Russell and Duenes

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I’ve Never Bought a Song on iTunes

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A11288.jpgI cannot remember the last time I actually bought some new music. I’ve never purchased a song on iTunes, and of course, I haven’t bought any music CD’s in years. Most of the music I listen to, I listen to on free Spotify, free Pandora or youtube, and I listen to it in my house on my computer or my iPod stereo, not while I’m out doing things. I suppose this makes me an oddball these days, but I don’t listen to much new music. I prefer the old stand-bys. It’s just weird to think about listening to so much music, but buying none of it, particularly when I’m old enough to remember buying lots of it.

“Delight,” “consumed with longing,” “love,” “sweet,” “joy of my heart,” “love above fine gold,” “wonderful,” “rejoice,” “love them exceedingly” . . . these are all words used by the author of Psalm 119 to describe his love and affection for God’s inerrant and inspired words. The word “delight” is used numerous times.

ESPN’s “30-for-30” episodes are a great example of the power of well-made films. My first introduction to them was the episode on the invention of the “high five.” And then I by chance came across the episode recounting the horror of humans being crushed at the Hillsborough soccer stadium in Sheffield in 1989. I don’t really follow soccer, but I was riveted by the gripping tragedy that occurred there. I was almost ready to read a book about it, the film was so engrossing. You owe it to yourself to catch some of these episodes, even if sports isn’t your thing. They’re just so well done. Go here for a flavor.

I have always enjoyed writing handwritten notes, but I think such notes take on added emphasis in our day of texts and emails. Handwritten notes let the recipient know that they are valuable enough to you for you to take the time and intention to sit down and write something out in your own hand. They give that personal touch which says, “You, in particular, are someone of unique importance to me, and I want to show you that, in some small part, by giving this part of myself to you.”

I think it’s important to remember that the marital union, the promises that husband and wife make to each other, these are the foundation of love, not the other way around. In other words, our frail and fleeting human love does not give rise to the union or the promises. It’s the promises, in the power of Christ, that allow the love and union to grow and flourish. This is something the world rarely, if ever, acknowledges. We are told that when the storm of emotions which we call “falling in love” is gone, the relationship is as good as dead. But this is a lie. The truth is, it’s the commitment, the promises, that give rise to love, and that allow it to grow and flourish even in the midst of struggles, conflict, losses, and suffering, which will inevitably come.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

January 19, 2015 at 7:55 am

The Beauty of Music: Ennio Morricone and Yo Yo Ma

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Every once in awhile I post a piece on here which I find so captivatingly beautiful that it reminds me of God’s transcendent beauty and creativity. This is one of those. Praise God for great composers and skilled musicians.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

May 24, 2014 at 7:20 am

Posted in Music

Katy Perry: I Kissed a Girl and I liked it

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I kissed a girl and I liked it; the taste of her cherry chapstick. I kissed a girl just to try it; I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it. It felt so wrong, it felt so right, don’t mean I’m in love tonight. I kissed a girl and I like it, I liked it. – Katy Perry

Over the weekend, my wife happened to be surfing our Amazon instant videos, and she came across Katy Perry’s documentary, Part of Me, which chronicles her world tour in 2011, but really, tells a brief story of her life and how she got to where she is. I admit, I was quite engrossed in the film, not because I’m a Katy Perry fan. I hardly know her music. But because I’m always intrigued by people who have achieved a good measure of fame, wanting to reflect on the messages and images they convey with their lives.

I’m no musicologist, but I doubt Perry’s music is of the lasting variety. This is not to say, however, that her music lacks a certain catchy quality. It is catchy, and I can see why she’s popular. Her music seems to be an extension of the force of her personality, which from all appearances, is quite winsome. Yet the song that grabbed my attention above the others is her little ode to homosexual normalcy, “I Kissed a Girl.” Watching her sing it in concert, to the screams of adoring fans, both my wife and I thought, out loud, that there are no moral and philosophical arguments that can do battle with the message of this song, in the powerful musical medium in which it is given. It simply bypasses all the logic, rationality and reflection of the moral/ spiritual realm, and moves right to the emotions. One is swept up in the apparent “rightness” of treating homosexual behavior, “experimentation,” in her words, as something entirely normal, even beautiful, something to be “liked.”

At least for a time. That was my next thought. In our particular cultural moment, Katy Perry’s song has great coin, and along with other similar expressions of approval for homosexuality, seems to be carrying the day. But only for a time. How much time, I don’t know. But God is no fool. He created and superintends all reality, and His good and beautiful commands and ordinations cannot be contravened without consequence forever. The fallout of all of our celebration of sexual “liberation” and autonomy will be brokenness. The sexual brokenness born of our current rebellion – not just in the homosexual arena, but in the totality of human sexuality – is gaining force like a tsunami; and when it breaks upon the shore of human relationships, the wreckage will be vast indeed. It always is. And what then?

Will God’s people still have the healing, comforting, liberating, beautiful gospel of Christ to offer in the midst of the carnage? Will our own sexual holiness and fidelity to God’s ways be present and observable in a winsome way to those who have finally come up against reality and are searching for soul-quenching truth, and are no longer mollified by the fleeting pleasures of sin, which Katy Perry so forcefully purveys? For Perry’s notions – powerful as they are right now – will be of little comfort in the end. Worthless physicians they will be.

Will we take God at His word concerning marriage and sexual faithfulness, trusting that, in the long run, truth will out, and God will draw in the broken to Himself and give them Living Water, rather than watered-down truth? Standing with God, keeping the faith and continuing to make the case – with our words and our lives – that “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” is not futile. It may seem utterly irrelevant and a “losing argument” in the face of the Katy Perry’s of the world, and the tens of thousands of her devotees. But those devotees are human beings, created in the image of God, and they cannot escape reality. Jesus’ words and His loving precepts never return to Him void. He loves us, and as with the Prodigal Son, He keeps seeking us, waiting for us to return to Him when we’ve grown tired of eating from the pig’s trough.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

August 6, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Duenes on Lead Vocals for Joe Jackson Cover

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This is from a couple of years ago, but the good quality video was just finally posted on youtube. Enjoy, and try not to laugh too hard.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

May 10, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Posted in Duenes, Music

Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera

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Here is an exquisitely beautiful piece by Antonio Vivaldi, the English translation of which is, “In this world there is no honest peace.” It is featured in the movie, Shine, which is a nice film worth seeing.

Here is the English translation of the piece.

Aria.

In this world there is no honest peace
free from bitterness; pure and true
peace, sweet Jesus, lies in Thee.

Amidst punishment and torment
lives the contented soul,
chaste love its only hope.

Recitative.

This world deceives the eye by surface charms,
but is corroded within by hidden wounds.
Let us flee him who smiles, shun him who follows us,
for by skilfully displaying its pleasures, this world
overwhelms us by deceit.

Aria.

The serpent’s hiss conceals its venom,
as it uncoils itself
among blossoms and beauty.
But with a furtive touch of the lips,
a man maddened by love
will often kiss as if licking honey.

Alleluia.

Written by Michael Duenes

January 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Duenes, Music