From Massive to Miniscule

A Weeklong Immersion in Organ Music, from Olivier Messaien to Nico Muhly

« previous episode | next episode »

Monday, April 23, 2012

In my recent bout of studio recording, I coerced a fantastic organist friend of mine into working on a crazy 1980s Yamaha insane thing, pictured here.

It was born the year that I was and is, well, quirky to say the least. As I watched my friend make his way around this instrument, drawing out weird and wonderful sonorities, it occurred to me that "the organ," in an of itself, as old an instrument as it may be, is, well, technology. Essentially, working through the electrically-produced vocabulary on the Yamaha organ is the same process as exploring registrations and mixtures and other organ-y orchestrations. Not to mention, the organ is a massive mechanical structure capable of ACOUSTICALY producing sound which can literally fill and ENTIRE CATHEDRAL. Right??

This week we'll make our way through some stunning organ works, focusing on its ability to produce sounds massive and miniscule. There will be Olivier Messiaen, obviously, but also David Lang and Nico Muhly and a ton of surprises. Tune in and crank up the subs for the earth-shaking organ!


Hosted by:

Nadia Sirota

Comments [4]

RJ from prospect hts

Re: minuscule v. miniscule. I've worked in book publishing for 35 years and "miniscule" has never been an acceptable spelling in U.S. books. The standard dictionary used is Merriam-Webster's Collegiate (currently the 11th edition), which reads, for "miniscule": \ˈmi-nəs-ˌkyül\ Definition of MINISCULE; variant of minuscule
Usage Discussion of MINISCULE
The adjective minuscule is etymologically related to minus, but associations with mini- have produced the spelling variant miniscule. This variant dates to the end of the 19th century, and it now occurs commonly in published writing, **but it continues to be widely regarded as an error.** (Emphasis mine.)
There are distinct differences in how Commonwealth countries and the United States spell and punctuate, for better or worse (and that is a UK Web site you cite above, created by someone named David Barnsdale; who writes about everything from East Timor to What's Happening in London; why is he considered a reliable source?). Mixing the two confuses more than it helps.

Apr. 25 2012 12:24 AM

So what time of day is this program broadcast???

Apr. 24 2012 05:36 PM

@Matt, you've tapped into an ongoing debate here, but looks like both forms are now acceptable:

Apr. 24 2012 01:06 PM
Another Matt

I'm enjoying this program so far! (PS - pet peeve, but the spelling is "minuscule" :) )

Apr. 24 2012 11:13 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR Newsletter
Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.