   It is also known that he traveled to England before 1773.

As a composer, Corrette was prolific. He composed operas, ballets, and divertissements for the stage, including Arlequin, Armide, Le Jugement de Midas, Les Âges, Nina, and Persée. His light music with programmatic content for amusement includes titles like The Taking of Jericho, The Seven-League Boots, and — taking advantage of the French enthusiasm for the American Revolution — Echoes of Boston.  He composed many concertos, notably 25 concertos comiques, based on popular tunes of the day and arranged for three melody instruments and continuo.  Other sets of concertos were written on well-known noëls. Aside from these works and organ concertos, he also composed sonatas, songs, instrumental chamber works, harpsichord pieces, cantatas, motets and masses, and other sacred and secular vocal works. He also produced large numbers of arrangements of other music and it is said the music he arranged is much more interesting than the music he composed outright.

Aside from playing the organ and composing music, Corrette organized concerts and taught music. He was a popular teacher with numerous pupils. He wrote nearly twenty music method books for various instruments—the violin, cello, bass, flute, recorder, bassoon, harpsichord, harp, mandolin, voice and more—with titles such as l’Art de se perfectionner sur le violon (The Art of Playing the Violin Perfectly), le Parfait Maître à chanter (The Perfect Mastersinger), and L′école d′Orphée (The School of Orpheus), a violin treatise describing contemporary English music, the differences between the French and Italian styles, and the art of accompanying song at the harpsichord. All include numerous musical exercises or complete compositions, of which many are by composers other than Corrette.  These pedagogical works by Corrette are valuable because they give insight into contemporary playing techniques.  In 1780 he was appointed organist to the Duke of Angoulême and some fifteen years later died in Paris on January 21, 1795, at the age of 87.

My collection includes the following works by Michel Corrette:
Concerto for Organ No. 1 in GM, op. 26, no. 1

Concerto for Organ No. 2 in AM, op. 26, no. 2

Concerto for Organ No. 3 in DM, op. 26, no. 3

Concerto for Organ No. 4 in CM, op. 26, no. 4

Concerto for Organ No. 5 in FM, op. 26, no. 5

Concerto for Organ No. 6 in dm, op. 26, no. 6

Harpsichord and Flute Concerto in dm: Allegro.

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

It happened here in Illinois

September 22, 2015
Officer Gives Family Intrusive Questionnaire
Scott Woodruff (HSLDA)

Before the 2014–2015 school year began, a Quincy area family withdrew their child from public school in order to homeschool him. Soon afterward a truant officer came to their house. He said he was just checking on the child, since the family’s homeschool program was not registered with the state. The family explained that homeschoolers are not required to register, and the truancy officer said he knew that.

He then handed them a questionnaire to answer. Its self-described purpose was to determine whether the family’s program was “at least commensurate with the standards of public schools.” It asked for the education level of the parents, whether their child had been classified as a special education student, how many minutes of instruction were provided daily, and what subjects were being taught. It asked for any other information that might be helpful “in determining the success of your child.”

What happened? Read more: