RAMBLER OF THE WEEK
Tomorrow marks the first Sunday in Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year for Christians. During this year, we here at Internet Monk will be exploring many of Bach’s cantatas on Sundays. I thought it fitting, therefore, that we honor Johann Sebastian Bach as our Rambler of the Week today in preparation for our posts.
The following information about Bach’s cantatas comes from a Classic FM article.
During his time as concert master at the Weimar court (1714-16) and again in his years as Cantor at Leipzig’s St Thomas Church (1723-29), Bach was expected to supply short, multi-movement choral works to accompany regular and occasional church services. He raised his already superior game to produce cantatas for Sundays, feast days, weddings and funerals, stamping his particular genius on a new form of dramatic religious music popular with Germany’s Lutheran congregations. The church cantata took its lead from Italian models, which in many ways amounted to sacred mini-operas.
…Devotional poetry, biblical quotations and verses from Lutheran hymns, all strong on emotion and vivid expressions of mankind’s suffering, were used by Bach as cantata texts. The published sources of words provided scope for choruses, solo songs, dramatic recitatives and congregational hymns. For his second cantata cycle (1724-25), Bach broke with convention to invent a unified form of cantata based on the words and music of seasonal hymns. He used the first and last verse of the appropriate hymn for the opening and closing movements, arranging and paraphrasing the words of the middle verses to suit setting as recitatives and arias.
…It is the sheer variety of Bach’s writing that catches the ear. One could listen to six or seven of his cantatas and never tire of the inventive brilliance of his music….
…the music sounds fresh and alive to modern ears in ways that so many compositions completed only last year do not. Above all, the essential humanity of Bach’s genius touches his entire cantata output and turns each work into a sacred offering in sound.
We’ll be “Baching” through the Church Year in the days to come, and in preparation for that, we award J.S. Bach our Rambler of the Week award today.
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QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
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NEWS & NOTES FROM THE WEEK
Kicking off a “joyous” Christmas season…
An Atlantic City man was fatally shot and his brother was wounded in the parking lot of a New Jersey mall – one of at least two fatal Black Friday-related shootings nationwide, officials said.
In Reno, Nev., a Walmart customer was gunned down during a fight over a parking spot just after doors were opened Thursday night.
And in Tennessee, a person also was shot Thursday at a Memphis mall while shoppers were taking part in early Black Friday sales.
Finally, our country is returning to a traditional Christmas.
And then there’s these communists…
While some people acted like true Americans and attacked the stores Friday, USA Today reports that some Scrooges were commemorating “International Buy Nothing Day.”
International “Buy Nothing Day” falls on the day after American Thanksgiving each year. Celebrated since the 1990s, the day is meant to inspire worldwide action against mass consumerism, according to Adbusters, a not-for-profit anti-consumerism magazine.
“Buy Nothing Day isn’t just about changing your habits for one day it is about rediscovering what it means to live freely,” according to Adbusters. “Join millions of us in over 60 countries on November 25, 2016, for Buy Nothing Day and see what it feels like to take a stand against corporate domination.”
The magazine encouraged people to organize a credit-card cut up or a zombie walk through a mall to boycott mass spending during the holidays.
I bet they voted for Bernie Sanders too.
Then, from the other end of the spectrum comes this advice to businesses…
At Forbes, William Vanderbloemen strongly encourages businesses not to participate in Black Friday or other such “bottom-end” sales. To build a strong business, one should instead focus on quality, excellence, and not appealing to customers’ baser instincts.
Do good work, deal with others responsibly, sell quality products, build customer loyalty, offer your clients items or services they can view more as an investment in long-term satisfaction.
When you’re deciding what to do about your business plan for Black Friday this year, keep a clear focus on what you want to achieve. Chances are, you’ll find that the most business-sustaining and customer-satisfying work won’t be found in a glossy Black Friday advertisement with the lowest prices. Excellence comes at a high price, but the chances you’ll regret that decision are low.
Pretty good advice, I’d say.
Now, let’s begin to more effectively address how more of us can access those kinds of goods and services.
From the great gifts for Christmas dept…
With gluten free feed for the animals, and Joe and Mary preparing to post their selfies to FB, of course.
Troubling reports about Tullian…
Here we go again. Another celebrity pastor in the crosshairs of his critics. I had hoped better for Tullian Tchividjian (Billy Graham’s grandson) when he became the Sr. Pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, where D. James Kennedy had been a general in the culture wars for the Christian Right for many years. I thought it was “a ray of hope in South Florida” at the time, but the trajectory has been downward from there.
In particular, I thought his teaching on grace from a more Lutheran perspective might help set some people free, but it may only have covered for his own abuse of freedom.
After losing his church and wife last summer to an adultery scandal in which he admitted to having at least two affairs, Tchividjian has re-emerged in the pulpit and with a possible new book, as well with a new wife and a message about God’s “magnificent intervention.”
Nate Sparks has called Tchividjian a “master of manipulation” and has written several articles exploring how he “groomed” various women in inappropriate ways and manipulated others in his churches to cover up his abuses.
Another sad day in evangelical Christianity.
Inside a “Fake News” creator’s world…
An NPR reporter tracked down Jestin Coler, who creates fake news for a living, and did an interview with him recently. Coler’s company, Disinfomedia, owns many faux news sites — he won’t say how many. But he says his is one of the biggest fake news businesses out there, which makes him kind of like a godfather of the industry.
He was amazed at how quickly fake news could spread and how easily people believe it. He wrote one fake story for NationalReport.net about how customers in Colorado marijuana shops were using food stamps to buy pot.
“What that turned into was a state representative in the House in Colorado proposing actual legislation to prevent people from using their food stamps to buy marijuana, based on something that had just never happened,” Coler says.
But it was during the recent presidential election season that Coler’s work really expanded. However, he says this isn’t just about Donald Trump; it has been a long time coming, especially with regard to the world of conservative politics.
Well this isn’t just a Trump supporter problem. This is a right-wing issue. Sarah Palin’s famous blasting of the lame-stream media is kind of record and testament to the rise of these kinds of people. The post-fact era is what I would refer to it as. This isn’t something that started with Trump. This is something that’s been in the works for a while. His whole campaign was this thing of discrediting mainstream media sources, which is one of those dog whistles to his supporters. When we were coming up with headlines it’s always kind of about the red meat. Trump really got into the red meat. He knew who his base was. He knew how to feed them a constant diet of this red meat.
We’ve tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You’ll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.
Though Coler says he will be getting out of the fake news business, he thinks it is even going to grow bigger and will be harder to identify as it evolves.
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THIS WEEK IN MUSIC…
Finally, forty years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, 1976, The Band gave its farewell concert at Winterland in San Francisco. On hand to help say goodbye to this influential rock group were some of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 1960s and ’70s.
The event was turned by Martin Scorcese into what many think is the greatest rock concert film of all time, The Last Waltz. In honor of that night and the magnificent film that continues to help us enjoy it today, here is a stage full of some of the best rock musicians of that era singing “I Shall Be Released.”