Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Few Quick Thoughts....

A few thoughts after some exchanges on a conservative religious blog.

One:  These days, even critics of homosexuality accept that one is born that way, that it is not a conscious choice.  Yet they still reject gay marriage, which of course means that they think gay people are better off living lives without an immediate family.  My immediate family is absolutely integral to the meaning of my life.  Therefore, I see opposition to gay marriage as asking others to trade family life for lives of isolation.  And this is cruel.

Two:  We are standing on the shoulders of the ancients, not holding them up.

Three:  "God loves me more than he loves you."    Calvinism in a nutshell.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's Going On?

This is just a quick note (mostly to myself, but also to online friends) about what's been going on.
I spend my mornings hanging out with the family.  Susan, Severin, Wolfgang and I play with cars, trains and play-dough.  We listen to music and dance, we get frustrated and go to time-out, we visit the Science Museum of Oklahoma, we go to the bookstore, we tell jokes, we dig in the dirt and run through the sprinkler (when it's not 111 degrees, like it was today), we play make-believe constantly - we are dinosaurs, construction diggers, fish, etc, etc.

It's busy!

Then I teach my lessons in the afternoon, supplemented by live performances and session work.

Time is still there for other things, but the required energy and focus sometimes are not!

However, I have been working on another string piece.  The title is still up in the air, but it will be something like "A Wandering Wind On A Prairie Pond"  or "Water Under Wind" or something like that.

I expect to have the first draft done sometime this month.  The key signatures are a bit difficult for high school, but I am hoping that an advanced group might have some luck with it.  A good college string section would be ideal.

I also hope to complete another, less technically demanding high school piece in 2012, and perhaps attempt some pieces for middle school orchestra.  I would love to work more as a composer/clinician with different groups - something I have really enjoyed doing in the past.

After getting a few more string pieces and performances under my belt, I hope to try a full orchestral work.  My goal would be to pursue subject matter reflective of the Oklahoma landscape and story.

Chamber music is my ultimate goal, and I look forward (with trepidation) to the day when I am able to premiere a string quartet.

I have also been listening to the music of Franz Joseph Haydn for several months now.  I am studying scores, reading more biographies and giving careful listens to his symphonies and string quartets.   This summer, we are lucky to have had the inaugural Oklahoma Haydn Festival at Mayflower Congregational Church here in Oklahoma City - the church I attend.

I had been rediscovering the music of Haydn for a few months when our organist announced the new festival and, needless to say, I was excited and flabbergasted at the timing.   I look forward to becoming involved with it next year.

I hope to write more about Haydn soon - he was a musician who built himself from the ground up, coming from truly humble beginnings.  Through his abilities and the circumstances of his career and relatively long life, he was a real rarity in history - an innovator, developing the Viennese classical style particularly in the realm of the symphony, the string quartet, and the piano sonata, and thereby building a foundation for Mozart and Beethoven, and yet he was also a perfecter - particularly in his works written after hearing the music of his great friend and true kindred spirit, Mozart.

Here are a few quick listening recommendations for anyone interested:

Symphony no. 39 in G min - a fantastic example of Haydn's mid-career "Sturm and Drang" period.   Storm and Drive!   Make sure the recording is a brisk tempo.

The "Fifths" string quartet in D minor - Opus 76 No. 2.   The opening movement is dominated by a motif of descending fifths.  Listen for them underneath many of the melodic passages.

The first movement of the "Drumroll" Symphony, no. 103 in Eb, from his last group of 12 symphonic compositions knows as the "London Symphonies".     Wonderful slow introduction, great melodic writing in the exposition  - powerful inventiveness in the development.

I hope to write more soon about my current hero of musical history.

In other news, I am still developing writings in my Theology From The Plain series, which is an attempt to write quick, clear descriptions of my current views of.....that which is.   It's a systematic attempt to organize and analyze my thinking, and of course any input from others is invaluable.   I hope to get a few things up in 2012.

To any readers, I wish you all the best in your current endeavors!!   I would love to hear about them.