Saturday, May 08, 2021

German Dzhaparidze Prelude & Fugue No.24 in B moll (Esteban Colucci, guitar) w score

The Prelude starts at 0:00. The Fugue starts at 01:47.

There a couple of noteworthy things about this piece that you can read along with in the score as you listen.  The first is how beautifully idiomatic the writing is, particularly in the use of slurs, portamento and glissandi.  This is not music that you can really replicate on a keyboard instrument to the same effect as having it on the guitar with the various hammer-ons, pull-offs, and the slidings up and down the strings.

The second thing that's significant is this is a two-voiced fugue.  George Oldroyd and other scholars of fugue have highlighted again and again that there's no good reason to add extra voices to your fugal texture at the expense of good voice-leading practices.  

Don't believe the theory teachers who tell you that if there are only two voices then it's a two-part invention rather than a fugue.  The difference between a two-part invention and a fugue is generally explained by Kennan and Verrall and other specialists as being defined not by the two-voice texture but by at what pitch the second voice enters.  If the second voice enters at the octave in canonic response to the first voice it's a two-part invention.  If the second voice enters at the fifth then it should be regarded as a fugue.  If the voice enters at any other interval and is strict we could think of it as a canon but for practical purposes an answer at the fifth shows that we're looking at a fugue and that's what happens here.  Dzhaparidze has, of course, helped us a great deal by calling this fugue what it is!  

If you want to hear more of the cycle go get the double CD release at the guitarist's website.

As with other projects I hope to blog through this beautiful cycle in the future but the Koshkin cycle is both partly recorded and the scores published so that took priority but that hardly means I've forgotten about this beautiful cycle.  

I really, really wish a publisher would get behind this cycle and run with it!  I could probably write an actual book-length project on fugal writing for solo guitar in the early twenty-first century if anyone thought there was the least bit demand for such a book. 

Ferdinand Rebay: Sonata in One Movement (Guitar Sonata No. 7)

There are two performances of this Rebay sonata you can check out.

Luiz Mantovani

It is called a sonata in one movement but it has a multi-movement structure hidden inside of a single movement.  It's, uh, kind of like Franz Liszt that way only not nearly so bombastic!  

Ferdinand Rebay: Guitar Sonata in D major (Guitar Sonata No. 6)

Sonate in D Major: II. Scherzo   
Sonate in D Major: III. Rondò   
for a full performance, go here.  full performance starts at 0:58

Ferdinand Rebay: Guitar Sonata in D minor (Guitar Sonata No. 5)

Guitar Sonata in D Minor: I. Allegro   
Guitar Sonata in D Minor: II. Variationen uber ein Thema von Schubert  
Guitar Sonata in D Minor: III. Scherzo. Presto  
Guitar Sonata in D Minor: IV. Finale. Alla breve  

I'm particularly fond of this one from the cycle and it's no surprise to me it was one of the first of the Rebay solo guitar sonatas to get recorded.  The two E major sonatas are as yet unrecorded.  That first one with the quasi Brahms 2nd Symphony opening movement is a real charmer, though, so somebody should tackle recording that one!

Ferdinand Rebay: Guitar Sonata in A minor (Sonata No. 2)

This was one of the first of Rebay's solo guitar sonatas that was recorded and made commercially available, alongside the D minor guitar sonata.  Both of them are fun pieces and, of course, I hope to discuss the entire cycle sonata by sonata in more detail some time in the future but for the time being I'm linking to performances so that if you've never heard of him or heard his work before you have an opportunity to do that.

Guitar Sonata in A Minor: I. Gut bewegt

Guitar Sonata in A Minor: II. Ruhig und zart

Guitar Sonata in A Minor: III. Scherzo. Lebhaft und mit Humor 

Guitar Sonata in A Minor: IV. Lustig bewegt 

Ferdinand Rebay: Sonata in A (minor) for Guitar (Sonata No. 1)

Where in the orchestral literature German and Austrian music tends to have an outsized influence, those sounds are almost completely marginal in the guitar literature.  Normally when we think of classical guitar works that are in the canonized literature we think of Spanish, Italians and French guitarists (with some Austrian and Bohemian figures, to be sure). Sor, Giuliani, Coste and Diabelli were early and seminal figures in the centuries of guitar history we have.  But the canonized works tend to be defined, for better and worse, by the Segovia legacy.

That means that guitar music written in a Brahmsian style with echoes of Schubert is paradoxically under-represented in the literature in contrast to the saturation of Brahms in piano literature or Schubert in lieder.

Thus we get to one of the seven solo guitar sonatas composed by the Austrian composer Ferdinand Rebay

Sonate in A für Gitarre: I. Allegro moderato
Sonate in A für Gitarre: II. Variationen
Sonate in A für Gitarre: III. Tanz - Rondò
All seven sonatas are not yet accounted for in commercially available recordings but as the years go by this is, thankfully changing.  I'm hoping to blog through the seven solo guitar sonatas of Rebay with more analytical comments some time in the future. 

