arlene and I are flying to Dallas first thing this morning. We'll be there less than 48 hours. I'm filling the pulpit Sunday morning and evening at Countryside Bible Church. Their pastor, Tom Pennington, is in Russia, teaching pastors there.
I intend to post Sunday's regular Spurgeon excerpt. I'm also planning to continue my short series on schism Monday morning. Then the rest of the week I need to devote to final preparations for the Shepherds' Conference. So if such a thing were possible, I'll be even more scarce around here than I have been for the past few weeks.
I've really been getting a lot of work done, lately, though.
One thing that's occupied some of my spare time this week is getting my iPod more organized. I've more than filled the allotted 60 gigs, so it's imperative that I keep everything organized. I really like the iTunes feature that keeps the album artwork with the music. (When you've got 12 versions of Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin," it helps to associate each recording with something visual.) So I've been scanning old, stray CD covers. My whole CD collection (2,000+ albums) is now ripped to iTunes and every album's cover is scanned in. I freed up a whole closet in the house by boxing up those CDs and storing them in the garage.
In the process, I have been paying more attention to my iTunes stats, and some of the data have really surprised me. I listen to a lot of music. I play my iPod in the car, at work, and in the background when I am blogging. I even put it on when I am going to sleep at night. iTunes keeps a record of everything I listen to, and I'm sure there's subliminal meaning in the data. Here are some key facts about my listening habits that may provide a window for you to peer into my soul:
- The single most-played cut on my iPod is a recording of Aaron Copland's "Las Agachadas," an a capella chorus in Spanish, whose words liken priestly genuflections to a drunken dance. It's a very snappy and appealing little tune, which I always had trouble finding when I used to have to dig the right CD out of my collection and find the right track. Since getting an iPod, it seems I have played that track some 429 times. No. Make that 430.
- Of my top twenty-five most-played tracks, only a couple are in English. The top two are Spanish; several are Latin; one is Italian; two are in Hindi; five are German; and one is in Russian.
- Not one track in my "Top 25 most-played" could be classified as "contemporary Christian Music."
- My largest playlist consists solely of Bach Cantatas. It currently has 1103 discrete tracks; and if I looped it, it would play nonstop for 2.5 days before returning to the first track. Even so, my collection of Bach Cantatas is nowhere near complete.
- I've listened to Cantata BWV 95 ("Christus, der ist mein Leben") exactly 95 times. But it's not my most-listened to Bach Cantata.
- Another playlist, "Hymns," has 381 tracks. It would play nonstop for 21 hours before repeating a track. The most-played track on that list, at 93, is a stirring version of "Now Thank We All Our God."
- Based on the cumulative play-counts, however, my favorite musician, apparently, isn't even a baroque or classical artist. It's Perez Prado, king of the mambo. Go figure.
- My newest addition (see right sidebar) is a minimalist composition by Gavin Bryars, titled "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet." The story behind this hypnotic but truly touching piece fascinates me. The vocals are done by a tramp who lived and died in the shadow of London's Metropolitan Tabernacle.
- My all-time favorite recording, originally recorded in the 1960s on 35-millimeter film (how'd they do that?) is the version of Rachmaninov's second symphony by William Steinberg with the Pittsburgh Symphony. It's been unavailable on CD until recently, when a couple of privately-produced and digitally remastered editions became available on the Internet. I ordered one immediately, of course. Since it's a new addition to my iPod, it doesn't show up in my most-played lists yet. That will no doubt change by this time next year.
- Lest you get the impression I'm more spiritual than I really am, I should confess that my Spike Jones playlist has 385 tracks, and it would play nonstop for some 20 hours. (Note to self: download some more classic hymns.)
- The entire library cataloged by my iTunes program currently fills 81 gigs. It consists of 13,422 tracks, which would take 92 days, 21 hours, 47 minutes, and 15 seconds to play through consecutively. I'm not bored with it yet.