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. Mr. De Sapio's essays on music, religion, and cultural history have been featured in Fanfare, Touchstone, and Crisis, among other publications. He has also published a screenplay, The Incredible Life of Joey Coletta.

Nadia Boulanger and the Transcendent Meaning of Music

By |2018-12-05T16:15:11-05:00December 5th, 2018|Categories: Art, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

“Music seems to exist in and of itself, like a temple built around your soul.” Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) The story of music in the twentieth century would have been very different without the inspirational force of Nadia Boulanger—conductor, pianist, organist, and teacher to some of the era’s greatest composers. She [...]

Images of America: The Art of William Sidney Mount

By |2018-11-14T23:15:26-05:00November 14th, 2018|Categories: Art, Beauty, History, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

Though William Sidney Mount’s name is rarely mentioned except among art experts, the images he created are timeless Americana—skillfully rendered scenes full of homely comforts and the joy of life... “How glorious it is to paint in the open fields, to hear the birds singing around you, to draw in the fresh air—how thankful it makes [...]

Standing Athwart History: Can We Stop the Decline of the West?

By |2018-11-26T09:27:11-05:00November 11th, 2018|Categories: Art, Civilization, Culture, History, Michael De Sapio, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Michael De Sapio as he considers the reasons for the decline of the West. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher That Western culture is in an advanced state of decay is, I would guess, an article of faith for many readers of The [...]

Rediscovering Impressionist Music: A Balm for Our Coarse Age

By |2018-10-26T23:11:50-05:00October 26th, 2018|Categories: Michael De Sapio, Music|

French Impressionism may well be the most popular artistic style in the world. Even people who know little of art delight in the way painters like Monet and Renoir depicted everyday life and the play of light in shimmering colors. Impressionist music, on the other hand, occupies murkier territory. If we are to believe the [...]

The Moral Conservatism of Igor Stravinsky

By |2019-06-13T10:22:14-05:00June 29th, 2018|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Igor Stravinsky, Music, Opera|

Igor Stravinsky is endlessly touted as an arch-modernist, but The Soldier’s Tale and The Rake’s Progress show him to be something more important: a great twentieth-century moralist… Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was certainly the greatest composer of the twentieth century, yet most listeners never go beyond his “Russian” period as represented by the meteoric early [...]

“The Miracle of the Bells”: A Forgotten Novel & Film

By |2017-12-19T23:50:18-05:00December 19th, 2017|Categories: Books, Catholicism, Christmas, Film|

The Miracle of the Bells doesn’t claim to be great literature, but it is a richly-drawn story about faith and Hollywood, a time capsule of a bygone era that retains its inspirational charm… The Miracle of the Bells by Russell Janney (510 pages, Forgotten Books, 1946) Back in 1947 it was possible for a Catholic novel [...]

Reminiscences of a Christian Girl in Wartime Holland

By |2017-11-21T23:18:16-05:00November 21st, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, Christmas, Thanksgiving, World War II|

Those of my Dutch neighbor’s generation knew exactly what they were doing in the Passion Play that was Europe during World War II. It was her Christian faith that sustained her through the hardships of those years… Stien van Egmond In honor of Thanksgiving and in anticipation of the Christmas season, I [...]

Does God Want You to Be Happy?

By |2017-11-05T17:28:37-05:00November 4th, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Happiness, Religion|

The Bible does not speak of “happiness” as such, though it often speaks of “joy,” one of the signal characteristics which Jesus bequeathed to his disciples… In The Mind of the Maker, her brilliant book about theology and art, Dorothy L. Sayers discusses the differences between the biblical and modern attitudes toward life as revealed [...]

The Moral Imagination of “Leave It to Beaver”

By |2017-10-19T10:15:15-05:00October 12th, 2017|Categories: Culture, Family, Marriage, Moral Imagination, Morality, Russell Kirk|

Leave It to Beaver was very much a medieval morality play, in which the character of the Beaver repeatedly succumbed to temptation, suffered the consequences, and was guided back on the path of virtue… Russell Kirk defined the moral imagination as “an enduring source of inspiration that elevates us to first principles as it [...]

The Sacred Music of Igor Stravinsky

By |2017-06-17T02:04:05-05:00June 16th, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Music|

Igor Stravinsky was not only one of the greatest composers but also one of the great minds and wits of the twentieth century… “Music praises God. Music is well or better able to praise him than the building of the church in all its decoration; it is the church’s greatest ornament.” —Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) [...]

Camille Saint-Saëns: An Underrated Master

By |2018-10-02T14:06:59-05:00June 8th, 2017|Categories: Culture, Music|

Camille Saint-Saëns indeed had a wonderful sense of humor, but it is his serious, abstract works—especially his chamber music—that show him at his Gallic best and assure his place among the great composers… When it comes to classical music, “the filter of history is by no means always an honest one,” as a writer [...]

Bach’s Mass for All Christians

By |2019-03-11T15:31:52-05:00April 14th, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, J.S. Bach|

Bach’s Mass in B Minor is the summation of his life’s work and one of the supreme masterpieces of Western classical music. Yet mystery surrounds the work. What was its purpose, how did it come to be written, and how was it intended to be performed?… No work of Johann Sebastian Bach is more [...]

Did Beethoven Die in Communion with the Church?

By |2017-03-26T22:10:57-05:00March 25th, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, Ludwig van Beethoven|

That a priest allowed a Catholic burial and high requiem Mass for Beethoven would seem to indicate that he thought Beethoven died a believer. But did he indeed?… Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart form the great trinity of Western classical composers. Of the three, it is Beethoven whose religious [...]