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Warren Throckmorton proposes Mars Hill past could be a prologue to The Trinity Church future, now might be a time to recall that Driscoll boasted from the Mars Hill pulpit of threatening 20 guys if they talked to his girlfriend in his Peasant Princess series

In August 2014, 21 former elders from Mars Hill Church brought formal charges under the bylaws of the church against Mark Driscoll. Recently, I have been listening to people talk about their experiences at The Trinity Church in Phoenix. To quote Yogi Berra, it feels like deja vu all over again.
For those who complain that I am unnecessarily bringing up the past, I will reply with Shakespeare that, at times, past may be prologue. The charges are linked below; those who are currently involved or recently left Trinity Church may want to compare notes with past Mars Hill elders who wrote in 2014. Anything seem familiar?

Not being in a position to hear what people from The Trinity Church have been through I can't comment about that.  But what I can help them learn, if they come here, is the history of Mars Hill governance and associated governance battles and the kangaroo court proceedings that happened. There are at least 144 posts that deal with governance in terms of history and bylaws and so on.

Joyful Exiles would also be a good place to start if you want to read primary source documents chronicling the termination and trials of Bent Meyer and Paul Petry.

For those who don't know the history of Mars Hill there was a period circa 2007-2008 where Driscoll said from the pulpit he protected Grace emotionally in the following way:

but since that stuff doesn't work try this link below 

But since the link in the old post is long dead, go here instead. Start about 33:04 and you will hear: 

... and this is an ENORMOUS part of my relationship with Grace.  I mean I still remember when I first started seeing her she, uh, she went off to college, I was still in high school and they ran out of housing so they put her in a guys' dorm. And I was like, "What!?" so I got in the car and I drove to the university and I knocked on all the doors of all the guys on her floor. "Hi. My name is Mark. I love this woman. Anyone talks to her, touches her,  thinks about talking about touching her I will beat them. Literally I threatened twenty guys. Just knocked on every door. No way she's gonna get messed with. No way.

Later on when she transferred to another university, WSU, she's five hours away. And she moved out there and her phone wasn't hooked up yet and we didn't have cell phones. And I told her, "When you get there, go to a pay phone. Call me. Let me know you got there safe."  Well she ... didn't call so I got in the car and I drove there. Five hours.  The day I had to work. And I knocked on the door. She answered it and I said, "Whu, you didn't call." She said, "I forgot." I said, "Are you okay?" She said, "I'm okay." So, okay, good, I got in the car and I drove home. Just checking. Six hundred miles.  Who cares? It's Grace.

... even emotionally, people send her nasty emails, text messages, talk trash about me, leave the church and want to take parting shots at her. She has nothing to do with any of it. So I even put a white/black list on her email and some people so some people can email her and the rest come to me. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. Delete. So that she doesn't have to feel bad because people are taking shots at her. That's my girl. No shots. That's the rule.

or here, about 33:03

Although the pertinent quote from Driscoll is about what he did to, as he saw it, protect his wife emotionally, the actual post was about how Mars Hill Church was purging material after I posted material.  There was a stretch where if I quoted the above section of a Driscoll sermon that the Driscoll sermon went "poof".  During the 2013-2014 period Mars Hill was actively purging content and it was also a period where my friend Steve Hays proposed at Triablogue that what Wenatchee The Hatchet had shown was that the best way to make Mark Driscoll look bad in those days was simply to quote him accurately and in context.

That Driscoll bragged from the pulpit that he literally threatened twenty guys should not be forgotten by anyone who attended Mars Hill.  He has, to date, not addressed one of his more famous quips about how Paul knew that sometimes you had to put a guy through the woodchipper.  

Or take this ... where Driscoll once said from the pulpit in his younger days he picked a fight with his own baseball team:

Part 10 of Ecclesiastes
Pastor Mark Driscoll | Ecclesiastes 7:1-14 | June 01, 2003

How many guys, honestly (you don't have to raise your hands), how many guys in their teens or twenties (I'm in my thirties now so I'm at that place where I WOULD fight but it seems like a lot of work). But especially when I was in my teens I would, just all full of myself, I would just, I liked to fight.  I would LOOK for fights. Certain guys are like this. 

I actually beat up a guy on my OWN baseball team during a game.[emphasis added]  Usually, usually, you know, in a baseball game people why--baseball players are all wussies.  They never fight.  They all just run out to the middle of the field and look at each other which is, I dunno, like prom or something. They're all gazing into each other's eyes. I'm not sure what they're doing.  They hardly ever fight and they NEVER take the bats which, to me, seems like the most OBVIOUS thing.

I love baseball and I can remember when I was playing ball. A guy on my own team in the dugout says something so I attacked him.  Now very rarely do you see a bench-clearing brawl with just one team. Usually the other team's involved. I was a total hothead. I would fight through high school. I fight quite a bit.  Guys would say something, give a cross--you got a problem? That's what he's talking about [the author of Ecclesiastes]. Especially you young guys. Some of you young guys, you're LOOKING for a fight. You want to legitimize it, you want to justify it. Some of you married people are looking for a fight. Provoke. Provoke. Provoke. Boom, off they go like the Fourth of July.

