Saturday, September 12, 2020

Easter in September ... at The Trinity Church ...

No one would conventionally have the impression that Easter, whether Western rite or Eastern rite, could be commuted to the day after 9/11 but ... an Easter party will be under way ... in a few hours now.  Where?

Theopolis Institute conversation on secularity and the problem of church music ... I'm not sure the problem of traditional vs vernacular is a problem of secularity as much as its a challenge of high liturgical white guys not being sure how to get the music of low liturgical POC to fit into their traditions

First I'll load up the relevant links and then, assuming you've read the whole conversation, I'll proceed with some thoughts about it after the break:

Doug Shadle has mentioned the Beethoven problem in US; Madeline Sayet essays the Shakespeare problem in US theater

In his book Orchestrating the Nation, Douglas Shadle described the "Beethoven problem" that American symphonists faced. The core of the double bind presented by critical  reception history could be summed up as follows: 1) if you wrote an American symphony that did not aim to sound like Beethoven then the music you wrote was frivolous and unworthy of being considered a serious contribution to the art of music, however 2) if you wrote an American symphony that did aim to invoke the influence of Beethoven then you were found wanting in comparison to the great master and didn't trust in relying on American inspirations.  

Beethoven's canonical status in nineteenth century music and the evolution of what Mark Evan Bonds has recently called The Beethoven Syndrome meant music was heard as a direct expression of the personal feelings of a great soul and so on (I'm starting into said book).  Well, a comparable canonization process happened for William Shakespeare and so it's no surprise that American indigenous theater in all possible variations of the concept has found the cult of the Bard as repressive as American symphonists and at least some music educators have found the cult of Beethoven.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Doug Wilson lets his base know that if Biden wins the old America is gone, gone for good, and that conservatives will need to learn how to think of their government as fundamentally illegitimate

There is a tone in blogging somewhere between preening snark and self-pitying apocalyptic that permeates punditry across the political spectrum from left to progressive to liberal to centrist to libertarian to social conservative to reactionary in the age of an internet that, if a person, could easily order a glass of gin.  It's the era of the "both sides" response to observations made and an era of roughly the same level of bad faith regarding public polemic and invocations of eschatological terror on behalf of the American republic.  

We've "been here before" but we weren't tweeting so much about it, so social media makes the recurrent cycle of apocalyptic fury and eschatological panic easier to witness and produce.  Worries that the executive would suspend the Constitution; declare martial law by invoking emergency powers; and then self-select lifelong dictatorship have been expressed for decades.  I know people who thought Bill Clinton was going to do it; that W was going to do it; that Obama was going to send Christians to concentration camps and replace the dollar with the amero; and now we anticipate another scenario where the prospect of accepting the legitimacy of the forthcoming electoral outcome is dicey as it's been in the last twenty years with respect to party balkanization, but with a newer and more frenetic sense of eschatological dread on behalf of the United States as a republic.  

Which is how we get to Doug Wilson being, well, Doug Wilson ... talking about politics when people who pay attention to him got a sense that he said somewhere he would stop doing that.

of course they threw a Pinkfloyd song into the Dune trailer, since the band was to write the soundtrack for Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune film that never was

Most Pinkfloyd fans ought to know this by 2020, but the Pinkfloyd nod was one of many expectable elements to the trailer.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

and turning back to news in animation, The Venture Bros is cancelled

While for reasons I can't quite understand, Rick & Morty has been one of the most praised shows on Adult Swim, the show I enjoyed more has just gotten cancelled.

It's not that I can't enjoy episodes of Rick & Morty.  It has had some fantastic moments, like the episode "Lawnmower Dog".  But as animated shows with adult themes revolving around parenthood and amoral scientists who may or may not be successful as scientists but are nearly complete failures at being ethical, well-socialized human beings, Venture Bros was mining those themes as far back as 2003, well before Rick & Morty was ever on the air.

Norman Lebrecht on the loss of personality in contemporary violinists, the fault lies with the nature of music education, of course, and the nature of the industries

It is not really a surprise if an older music critic concludes that kids these days have no personality compared to the old greats.  It's been happening in rock music and jazz criticism and it would, of course, be expected in classical music criticism. Thus ...
The kaleidoscopic art of violin playing had lost its flavour, like chewing-gum, in the pop song, on the bedpost overnight. 
It was not hard to see why. There were two nurseries for violinists — the Russian, which turned out competition winners whom nobody wanted to hear again, and the American, which ran a conveyor belt from Dorothy DeLay’s teaching room at Juilliard to Isaac Stern’s secretary’s agency across the road.