Thursday, November 13, 2014

a sorta linkathon

been slowly transcribing part 2 of the 2-5-08 spiritual warfare session ...
it's not short and it's ... well ... you'll get to see it.  Part 3 will take time to transcribe, too and we may just skip the Q&A depending on how much work that is. 

In the "this is so lazy and prejudicial it makes the worst coverage AlterNet did on Mars Hill look reasonable", The American Spectator wins the award this week for a lazy op-ed with no interest in anything that actually happened at Mars Hill.

http://spectator.org/articles/60945/downfall-muscular-christian-pastor-mark-driscoll

AlterNet/Salon at least fixed the very unfortunate factual inaccuracies in their April 2014 piece by Tarico once those were pointed out.  And it should go without saying that Driscoll was in trouble because conservative evangelicals began to take him steadily to task over doctrinal as well as ethical lapses.  But it would appear that for some types of conservatives all that matters is Driscoll ticked off gays and feminists and therefore there needs to be more of Driscoll's type of muscular Christianity. Nope, if there's a need for more of a clean and manly evangelicalism that would be the kind practiced by Chaplain Evers back in World War I.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-problem-of-markulinity-as-air-war.html

It's easier to have that clean manly evangelicalism if you're literally in the trenches helping the soldiers in their time of need as opposed to pontificating via recycled material and ghostwritten material while ensconced in a gated house in a county away from the city you keep pretending you love as you plan to move as far away from it as possible. As ever, people on the left and right determined to shoehorn the history of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll into their pre-established talking points isn't going to change.

But, back to something more fun ...

There's a lot of musical blogging that's been incubating for a while.  Some of it probably just has to wait until 2015, maybe even most of it!  For instance, Wenatchee The Hatchet plans to blog about all the seven solo guitar sonatas of Ferdinand Rebay.  So for now there's a need to get some attention back on to musical stuff, even if it's just nudging in the direction of music.  Rebay's sonatas are seven in number and only two of them, as yet, are on commercially available recordings.  They're becoming my favorite examples of sonatas for solo guitar so far, and for my time and tastes I'm digging them more than Ponce's still very fine set of solo guitar sonatas.  Rebay and ...

There are also plans to blog about the two grand sonatas of Wenzeslaus Matiegka (which Wenatchee had not managed to hear until the last year).  Having written in the past about the use of sonata form in the solo guitar literature of Sor, Giuliani and Diabelli it seemed like it would be a fun project to get around to Carulli and Matiegka, too, and try to give a sense of how sonata allegro form manifested in late 18th/early 19th century solo guitar literature.  Matiegka's sonatas deserve more exposure.  Matiegka and Rebay have solo guitar sonatas I'm hoping to blog about at some length but this may have to wait until 2015 and a few other things are given sufficient attention for the final year of a corporation in Puget Sound ... .

There's been some rants that have been dormant about superhero comics and films that may just never see the light of day.  Which would be fine, because you don't care just as Wenatchee The Hatchet has no interest at all in finding out about the thought life of Jarvis Pennyworth or whatever happened to Peter Parker's parents in Marc Webb's Spider-franchise.  Don't care, don't care, don't care, don't care.

The Atlantic Monthly predicted that since the show aimed too low the program Sesame Street was not built to last.  In one of the more charming and self-effacing moments of a publication eating crow decades later, here's this. It ended the only way such a piece could have ended. :) 
 
Over here there's a rumination on why so many bash jazz. I think it's an interesting direction but I want to add another important cultural element, that jazz gets no favors from the government and business when some of the greatest albums in the history of jazz have transformed into the soundtrack of being put on hold.  I find Kind of Blue less inspiring to listen to when I know it's what I've just had put on while I'm waiting to talk to customer service or a government office about some pedantic but unavoidable detail of life.  If the classic works of mid-20th century jazz get reduced to hold music then that's not helping the cause of a wonderful American musical art form.  Third stream largely didn't help much, either, but out of consideration for folks who enjoy Third Stream jazz Wenatchee will desist.
 
Instead, in keeping with musical stuff, here's something Terry Teachout wrote years ago about Haydn.
 
Haydn became one of my favorite composers in my twenties.  Teachout blogged recently about a 20-something rather flatly and innocently saying perhaps she's too young to understand or appreciate Haydn. Maybe ... or maybe Haydn doesn't appeal as readily to many compared to Beethoven or other composers. 
 
When I was exposed to the inevitable Big Three from the Classic Era of concert music (that is Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven) I found that I mostly didn't like Mozart.  He seemed too glib and too smug.  Beethoven seemed too ponderous and too serious and a bit long-winded ... and yet, actually, I've got all the piano sonatas and string quartets and symphonies ... no, wait, not the earlier string quartets.  But it's Haydn, of the three, I love most.  Why?
 
Well, I just like the directness and clarity of his work.  He's the most fun and as someone who grew up listening to classical and then to a lot of pop in my teens before getting back into classical music in my 20s, Haydn's the one who seems to have the finest balance of learned and popular/populist sensibilities.  Haydn could get that thematic economy of expression and compression that Beethoven would explode into epic scale but was able to do it in more of a pop song/rock album sense of scale.  Haydn's work, particularly, in monothematic sonata forms, has struck me as a potential blue print for ways in which people who are squarely on the side of concert music can find ways to assimilate pop/rock/jazz vocabulary into musical forms characteristic of concert music in a way that makes sense of the tendencies of pop musical language while also having some sensitivity for the strengths and weaknesses of "classical" forms.  It's also worth noting that writing monothematic sonatas is quite a bit more challenging than writing the more "usual" sonatas with two or three themes. 
 
Probably right after Bach's dedication to advancing and continuing the art of counterpoint I've been
inspired most of my adult life by Haydn's example of monothematicism as an organizing principle as a possible key for finding a fusion of my childhood and teenaged affections for both "classical" and "popular" styles.  The goal isn't "crossover", the goal is "fusion", and of a sort where affectation is either minimized or, ideally, altogether eliminated. Perhaps in place of a rondo one could have a ragtime, a set of variations could still be a set of variations, but a sonata and a fugue have no reason to not be informed by the vocabulary of Ellington or Monk any more than by Haydn or Brahms. 
 
But it also shouldn't be a matter of forcing things too much.  If it turns out a certain blues riff works as the subject for a fugue, great, but it doesn't "have" to be a fugue.  Now in many respects the gamut of developmental and conceptual possibilities for realizing the options of a single musical idea shifted in the 18th century from the fugue to the sonata form and you can't come to a very thorough understanding of how that process happened in Western concert music without engaging the work of Haydn.  As Robert Craft put it long ago, you can actually skip Mozart altogether and go from Haydn to Beethoven and the history of Western concert music doesn't change too much.  No argument there, and with a few exceptions in the string quartets (which aren't as good as Haydn's anyway) and the late symphonies Mozart is just sorta ... there.
 
This might be a bad way of putting it but Haydn in some sense may be a musician's composer ... or maybe a composer's composer.  All the same, I love his stuff.  And perhaps that might seem a bit odd from a dour and pessimistic Presbyterian who rejects altogether postmillennial optimism in favor an amillenial partial preterism. :) 

Then again, I've got every episode of the Powerpuff Girls. 

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