Driscoll once said he could totally be like Haman from the Book of Esther.
Jesus is a better servant
October 28, 2012
Mark Driscoll

Now, I’ll say this: this is really convicting for me, personally. I’m in a position of influence and leadership, and I know that my heart inclines toward pride, so pray for me and pray for your senior leaders that we would clothe ourselves in humility. This is a haunting reality. I look at Haman and I realize, “Man, I could be like him in an instant,” and at times, I have been. And by God’s grace, I don’t want to be. Haman’s pride is tragic. [emphasis added]

Here’s what kills me about Haman: he wants to be like his king. Wrong king. We all want to be like our king, but he’s got the wrong king. See, his king is proud, not humble. His king uses people, doesn’t love people. His king loves the glory and doesn’t love to glorify God. Who’s your king? Who do you esteem the most? Who do you want to be like? Who do you look up to? If his name isn’t Jesus, wrong king. Wrong king. So, he is the case study for pride.

Chapter 6, verse 12. “But Haman hurried to his house.” He ran home, “Mourning with his head covered.” This is public mourning. “And Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him.”

Here’s what’s weird: he’s got a better marriage than King Xerxes. [emphasis added] Esther previously said that she hadn’t even seen her husband in thirty days, and they live in the same palace. It’s possible to be a really proud, ruthless, horrible man who’s got a decent marriage. [emphasis added] He goes and talks to his wife, the one thing that the king doesn’t do.

Do you see where, perhaps, even in his own heart, he’d say, “Well, I’m not a ruthless, horrible man. I’m a good family man. You know? I’m good to my wife. I’m good to my friends”? This is how proud people justify their inconsistency. He seems to have a decent marriage and he does have some friends, and he’s going to be a mass murderer. [emphasis added] So is the human heart.

This could be a moment where Mark Driscoll testified against himself.  He may be a loving husband and even a doting father, but that doesn't mean he can't be a proud, ruthless, horrible man to people in his church.  

Warren Throckmorton has the interview in two parts with Dave Bruskas and Sutton Turner.  It took a long time to cross reference material in that to what I was able to chronicle on my end regarding governance, governance battles and in one case a post-employment survey sent out and all of that is over in this series.

If the people at The Trinity Church don't know the last twenty years of who they're dealing with because access to who Mark Driscoll was and even said he was over the last twenty-five years is hard to get to then history may very well repeat itself. 

Atanas Ourkouzounov: Guitar Sonata No. 5

Guitar Sonata No. 5: I. Movimento fluido
Guitar Sonata No. 5: II. Scherzo diabolico 
Guitar Sonata No. 5: III. Partite variate 

You can hear all five of these sonatas on the Naxos release that's been out for a couple of years.  This is one of my favorite cycles of solo guitar sonatas in the contemporary literature.  

Atanas Ourkouzounov: Guitar Sonata No. 4

Kostas Tosidis plays Ourkouzounov - Sonata No. 4 
Guitar Sonata No. 4: I. Allegro con spirito
Guitar Sonata No. 4: II. Lamentoso
Guitar Sonata No. 4: III. Allegro inquieto

Atanas Ourkouzounov: Guitar Sonata No. 3 "Cycling Modes"

Guitar Sonata No. 3 "Cycling Modes": I. Vivo
Guitar Sonata No. 3 "Cycling Modes": II. Poco rubato 
Guitar Sonata No. 3 "Cycling Modes": III. Presto nervoso

Atanas Ourkouzounov: Guitar Sonata No. 2 "Hommage à Bartók"

Guitar Sonata No. 2 "Hommage à Bartók": I. Allegro 
Guitar Sonata No. 2 "Hommage à Bartók": II. Scherzo 
Guitar Sonata No. 2 "Hommage à Bartók": III. Interlude
Guitar Sonata No. 2 "Hommage à Bartók": IV. Toccata  

Atanas Ourkouzounov: Guitar Sonata No. 1

Today's featured cycle of solo guitar sonatas is the cycle composed by Atanas Ourkouzounov
Guitar Sonata No. 1: I. Allegro assai
Guitar Sonata No. 1: II. Adagio quasi canzone 
Guitar Sonata No. 1: III. Vivo

a brief note about Christopher Nolan's Tenet--James Cameron style time paradox with Michael Bay set-pieces in the service of the kind of plot Nolan seems incapable of pulling off, a simple heroic arc (some thoughts on why he can't do that)

Even though I've liked Nolan's films overall his films since Interstellar have had a curious trajectory.  Before I comment about that I want to make a comment about how one of the shortcomings of film-by-film criticism is that people who take one movie at a time tend to lose sight of a director's catalog or a screenwriters' cumulative arc.  So with that in mind I want to highlight a theme in Nolan's films running from Memento up through The Dark Knight, the self-deceiving protagonist.  A director so consistently drawn to protagonists whose motivations are based on deliberate or unrecognized moments of self-deception across two decades was going to have a hard time selling us a simple and uncomplicatedly ethical protagonist even if he's played by John David Washington (who I hope has a long and hugely successful career).

