Michael De Sapio

About Michael De Sapio

Michael De Sapio is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. A writer and classical musician from Alexandria, Virginia, he attended The Catholic University of America and The Peabody Conservatory of Music. He writes Great Books study guides for the educational online resource SuperSummary, and his essays on religious and aesthetic topics have been featured in Fanfare and Touchstone, among other publications.

The Mystique of Late Beethoven

By |2020-10-09T08:54:26-05:00October 8th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

Beethoven's late style was not a total break from what came before. Many things touted as revolutionary are really, when seen in proper perspective, evolutionary. Beethoven’s late period intensifies qualities inherent in all his previous work. It is filled with music that is warm-hearted, impassioned, and of breathtaking beauty. “The music is not pretty or [...]

Sir Arthur Bliss’ “A Colour Symphony”

By |2020-09-12T11:11:14-05:00September 11th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Culture, Music|

Sir Arthur Bliss created a piece of music that celebrates the life of the senses and the joy of creation, evoking deep cultural memories as well as a personal energy and dynamism born of bitter experience. “A Colour Symphony” stands as the most intellectually and emotionally satisfying attempt to yoke color to music. Many [...]

What Does It Mean to Be a Person of Culture?

By |2020-08-14T17:00:59-05:00August 17th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Liberal Learning, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

True culture is a liberation from the ephemeral, a journey toward permanence and value. A cultured life, therefore, consists in more than just piling up facts; it must include reflecting on the meaning of man’s works—especially those works which have stood the test time—and how they fit into the larger scheme of reality. Attempts [...]

Art, Nature, and Revelation

By |2020-08-14T09:47:05-05:00August 8th, 2020|Categories: Art, Christianity, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Nature, Senior Contributors|

In the era of scientific advancement, contemplating the sublime, both in nature and art, remains more necessary than ever. Works of art that build a sub-creation on scripture, exploiting the fullness of natural realism inherent in it, attain a very rare sublimity and draw the mind toward God. These waters must be troubled before [...]

Music as a Window Into History and Character

By |2020-07-23T15:07:46-05:00July 22nd, 2020|Categories: Character, Culture, History, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Albéric Magnard’s music is a happy amalgam of all that was best in Wagner, Franck, and Debussy. The gentle, nostalgic, and somewhat melancholy reminiscence of the past is a key part of his aesthetic and a clear legacy of his Schola Cantorum training. Yet his music is also progressive, looking forward unmistakably to the [...]

The Music of American Composer Charles Martin Loeffler

By |2020-07-11T16:18:48-05:00July 11th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Charles Martin Loeffler’s rise to eminence among composers worldwide signals an American cultural arrival at the turn of the 20th century. In a sense he was a bridge from the Old World to the New. Loeffler brought something unique to our culture, and his colorful and intimate music should not to be forgotten. There [...]

Why Is Beethoven So Popular?

By |2020-08-20T15:55:40-05:00June 22nd, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

It is Beethoven—not Bach or Mozart—who is the most universally popular composer in the classical canon. Why is this? Some authors have posited his democratic social beliefs or his personal story of victory over deafness. These are all certainly factors, but I prefer to look first at the aesthetic qualities of the music itself. Johann [...]

How Should Christians Approach Beauty?

By |2020-06-06T19:40:13-05:00June 6th, 2020|Categories: Art, Beauty, Books, Christianity, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

Although the beauty of visible and audible things presupposes the use of the senses, beauty’s essence is not sensual but spiritual. It does not distract us from God; on the contrary, it elevates our minds to God. Beauty in the Light of the Redemption, by Dietrich von Hildebrand (92 pages, Hildebrand Project, 2019) The [...]

Charm and the Civilized Life

By |2020-05-18T18:30:26-05:00May 18th, 2020|Categories: Books, Character, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Senior Contributors, Virtue|

In his latest book, Joseph Epstein takes on the elusive topic of charm, which consists of being pleasing to others and making the world seem a better place. Charm radiates light, order, and good humor; it is cool and calm, not hot and excited. Perhaps, like beauty, charm is one of the blessedly “useless” [...]

Reminiscences of the Dutch Liberation: May 5, 1945

By |2020-05-04T17:36:11-05:00May 4th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Europe, History, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, War, World War II|

It is now 75 years since the Allies freed the Netherlands from the clutches of the Nazis, yet my neighbor Christina (“Stien”) van Egmond remembers the events with amazing clarity. Ms. Stien was 16 at the time and, having graduated from high school several months previously, was working in her father’s greengrocery in Diemen, [...]

Revitalizing Beethoven’s Music: The Legacy of Nikolaus Harnoncourt

By |2020-08-20T16:16:20-05:00April 20th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

For conductor and musicologist  Nikolaus Harnoncourt, expressive meaning was central to music. Music can cry out in pain or anger, it can soothe, it can exult in joy. Harnoncourt sought to restore these many meanings to music and, for this reason, insisted on drama and urgency in his performances. In particular his Beethoven recordings possess [...]

“Hail, Festive Day”: A Hymn to Easter

By |2020-04-11T00:52:40-05:00April 11th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Easter, Imagination, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Hymns are a major source of our imaginative conception of the Christian faith. A good hymn focuses our mind on a memorable cluster of images that illuminate doctrine, preparing us to celebrate the liturgy or providing a respite during it. While the great hymn writers have often taken scripture as their starting point, they have [...]

“Christ on the Mount of Olives”: Beethoven’s Passion Oratorio

By |2020-08-20T16:32:53-05:00March 25th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Easter, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

While many artists and composers have depicted the Passion of Christ, Beethoven carried an especially weighty cross in the form of his privation of hearing, which isolated him from society and forced him to compose music from his “inner ear.” Like Christ in the Garden, he found himself alone and forsaken, wrestling with a tribulation [...]

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