'Edward Finch'

Griesheimer to speak at Luther Emeriti Colloquium May 10

Discussing the many talents of English cleric and composer Edward Finch, Luther College Professor Emeritus of Music James Griesheimer will present a program at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 10, in the Baker Village commons.

The presentation "Edward Finch (Polymath of England, Early 18th Century)" is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Griesheimer will discuss the life and legacy of Edward Finch, the fifth son of the First Earl of Nottingham, who distinguished himself in simultaneous careers as cleric and composer. As a churchman he rose to the rank of prebendary at York in 1704 and at Canterbury in 1710. His compositional legacy includes service music and large-scale anthems as well as numerous secular vocal works and instrumental sonatas. A perceptive theorist and pedagogue, he authored a treatise on continuo, "Grammar for Thoroughbass," and developed an ingenious system of "shadow notation" in which notes are depicted in hatch marks and dotted lines to indicate the preferred voicing of harmonies above a figured bass.

 In a similar vein, Finch devised an oboe tablature system that shows a schematic of the instrument above each of the pitches of a given melody, indicating placement of the fingers over appropriate holes and keys. The most important repository for Finch's works is the Durham Chapter Library MS M70, in which some two hundred compositions, his own and those of contemporaries, were collected. Among the margins of this manuscript are Finch's drawings of maritime knots and an extended exposition on the scientific formula for grinding lenses for spectacles.

Griesheimer taught as a professor of music at Luther from 1991 until his retirement in 2015. As a former Fulbright scholar and professional oboist, he taught courses in music history at Luther. Since his ordination in 2010, he has presided at the weddings of several Luther alumni.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.