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Angelo Gilardino's Sonata di Lagonegro aka Sonata No. 5

Today's musical feature will be the five wonderful solo guitar sonatas composed by Angelo Gilardino, if you haven't followed the posts as they've gone up.

Sonata di lagonegro: I. Delle Campane

Sonata di lagonegro: II. Lauda in Santa Maria degli Angeli

Sonata di lagonegro: III. Levantina

Angelo Gilardino's Sonata del Guadalquavir aka Sonata No. 4

Sonata del Guadalquivir: I. Memorias

Sonata del Guadalquivir: II. Leyendas

Sonata del Guadalquivir: III. Lejanias

Angelo Gilardino's Sonata Mediterranea aka Sonata No. 3

movement 1

movement 2

movement 3

Angelo Gilardino's Guitar Sonata No. 2

Sonata No. 2 "Hivern florit": I. Allegretto semplice

Sonata No. 2 "Hivern florit": II. Andante molto tranquillo quasi adagio

Sonata No. 2 "Hivern florit": III. Allegro vivo e brillante

Angelo Gilardino's Guitar Sonata No. 1

Gilardino Guitar Sonata No. 1, i

Cristiano Porqueddu's performance

movement 1

movement 2

movement 3

movement 4

John Borstlap asks "what is the use of the symphony orchestra?" and answers that asking what its utility is is a mistaken question

 The tendency of many orchestras in the Western world to try to make themselves ‘useful’ to society, to become instruments of social change, results from the decreasing status of classical music as a whole, and especially one of its most expensive mediums: the symphony orchestra.

Justification of the costs has now to be found in some form of utility that lies outside music because music as such becomes much too difficult to see as something socially relevant. In a time when the notion of culture, and of psychological and spiritual subjects, is eroding, only the material and the financial aspects of life remain visible, and social injustices because they are understandeable by most people, including the culturally-challenged, on the most basic level.

So, in an attempt to survive in an increasing hostile environment, where classical music is seen by large groups as 'white suprematist', 'elitist', 'inaccessible', 'outdated', 'irrelevant to the modern world', a number of people at symphony orchestras think it necessary to turn away from the idea that classical music is a common good in itself and accessible to anyone, and to prostitute the medium. It is like an upperclass woman whose husband has left her and emptied the mutual bank account, and who desperately tries-out selling herself for survival.

But the idea that a symphony orchestra is not, or less, relevant to society if it is not directly connected to the needs of social change, is entirely wrong. Classical music is not an utility instrument, it is an art form which has no other ‘use‘ than being itself. In a world where so much is measured for its utility, it is the arts who offer an island where the value of a psychological and spiritual experience can be found in itself, as itself, and not in relation to some ulterior motive. Classical music addresses itself to the inner experience of man, and not to the outer world with its worldy concerns and needs. It is the opposite nature of classical music to the nature of the world that this unique art form finds its value and relevance, to compensate for the materialist, commercial, trivial and utility-saturated world of modernity, a world which tends to leave people nihilistic, depressed, exhausted and meaningless.

The Perilous Life of Symphony Orchestras is literally the title of a book, and so also The Crisis of Classical Music Education.  Throw in Orchestrating the Nation and Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony by Douglas Shadle and there are writers who have pointed out that the orchestral tradition has functionally been on life support in the United States since its beginnings and that bids at developing a symphonic literature have been hamstrung by, alternatively "The Beethoven problem" and "The Wagner problem".  Mark Evan Bonds referred to The Beethoven Syndrome.  Bonds has written about the history of the idea of Absolute Music, as well as about Music as Thought in the last few years. Much as I admire Beethoven's piano sonatas, string quartets and other works the symphonic idiom has a history of having contenders for an American canon that fall by the wayside through a mixture of critical lack of reception and the weight of comparisons to European predecessors.

Writing as a guitarist on the West coast of the United States who doesn't actually subscribe to the tenets of German Idealism or Wagnerian variations of art religion I would venture an idea that the future of classical music, at least in the United States, is going to be more in choral music, song, and chamber music than it is going to be orchestral.  The orchestra survives more in film and even video game music than in contemporary works.  This is not some way of saying I haven't heard any symphonic works I've liked in the last twenty years.  I like Samuel Jones' Tuba Concerto, I even liked it enough to go hear it twice in live concerts.  But as I have been proposing for a few years, the symphony may, after a few centuries of prestige, be going the way of the votive mass.  

