Saturday, July 18, 2020

links for the weekend: John McWhorter reviews White Fragility, woke cancel culture capitalism, Seattle's payroll tax, US and UK flailing states,

a few for the weekend

James Bennett II has a trio of pieces at WQXR on the history of classical crossover: born in a production glut in the 1980s CD age; vamping through the 1990s; dying in the 00s and only Yo-Yo Ma seemed to figure out how to get crossover to work long-term

WQXR has a three part series discussing classical crossover, or at least the idea as it's existed in Western industries since the birth of the CD. There's a lot of material covered and most interesting is the argument that the birth of crossover in its "modern" form was because of market saturation that happened in music at the dawn of the CD era.

Throckmorton: James MacDonald mansion notice of foreclosure, remembering Mark Driscoll once said "James has the spiritual gift of real estate acquisition"

James MacDonald, of whom Mark Driscoll once said, "James has the spiritual gift of real estate acquisition" (you can hear Mark Driscoll enumerate that alleged gift of the Spirit at 0:21 in the video embedded in the page I've linked to), has a notice of foreclosure on a mansion.

James MacDonald's role in the history of Mars Hill, in retrospect, seemed to involve being on the Mars Hill Board of Advisors and Accountability for just long enough to defend the use of Result Source to rig a No. 1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list for Mark and Grace Driscoll's Real Marriage and then depart because he was so confident that the BoAA would do its job he didn't need to be part of that process.

Rochberg, postmodernism, and Rebay: comparing Rochberg's Caprice Variations to Rebay's Historische Suite to make a point about Rochberg not being postmodern

Richard Taruskin (and some others) have pointed out that while George Rochberg has often been called a postmodernist he didn't use that term to describe himself.  Whether it's Rochberg's writings themselves (A Dance of Polar Opposites or The Aesthetics of Survival) or in a book written about Rochberg, such as Amy Lynn Wlodarski's George Rochberg, American Composer: Personal Trauma and Artistic Creativity, you'll discover that however modernist he was for a while in formal terms he had, if you will, a Romantic heart.  The Third String Quartet was the moment where he publicly repudiated serialism, or at least that is what has commonly been written.

Kim Hojin, however, has made a case that if we want to understand Rochberg's shift from serialism to his post-serialist musical language more attention should be paid to his Caprice Variations for Unaccompanied Violin, on a famous Paganini caprice.  Hojin's treatise can be accessed here online. I plan to make an admittedly brief comparison of two works that play with epochs of music for musical effect, Rochberg's Caprice Variations and Ferdinand Rebay's Historisch Suite for flute and guitar.

Rae Linda Brown's book on Florence Price is published, and that deserves its own post
The Heart of a Woman:The Life and Music of Florence B. Price by Rae Linda Brown

Kindle version is most affordable if you don't mind going Kindle

WaPo--classical music's overdue reckoning with racism; Joseph Horowitz--pandemic may be perfect storm that batters the arts

Washington Post has published a piece that says there's a reckoning in classical music regarding its long history of racism.  Now I have read some fascinating pieces pointing out that there has been "selective memory" regarding the contributions of Afro-European musicians to European musical culture.  With that in mind, and having read about how Joseph Bologne was part of getting Haydn's Paris symphonies premiered (handled negotiation of price with Haydn and conducted premieres), I can't help but suspect there's a uniquely Americanist subtext to a piece like the following:

Friday, July 17, 2020

J. I. Packer (1926-2020)

Michael at Phoenix Preacher has written about Packer here.

a "Case Against Open Letters" at The Atlantic could have been more succinct

If you have, by chance, read this ...

Graeme Wood's piece is succinct in its way but it would have been more succinct.   Then again, readership for The Atlantic can't trade on presumed familiarity with the open letter precedents of the Christian blogosphere/dark web. I sent up the internet open letter genre with a pre-planned general purpose open letter suitable for probably any evangelical or progressive American Christian platform a few years ago.

But there is a bit more that could be said ...

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

there need to be some more posts on music by Ferdinand Rebay ... in the future ...

Hope to fix that in the next month or so as there's a new release coming along of the violin and viola sonatas due out on Naxos.  Plus ... noticed there's recordings of some of Rebay's solo guitar sonatas I hadn't spotted before by Kolk and Fernandez and I want to listen, at least, to their recordings of the first a minor sonata and the sonata in one movement in the next month or so.  I, of course, have all seven of the solo guitar sonatas in score form and have been meaning to blog about/through these sonatas for years.  Such is life ... but I hope to blog about a couple more Rebay sonatas at some point down the line. 

Not that I want to forget about the Matiegka Op.31 cycle along the way, either ... or the magnificent Gilardino cycle or ... you might have the idea by now. 

assorted links--demographic winter in the West (again); California as a paradoxical birthplace of the religious right; Orthocuban on Tulsa & Haga Sophia; Alan Jacobs invoking Cromwell against the GOP? and a reading on Yeats I don't agree with

a few links without necessarily having a theme

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

a brief observation about Ferdinand Rebay's handling of sonata form, ending on a dominant pedal point isn't your only option

At the risk of writing a merely axiomatic observation, going through sonata forms composed by Ferdinand Rebay (an Austrian composer whose music for guitar has been getting scholarly attention in the last decade), I am noticing that he ended his development sections in submediant keys.

The take-away from that is that while you might have been taught that the way to end a development section is to get to the dominant of your tonic key and set up a half-cadence effect that drives firmly to the arrival of the tonic chord in the tonic key, there have been other options.  In a minor key sonata you could have a firm cadence in some key that isn't the tonic (like the mediant, for instance) that still lets you shift to the tonic key--ending a development on a gentle D major chord before switching to B minor for the start of the recapitulation is possible.  To invoke Leonard Meyer on sonata forms there are syntactic as well as statistical ways of formulating a structural climax for a sonata form. 

The "perfection" of how Mozart and Beethoven handled what scholars have called sonata forms can be over-rated (I've been on record as being far more a fan of Haydn than I am of Beethoven and I'm more a fan of Beethoven than Mozart, but find I enjoy music by Clementi and Hummel more than Mozart, which I find is a semi-heretical stance to take that Kyle Gann's already noted). But it's worth pointing out that there's nothing "wrong" with the textbook approach to sonata forms, the issue is that, particularly since Hepokoski and Darcy laid out the five types of sonata forms as flexible scripts, there are way more options for composing sonata forms than you might ever run into in an undergraduate music survey course.