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Pulitzer : Lamar :: Nobel : Dylan?

Friday, April 20th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — with the nost remarkable, beautiful, unexpected, unexpectable music at the very end, a total surprise ]
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Kendrick Lamar just won the Pulitzer for music. A small while back, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

I haven’t seen anyone comparing Kendrick Lamar‘s Pulitzer fuss with Bob Dylan‘s Nobel shenanigans — yet.

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The black on white of the Dylan lyrics (upper panel, above) and the white on black of the Lamar lyrics (lower panel, above) aren’t racially intended, nor do they represent good and evil as so commonly elsewhere — and in any case, in black on white is it the black or the white that carries the meaning, and vice versa — but in the case of white on black, which do you notice most? And above, below, what do they mean?

Both, and.

Good’n’evil, rock’n’roll. Rock on, world.

**

Sources:

These two will give you the surprise, surprise narratives:

  • New York Times, Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize, Redefining Boundaries of Literature
  • NPR, How The Pulitzer Jury Opened Its Doors To Hip-Hop
  • And those two headlines make a nice contrapuntal DoubleQuote, too.

    **

    Me, I’ve been listening to Dylan since I could crawl and he was folk, and had never consciously heard the words Kendrick Lamar until yesterday, when I started in on this piece.

    Sources:

    Here are the two musics from which the lytrics posted above are taken, both of which you may skip if you know them already:

    and:

    **

    But. And. Yet. Also. Splutter —

    My remarkable discovery of the day.. It’s Caroline Shaw‘s astounding Partita for 8 Voices, written for and sung by Roomful of Teeth. Listen closely, beauty is born fresh here:

    Kudos, where kudos due:

  • Slate, Classical Music Needs Kendrick Lamar More Than It Needs the Pulitzer
  • **

    Okay, just in case — what I hear:

    Human voice sound poetry of Henri Chopin — I visited him briefly circa 1965 — via Glenn Gould‘s polyphonic voice radio plays, meeting Machaut, via Morten Lauridsen‘a O Magnum Mysterium, plus what funk meant first, before it was limited to funk — a twisty ringing of changes in sound: cough, swoop, taal, stutter and bend weaving in and out of dissonance, of purity..

    Utterly fresh and brilliantly performed: watch and listen..

    And tell me below if you knew this wonder already.

    Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) et sequentes

    Sunday, April 15th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — luther et seq., where the sequentes are james comey and rod rosenstein ]
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    Martin Luther, he who nailed his theses to the door, said it first: Here I stand.

    **

    Kudos to Julia Ainsley for spotting the twin occurrences of the Martin Luther quote on the pages and lips of James Comey and Rod Rosenstein respectively:

    Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein tells confidants he is prepared to be fired:

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has struck a stoic and righteous tone in private conversations he has had this week about the fate of his job as President Donald Trump has launched public criticism against him and considered firing him, according to three sources who have spoken to Rosenstein.

    In those conversations, he has repeated the phrase, “Here I stand,” a reference to Martin Luther’s famous quote, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” Coincidentally, former FBI Director James Comey, whom Rosenstein fired, repeated the same phrase to President George W. Bush in a conversation that has been widely reported and that Comey describes in his forthcoming book.

    To which I can only reply “A mighty fortress is our God”.

    **

    If Martin Luther is able to take so firm a stand for his beliefs, it is only because his God is so mighty a fortress protecting him, as he vociferously declared in this hymn — for which he composed both the words and the melody:

    **

    That’s a bit blunt to be sure, but the pious Lutheran JS Bach has much of the true spirit of the thing in this chorale rendering of Luther’s hymn:

    Silence as protest and gift

    Friday, April 13th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — on the frayed edges of music ]
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    Silence is the exception rather than the rule — so much so that it’s notable.

    **

    The bells of York Minster were silenced for a year in protest at the sacking of, as the Guardian eruditely puts it, “30 campanologists”. Bell-ringing is an ancient craft in the UK, mathematical in its combinatoric precision, glorious in its language and literature. Spanning the arts and sciences, it is thus a bridge between the two sides of that academic and popular schism or chasm which CP Snow famously described in his book, The Two Cultures.

    **

    Mathematics and combinatorics:

    The ringing of a peal or complete sequence of bells is a highly mathematized form of music, and the order in which the bells are to be rung — the method — can therefore be transcribed in graphical form:

    Oh, the beauty in so musical a score.

    I dare not show you a full extent — we might run out of pixels!

    **

    Language and literature:

    Truth (and the detested false), Grandsires, Triple Bob Major, oh, and Spitalfields Festival Treble Bob, and how could one forget Affpuddle Treble Bob Major..