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Dusan Bogdanovic's Guitar Sonata No. 4

Guitar Sonata No. 4: I. Appassionato, ritmico, rubato, meno
Guitar Sonata No. 4: II. Lento, rubato
Guitar Sonata No. 4: III. Allegretto, meno, rubato, allegretto
Guitar Sonata No. 4: IV. Allegro ritmico, poco sostenuto
full performance at

So after spending years incubating the idea of a long-form analytical series blogging through these sonatas I haven't so much thought better of that ideas as I thought it might not be a bad idea to start posting links to performances so that people who don't already know about the Bogdanovic sonatas can hear them.  Score analysis can come later. 

Dusan Bogdanovic's Guitar Sonata No. 3

Sonata No. 3: I. Moderato appassionato
Sonata No. 3: II. Lento rubato
Sonata No. 3: III. Allegretto
Sonata No. 3: IV. Allegro brillante
full performance with score at 
and at 

Dusan Bogdanovic's Guitar Sonata No. 2

Sonata No. 2: I. Allegro deciso e appassionato
Sonata No. 2: II. Adagio molto espressivo, poco rubato
Sonata No. 2: III. Scherzo melanconico, cantabile con dolcezza
Sonata No. 2: IV. Allegro ritmico

full performance with score at
full performance by composer at

Dusan Bogdanovic's Guitar Sonata No. 1

Atanas Ourkouzounov - Edin's Sketches (2021)

Atanas is performing this piece and, of course, I'm an admirer of his work. I don't know exactly when I'll blog through the five solo guitar sonatas but I intend to do that at some point.  I might break down and just have posts that let people listen to the works and get around to analytical blogging about the pieces later.

Julia Duin's coverage of the epic backpedaling or "Trump is president in heaven" in American charismatic and Pentecostal prophecy scenes is something you should read

Now I ended up being ex-Pentecostal for a lot of reasons and one of thosse reasons was skepticism about the prophecy industries.  I won't bore you with the details now when I could share thoughts later on Crawford Gribben's magnificently readable Writing the Rapture later (his book on survivalism and Christian reconstructionists in the Pacific Northwest is his new book out as of late March and I want to write about that one, too). 

But one of the deal-breakers was paranoid style end-times prophecy and its fraternal twin utopian prophecy.  We just saw an example of the latter with proclamations that Trump really won the election but Biden and company stole it.  Well, that's a utopian proclamation/prophecy for those who wanted Trump to win and simultaneously affirm prophetic activity.  That those people now have to contend with the reality that those prophets have proven false has lead to a rift within the U.S. Pentecostal and charismatic prophecy communities that Julia Duin has done a very good job of covering since November 2020.

The older I get the more I realize my western Oregonian Pentecostal upbringing was an aberration, what with an Assemblies of God youth pastor introducing me to the work of textual scholar Gordon Fee; introducing me to the concepts of exegesis and hermeneutics; and perhaps most unusual of all, sharing with me his  ambivalence about the legacy of Kierekgaard (admired his meditations on Christian love but regarded Kierkegaard's apologetics as a complete disaster). Maybe recommending Solzhenitsyn was not so unusual for a Pentecostal youth pastor but the rest sure was, as has become more apparent to me in decades of hindsight!

Sunday, May 02, 2021

links for the weekend: The Tallis Scholars have recorded Josquin's masses (all of them); move among Christian charismatic prophets to reform movement after egregious failure in predicting Trump won 2020; and the case for a kindler, gentler Emperor Nero

It turns out Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars have finally recorded all of the masses of Josquin des Prez.

For as often as socially conservative Protestants in the United States bewail the epidemic of singleness it’s worth pointing out that the whiplash of economic disruptions can make it challenging for the kids to “adult” if the job market shifts and stable jobs are hard to come by.  So, once again, some authors at The Atlantic make a defense of the kids these days who are charged with being slow to grow up. 

Finding your first steady job in the midst of a pandemic can’t be easy for seasoned workers but I feel for the kids who are setting out to start careers now in the era of covid-19. 

Julia Duin has a feature at The Roys Report on a move to establish standards for prophetic statements in charismatic and Pentecostal scenes after the debacle of self-designated Christian prophets claiming that Trump would win the 2020 election.

 At GetReligion Richard Ostling revisits how the 2020 election in the United States revealed shifting electoral dispositions in white Catholic voters.

Was Emperor Nero really as legendarily bad as has been said about him?  The Guardian has a feature to the effect that that question is germane by way of a museum exhibit. 

The new, nicer Nero is not exactly "news" in that this was something that got some coverage last October. 

But what if Nero wasn’t such a monster? What if he didn’t invent the spectator sport of throwing Christians to the lions in the Colosseum? What if he wasn’t the tyrant who murdered upstanding Roman senators and debauched their wives? Indeed, what if the whole lurid rap sheet has been an elaborate set-up, with Nero as history’s patsy? After all, we have no eyewitness testimony from Nero’s reign. Any contemporaneous writings have been lost. The ancient Roman sources we do have date from considerably after Nero’s suicide in A.D. 68. The case against Nero, then, is largely hearsay, amplified and distorted over two millennia in history’s longest game of telephone. Besides, no one really wants to straighten out the record. Who wants another version of Nero? He’s the perfect evil tyrant just the way he is.

