Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tech Savvy Tots

It appears that parents will be buying lots of batteries this Christmas if they follow the latest toy trends for preschoolers. The NY Times has a fascinating article about whiz bang gadgets for children.

Another thing we won't be buying for our three-year-old is a toothbrush that plays "I Want to Rock and Roll All Night" for 2 minutes while brushing. To encourage dental hygiene, the sounds of the songs are transmitted through one's teeth. One can only imagine how KISS gets royalties on this.

Current Listening

Current Reading

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Return of Chant

Pope Benedict is moving the Vatican, and by extension the whole of the Catholic Church, back towards Gregorian chant. As for his reasons, I appreciate his understanding of the power of music, the inherent morality in music itself, and the need for an ecclesiastical aesthetic. However, turning back the clock is not the answer. Re-connecting to the past heritage of the Church is something that both Protestants and Catholics should embrace, but, in addition, we ought to be about the business of continuing to create from a historically informed position. Hopefully this move will at least spark some discussion in the Church at large about suitability and spirituality when it comes to musical composition for the Church.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Irony of Old Pop

The very basis of pop art, according to Richard Hamilton, the British visual pop artist, includes attributes of transience, gimmicks, orientation towards youth, and being disposable. In a recent article in the Telegraph, the author discuses the divide between the industry of pop music and the audience's clamor for reunion tours. The author writes, "Much of rock continues to pay lip service to the concept of rebellion, while adhering to musical formulas, fashions and attitudes established by people old enough to be grandparents."

Irony exists in the absurdity of rebellion financed by corporate interests, but it is equally interesting that older musicians are still reaping the rewards of a system based on the foundation that young and sexy are preferable. If a musician is able to transcend the disposable system which made him, one shouldn't expect that same system to offer continued support.

From the Christian perspective, all of this begs the question of the suitability of transient, gimmicky, disposable musical styles as a bearer of profound, permanent, and absolute truth.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Nataional Gallery Woodcuts Exhibit

The Washington Post features an article about the ongoing exhibit of woodcuts at the National Gallery. In addition to discussing the merits of the collection, the article also conveys an appreciation for the art of woodcuts.

Monday, November 5, 2007

New Early Music

Maria Archetto re-discovered the music of Italian Renaissance/Early Baroque composer Francesco Portinaro. The New Trinity Baroque ensemble presented a concert of his works this past weekend in Atlanta.