    Dorothy Sayers‘ novel The Nine Tailors has nothing to do with bespoke and everything to do with murder most fouldeath and detection:

    In some parishes in England the centuries-old tradition of announcing a death on a church bell is upheld. In a small village most people would be aware of who was ill, and so broadcasting the age and sex of the deceased would identify them. To this end the death was announced by telling (i.e. single blows with the bell down) the sex and then striking off the years. Three blows meant a child, twice three a woman and thrice three a man. After a pause the years were counted out at approximately half-minute intervals. The word teller in some dialects becomes tailor, hence the old saying “Nine tailors maketh a man”.

    The bell used in the novel for the announcement is the largest (tenor) bell, which is dedicated to St. Paul. Hence “teller Paul” or in dialect “tailor Paul”. Sayers is here acknowledging the assistance of Paul Taylor of Taylor’s bell foundry in Loughborough, England who provided her with detailed information on all aspects of change-ringing.

    Scientific American adds other details, describing:

    another time-honored tradition of bells, which frequently have nicknames and inscriptions, as if they were, indeed, alive.

    For instance, in Sayers’ novel, the oldest bell is dubbed Batty Thomas, cast in 1380, and bears the inscription “Abbat Thomas sett mee heare + and bad mee ringe both loud and cleer.” (The oldest bell hung for change ringing that is still in use was cast in 1325; it is the fifth bell at St. Dunstan’s Church in Canterbury, Kent.)

    **

    Argh, the lockout:

    Enough of the beauty of the English bells. From the Guardian piece referenced in the upper panel, above:

    But simmering tensions between the minster’s governing body, the Chapter of York, and the ringers came to a head last October when the band was summarily dismissed and locked out of the 15th-century cathedral’s bell tower.

    The silencing of the York Minster peal is thus a case of a sacred sound being stilled by a secular — or at least unionized — silence.

    **

    How opposite, and apposite, then, is the ringing silence offered by the youthful Quakers as a podcast in the second Guardian piece referenced (lower panel, above):

    It’s not the most obvious subject for a podcast, but a group of young Quakers in Nottingham have recorded their 30-minute silent meeting so as to share their “oasis of calm” with the world.

    In an episode of the monthly Young Quaker Podcast, called the Silence Special, you can hear a clock ticking, pages being turned and the rain falling, as the group meets and sits in silence at the Friend’s Meeting House in Nottingham. [ .. ]

    The idea for the silent podcast first came from Tim Gee, a Quaker living in London, who was inspired by the BBC’s season of “slow” radio, which treated audiences to – among other things – the sounds of birds singing, mountain climbing and monks chatting.

    Gee said he had wanted to “share a small oasis of calm, and a way to provide a moment of stillness, for people on the move”.

    Jessica Hubbard-Bailey, 25, from the Nottingham Young Quakers, who recorded the podcast, said they had jumped at the opportunity to broadcast something “immersive and unusual”. She added: “We have very different ways of worship to most people of faith and we thought this was a really unique opportunity to give people a little slice of what the Quakers do. Also, we are really good at being quiet because we’ve made a practice of it and I think that is of value. These days everyone is so busy, everyone is working all the time, so it’s really valuable to have the opportunity to sit down once a week and just be quiet and listen.”

    Listen? Listen to the birds, to the chattering monks — or to the still, small voice?

    **

    Listen, in any case, to the sound of silence:

    Just listen!

    For Jim Gant, On the Resurrection, 01

    Monday, April 9th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron –with breath, thinking this through ]
    .

    It seems to me that there are two chewable questions in all seriousness:

    Does God Exist?

    To which it seems to me that the only answer would be something along the line of this:

    A roaring silence, in other words, which somehow worked itself out like this in the mind of one Franz Liszt — and he must have been pretty shaken by the end of it..

    For the record, it’s my sense that if St Gregory of Nyssa had had a taste for Liszt and access to YouTube, he might have said much the same.. One cannot predicate existence of God, but one can experience revelation, eh?

    *
    Question #2 is the real shaker, though..

    Did the Resurrection really happen?

    *

    Conflict resolution — contrapuntal humor

    Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — some late night foolishness, with a plea for forgiveness ]
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    As you know, I’m interested in conflict in need of resolution and the means of achieving it — and I’m also of the opinion that it’s essential for all voices to the situation to be heard — hence the need for a method of graphically mapping contending voices in a verbal equivalent to polyphonic (many voiced, Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da, eg) counterpoint (see especially Bach, JS).

    Here’s a fairly absurd take on at least some parts of that er, equation:

    **

    I was pointed to this video by PTheWeek. What caught my eye was their headline:

    How could I resist?

    **

    Please forgive us all. As I said, these things took place late at night..


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