A few lonely voices have come to Nero’s defense. In 1562, the Milanese polymath Girolamo Cardano published a treatise, Neronis Encomium. He argued that Nero had been slandered by his principal accusers. But Cardano was having his own problems with the Inquisition at the time. Sticking up for a guy who, among other things, supposedly martyred the first Christians for fun was not likely to help his own cause. “You put your life at risk if you said something good about Nero,” says Angelo Paratico, a historian, who translated Cardano’s manifesto into English.

Mark Driscoll has never stopped being a monergist, but he's pivoted a bit on what kind of monergist he'll say he is

A couple of years ago Mark Driscoll was reported saying he thought the five points of Calvinism was garbage. 

This puzzled former Mars Hill media head Justin Dean who nevertheless commented (rightly, as we'll see) that he didn't think Mark Driscoll had (or would) actually change his core views.

That Driscoll was not a strictly Reformed type on the limits of the atonement goes back to his 2008 Doctrine series where he advocated for what he called "Limited Unlimited atonement",  which has historically been identified within the Reformed traditions as Amyraldianism.  Driscoll has lately been restating his views on soteriology and atonement in Duck, Duck, Doom (as distinct from his preferred nomenclature in the Mars Hill years  of "duck, duck, damn".

Bob Smietana's at The Roys Report on Jed Ostoich's time as a Docent Group research assistant to Mars Hill, revisiting how the initial MHC response to the 2013 plagiarism controversy was to shift blame to a research assistant

Bob Smietana has something at Julie Roys Report on how a pastor was caught having plagiarized Mark Driscoll sermons who, as longtime readers will know, had his own plagiarism scandal a few years back.

Smietana also has an article about ghostwriting that mentions Jed Ostoich.

Even longtime readers of Wenatchee the Hatchet might not recall that we looked at what the inadvertent ghostwriter for Mark Driscoll had to say back in 2019 about his time with the Docent Group.

Now the reason I mention all of this is because having even a single person go on record about doing Docent Group research on behalf of Mark Driscoll in the past is salient due to the fact that when the plagiarism controversy erupted in late 2013 with Janet Mefferd's on air conversation with Mark Driscoll, an early public response on the part of Mars Hill was to admit to citation mistakes but shift them to research assistant by implication. This was something that was covered back in December 2013 when the situation had just begun:

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Prince (with Miles Davis) "Can I Play With U?" (2020 Remaster)

A song from Prince and Miles Davis is worth linking to all by itself this weekend.  Heard this track recent and a bit about its background.  It gets a bit weird in some spots for a pop song but gloriously weird, like Prince snuck Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman, George Russell and (of course) Davis into the song aiming to sound out across a dance floor.

Friday, April 30, 2021

some general thoughts and observations about Igor Rekhin's 24 Preludes and Fugues for solo guitar--I'm afraid I have to say I respect it more than I enjoy it

So I've had Bands 1 and 2 of this cycle for years and for years I couldn't find any recordings of a performance of the entire cycle.  I recall Matanya Ophee wrote that Rekhin approached him about publishing the cycle and Ophee passed.  The cycle  was eventually published.  

I've now had time to listen to the entire cycle, which you can hear over here.

Now for some thoughts ...

Warren Throckmorton on the elderless church of Mark Driscoll in AZ parts 2 and 3 (also 4), revisiting how neither a board of directors nor a board of advisors & accountability seemed to have restrained consolidation of powers in the Mars Hill years

Warren Throckmorton now has a multi-part series on how Mark Driscoll's newest church, The Trinity Church, has no elders and a board that seems to simply exist.

That there is a board of directors that includes men who don't attend the church may remind long-time readers who know the history of Mars Hill of the Board of Advisors and Accountability that had a Board of Overseers. 

Throckmorton has noted that Mark Driscoll Ministries is doing business as Real Faith.

The board members on Mark Driscoll Ministries are 

For the last of these names that's a name that has, in fact, shown up a handful of times here at this blog.
Throckmorton linked to some audio that Driscoll preached at McPherson's church that went away after a while but a transcript is at the following link:

There was also a listing for Josh McPherson as a Mars Hill pastor for a while, back around September 2014.

Now for Throckmorton's part three "Where's the Board?"

Alan Jacobs on the Substackification of the net, folks that are on Substack and some thoughts on how the platform differs but the vetting process hasn't (and probably shouldn't) with a side-riff on watchdog blogs

Re: the Substackfication-of-journalism stuff I’ve been writing about lately, this interview with Ted Gioia is fascinating. 

And I now see that the always-smart Megan McArdle has weighed in. One small dissent, though: She writes, “There are some reasons to think that Substack might survive a march of the incumbents” — and by “incumbents” she means (a) the major social-media platforms and (b) the major newspapers and magazines, because both (a) and (b) are getting into the newsletter game. But I’d argue that in relation to paid newsletters, Substack is the chief incumbent. The genre has been around long enough for me to say that, I think. 

