Sunday, April 26, 2009

just to prove that I still blog here

A person who regularly reads this blog (ha!) or has read the blog from the beginning (double "ha"! triple "ha!" for those who remember Space Ghost) may be forgiven for thinking that perhaps I've just let this thing drop or something. Not so, exactly, but I have been tending to a lot of things. I have also written elsewhere in other variations of cyber-space about what my business is. Ergo, I have written a bit less here.

I have been working through a number of things I don't think anyone has much business blogging about and a number of things that might be worthwhile for someone ELSE to blog about but that I won't be touching.

I have also, lest anyone of the few who read this have forgotten, been composing. Slowly composing I have but composing indeed have I been, hmm.

As part of my big old series of chamber sonatas for classical guitar I have been throwing myself into a sonata for cello and guitar. Violoncello and guitar for those who want to be fancy pants about it. I have taken a whole series of riffs and ideas that were supposed to be a guitar concerto nine years ago and redirected them all toward just a duo sonata. This has turned out to be an awesome decision creatively and practically. Creatively this means that a bunch of material I would have had to employ in some kind of obligatory concertante format can now be presented however I wish to present it. This leads into the practical consideration, the thematic material I'm working with simply isn't symphonic, springs too directly from the guitar, and wouldn't withstand the repetitions of an orchestra I OBVIOUSLY can't go contact or book anyway. As a cello and guitar duo, however, it's all working far better than I could have hoped.

And all of this material is also comprised of riffs that never became songs in the garage band I used to play in for about ... uh, a decade. Clearly the garage band was not on the fast track to anywhere except the drummer and his wife having more babies together and so I tabled all the rock song riffs until such time as I could use them. Such time as I can use them turns out to be this cello and guitar sonata.

So I have gone and bought a CD of the music of Armoend Coeck (sic) and I have found a recording by the Villa-Lobos duo that has Radames Gnatalli's gorgeous, charming sonata for cello and guitar, and I have set about to adding my own modest sonata to the surprisingly large and beautiful cello/guitar repertoire. Fortunately it's not just Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras #5 over and over ... not that I don't love that piece.

I hope to have the first movement of this sonata done in possibly as short a time as a month. There are some ideas I absolute insist on incorporating into the development that will be a bit tricky. I want to make sure that this idea doesn't kill the momentum of the development but I also realize I don't wish to place it the second movement, a variation form. I was once advised that when in doubt, you use sequence as a composer. I would hasten to add to that axiom, don't be afraid to use chains of rising fourths (i.e. a sequence of circle progressions). If it was good enough for Bach and Beethoven, damn it, it should be good enough for you, too, because it's just not possible that you'll be a greater composer than those two! Pardon the language, I wax enthusiastic.

And for those with nerdiness inclining toward theology and the Bible I have NOT forgotten about my big old rumination on Absalom and David. It has been tabled but not forgotten and, God willing, I shall be able to return to writing about that relatively soon.

I have considered Matthew Lee Anderson's observation that many new evangelicals like to talk the talk of being culture shapers without actually demonstrating any real interest in the work of shaping culture. I have been thinking about this in connection to the fascinating interview with Andrew Stanton in Christianity Today. Arguably the problem Christians have is they can be so busy TALKING ABOUT shaping culture they're never doing it. Those that do, and arguably Stanton is shaping a part of popular culture at a collosal scale, are probably going to get dismissed by many evangelical christians as promoting a cause that is perceived to be too "green". It's not easy being green but that's sorta beside the point and at any rate no one said that evangelicals had to "not" embrace putatively "green" agendas and still be evangelical. If Francis Schaeffer were alive today I think he would have probably fallen in love with WALL-E and argued that Stanton's films are steeped in a Christian worldview if Christians would just stop to pay attention.

So I'm around, out and about, and I'll eventually get back to blogging here about stuff I've been writing about earlier but I'm still settling into a new phase of life.

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