Well, yes, Ted Gioia, Freddie deBoer and now John McWhorter all have Substack platforms. Even though I think Gioia is embarrassingly wrong about a variety of things I look forward to reading his Substack posts.  As Bryan Townsend and I discussed over at The Music Salon, Gioia could be, where we disagree with him, someone who could be considered, in Townsend's phrasing "a good faith opponent".

I'm not a Marxist but I read deBoer regularly with interest because, as he has put it, finding actual solutions is more important than feeling we're right about stuff and to the extent that finding musical convergences between "classical" and American vernacular styles has been a adult-lifelong quest of mine I hope readers of this blog can appreciate what I appreciate about these authors.  I have McWhorter to thank for learning about Edward Berlin's thought-provoking and informative work on ragtime in general and Scott Joplin in particular.  I think McWhorter has under-estimated the potential of ragtime for long-work and large-scale development, obviously, but if we both appreciate ragtime as a musical art form then that's the thing I consider more salient.  Though not a formal academic myself what I hope scholarship, whatever form it takes, can help us arrive at musical convergences of the sort Ted Gioia suggests we look for.  I am convinced we will better be able to find those convergences by altogether rejecting what I regard as Gioia's conspiracy-theory approach to music history, but on the seeking convergences across styles part, at least, we agree!

In favor of Jacobs' riffs on Substackification, Gioia has pointed out that the institutions of media are more likely to stymie creativity and innovation, more or less.  On the other hand, in a nod to a more Socratic Gadfly dour take on alternative forms of media, the problem is that all the authors I've mentioned have all had their credentials vetted and demonstrated in traditional media and academic contexts.  I.e. the vetting process for why these people are saying anything whose expertise we should care about to begin with has not really changed and that far it's the old conundrum of qualification to be a source for the record in journalistic terms.  The problem has been acutely notable in the realm of the Christian blogosphere by way of watchdog blogs or "online discernment ministries" and the very live questions as to why any of these are run by people who, as clergy can be swift to ask, the least bit qualified to be doing blogging.  The paradox, ahem, of clergy blogging and wondering why other people are qualified has its own set of questions.  To put it crudely, I don't wonder how or why Jim West knows what he's talking about at his blog  compared to the rebranded Mark Driscoll at Real Faith.

I'm a bit behind on stuff I've meant to blog about so for this post this much will have to do. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Warren Throckmorton has an update on the elderless The Trinity Church that Mark Driscoll is President and CEO of; revisiting the post-MHC resignation role of some board members of TTC and Driscoll on governance as "throne down not pew up"

Warren Throckmorton has noted that The Trinity Church seems to be an elderless church.  There are pastors but they aren't listed as elders.  If Throckmorton's account tells us anything it's that former members of The Trinity Church have indicated that the church does not have elders.  
During the past couple of weeks, several former members of The Trinity Church in Scottsdale have contacted me to talk about about aspects of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. They contacted me due to my coverage of Mars Hill from late 2013 until 2015. They tell stories remarkably similar to those I heard from former Mars Hill members during that span of time. There is one major difference. In the current church, there are no elders who are putting on any brakes. There are no elders to whom appeals can be made. Several former members and staffers have told me that The Trinity Church does not have elders. 
Some things do sound the same. Non-disclosure agreements are again being used. Money is again conditioned on silence. People are describing abrupt decisions about membership without due process. Friends and family who are considered disloyal to the church are being shunned. At some point, these stories may be told. For now, according to former members and staff,  the pastors who are there in addition to Driscoll are not elders in the decision making sense of the office. If elders hold you accountable in one place, eliminate them in the next place.
If that means "friends and family of Mark Driscoll" who are considered disloyal to Mark Driscoll then that may be the case but is also, at the moment, impossible to verify. At some point those stories may be told but to go by the history of Mars Hill Church the likelihood is low.  Few people I can think of off the top of my head have ever opted to go on record about unpleasant experiences they had at Mars Hill.  They don't have to, of course.  Nobody should feel compelled or coerced into going on the record about unpleasant experiences.  So perhaps stories may be shared but let's not presume upon that.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Links for the weekend: Terry Mattingly on vaccination hesitation in the American South across racial lines and declining church membership in U.S.; Eastern Orthodox DO affirm penal substitutionary atonement for the U.S. folks who would say otherwise, apparently; and Crawford Gribben's book on PNW survivalism and Christian reconstructionism is out

Terry Mattingly highlights a moment where The New York Times could heed the snarky advice of “you should really read your own newspaper.” Why? Because while some coverage mentions that hesitancy about vaccination in the South comes from white evangelicals other coverage shows that there is hesitancy among African Americans to get Covid-19 vaccines throughout the South.  There are elements of politics, perhaps, but the vaccines were developed during the Trump administration, so Mattingly suggests that other factors to consider are rifts between clergy and laity; and to not forget that African Americans remember the Tuskegee syphilis malfeasance and that these are factors to consider regarding vaccine hesitancy in the American South.  Religion may be a variable but it is not a foregone conclusion it is “the” variable for vaccine hesitancy among white evangelicals and African Americans in the South.

Also by Terry Mattingly, a piece looking at thoughts from Thomas Kidd and Russell Moore on how U.S. church membership has fallen to all-time lows.

Kidd highlights a trend in American religious life where lack of formal church membership is not prima facie evidence of being secular or secularist. In other words eve among the “none” or “done” categories of people who won’t attend churches this is not necessarily a sign of being irreligious.  Not being an evangelical Christian with a church membership contract doesn’t mean a person couldn’t be one in doctrinal terms, or a deist or a pantheist or have some form of belief in the divine. 

Ben Johnston: Suite for Microtonal Piano (with read-along score)

The "Blues" movement has a fun 13/15 groove in it.

The Etude has some motoric dissonant elements but unlike stuff from the New Complexity scene, Johnston's Etude has a groove.  I'm thinking that Johnston's more or less life-long love of Duke Ellington might have had something to do with that.

I like the whole thing or I wouldn't have posted it but for folks who have never heard of Ben Johnston and may have gotten the idea from some quarters of the internet that microtonal music or works in forms of just intonation don't have any "tunes" I think Johnston provides a counterexample.  I enjoy his work, complex as it gets in various places, more than the so-called New Complexity school.  I'll take Ben Johnston over Brian Ferneyhough, who is lionized by some but whose work for guitar duet used a bunch of extended techniques and more or less all of those were pioneered by African American and Native Hawaiian guitarists somewhere between 1890 and 1910 but, ah, folks in the new-music "zero hour" scene managed to take all those techniques and not have one single tune or groove in all of it.  If you're into "no time (at all", alright.

Ben Johnston: String Quartet No. 4 with read-along score

Ben Johnston's most famous string quartet is easily No. 4, his variations on "Amazing Grace". Someone posted a video of a recording with a read-along score.

At 5:59 your eyes won't deceive you, the time signature really is 9/64. I'm fond of Variation 7.  What I like about Johnston's music is there where in one realm he pushes along within avant garde ideas (a different tuning system for every variation on "Amazing Grace", if memory serves), he has a countervailing impulse that balances out the avant garde with something accessible, which in this case is, obviously, doing microtonal extended just intonation variations on one of the most famous hymns in the history of the United States. 

Ben Johnston: String Quartet No. 10 w read-along score

Somebody went to the trouble of posting a video with a recording of Ben Johnston's tenth string quartet and a read-along score.

Norman Lebrecht reviews a CD of violin/piano sonatas by Copland, Poulenc and Prokofiev who, he says, wrote works in 1942 that were escapism related to the war

In the year 1942, while millions were being slaughtered on battlefields and in German extermination camps, three composers in different countries wrote sonatas for violin and piano. Nothing connects these works to contemporary events or to each other. They are acts of escapism by expert musicians who chose not to engage with the worst time in human history.

[reviews violin sonatas composed by Copland, Poulenc and Prokofiev] 

We expect oracles from composers in ominous times. Here are three composers who preferred to bury their heads in scores. It is the interpreters, Benjamin Baker and Daniel Lebhardt, who bring out the terrors and anxieties that rumble beneath these works. Both are brilliant artists of independent mind and prodigious technique, one a New Zealander, the other Hungarian. Their Edinburgh recital was recorded last summer in the thick of the COVID pandemic. Different time, different crisis. This is a wonderfully timely album.

So musical acts of escapism are great if you're Aaron Copland, Francis Poulenc or Sergei Prokofiev?  I'm not really a Copland fan.  His whole Americana thing always sounded contrived to me.  Poulenc, on the other hand, I love his penitential motet settings and his Mass is one of the better 20th century masses I've heard.  I also enjoy Prokofiev (Piano Sonata No. 5, for instance)  

But escapism?  Maybe Lebrecht holds to some idea that artistic output is supposed to be both a reflection of the times and the psychological journey of the composers but not everyone has thought or composed in such a way.  One of my music teachers said that if Beethoven was in a bad mood you saw it in his scores whereas if Haydn or Mozart were ever in a bad mood you could not glean that from studying their scores.  

John Dowland was always sad and said so.  He was probably one of the goth/emo dudes of Renaissance music and also, of course, a legendarily skilled lutenist and songwriter.  But ... Lebrecht's surmise that "we expect oracles from composers in ominous times" sounds like something, 

If we need escapism now and then could that be why Godzilla vs Kong is doing okay at the box office? What kind of escapism does Lebrecht really have in mind?  Probably not Godzilla vs Kong the movie and most definitely not the send-up via trailer that is "Godzilla vs Cat (Owlkitty Parody)"

If Lebrecht likes the music already then the escapism he hears in it is "just what we need".