“The World Turned Upside Down”

By |2020-10-16T11:37:49-05:00October 16th, 2020|Categories: American Revolution, Audio/Video, Music|

The World Turned Upside Down" is an English ballad. It was first published on a broadside in the middle of the 1640s as a protest against the policies of Parliament relating to the celebration of Christmas. Parliament believed the holiday should be a solemn occasion, and outlawed traditional English Christmas celebrations. There are several versions [...]

When Bad Composers Do Good Things

By |2020-10-15T15:30:00-05:00October 15th, 2020|Categories: Music|

As a composer myself, I personally like the metaphor that my works are my children. In fact, they are my grown children, separate people, out of my house and entirely responsible for themselves now. Don’t blame me for them! And don’t blame them for me, either. No, my title does not refer to good people [...]

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 [...]

The Virtue of Irrelevance

By |2020-10-06T11:53:12-05:00October 7th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Education, Featured, Music, Philosophy, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

If we know what music is, we have a duty to help young people to understand it, regardless of its “relevance.” We should do this as it has always been done, through encouraging our students to make music together. How many writers, educators, and opinion formers, urgently wishing to convey the thoughts and feelings [...]

On Nightmares, Crowds, and Getting It Wrong

By |2020-10-06T16:49:03-05:00October 6th, 2020|Categories: Culture, Music, Nature, Philosophy, St. Thomas Aquinas|

If the universe were a swarm, there would be no universe. That swarm, that self-caused changing unit, that Godless movable infinite thing would destroy the necessary condition of its own existence and persistence: the individuals that constitute it. Why, then, does modern man insist on not seeing this? Why does he choose rage over reality? [...]

A Call to the Joy of Life: Why Beethoven’s Ninth Matters to Me

By |2020-09-28T17:13:06-05:00September 28th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music, Timeless Essays|

For me, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony will be forever linked to my life as a Bosnian refugee. In a time of great suffering, this music brought me hope. No amount of ideological nonsense will destroy its inherent beauty and its constant call for the restoration of humanity’s greatness. Western civilization and culture have been under [...]

Will Classical Music Resist the Assaults of the Avant-Garde?

By |2020-09-22T11:31:06-05:00September 22nd, 2020|Categories: Culture, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays, Tradition, Western Civilization|

The problem for modern music arose from the way in which ideas came to displace feelings as the source of musical creation. Conscious repetition of learned effects does not amount to real musical content. Surprised by Beauty: A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music, by Robert R. Reilly (Ignatius Press, 2016) Robert [...]

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 [...]

“Down in the Hole”

By |2020-09-10T16:04:17-05:00September 10th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Bruce Springsteen, Music|

In the days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bruce Springsteen, who had watched the smoking devastation of lower Manhattan from a point across the river in New Jersey, and who had lost friends as the World Trade Center towers crumbled, was in Rumson, when a passing driver yelled at him: “Bruce, we [...]

Who Was Pierre Boulez?

By |2020-09-23T23:54:36-05:00September 9th, 2020|Categories: Europe, Featured, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

We must surely understand composer-conductor Pierre Boulez as the instigator of a false conception of music—not only of the place of music in high culture, and in the civilisation that is our greatest spiritual possession, but of the nature of music itself. DE MORTUIS NIL NISI BONUM: Of the dead, nothing unless good. But [...]

Antonín Dvorák: Composing Music of Joy in the Kitchen

By |2020-09-07T15:30:51-05:00September 7th, 2020|Categories: Antonin Dvorak, Music|

Antonín Dvorák’s music expresses joy, especially in all the sentiments associated with home. Dvorák’s favorite workplace was the kitchen, amidst the domestic racket of his large family. Fleeing the congestion and mayhem of New York City in the early summer of 1893, Antonin Dvorák, along with his wife and six children, alighted from a train [...]

The Lost Art of Great Popular Song

By |2020-09-03T00:12:36-05:00September 2nd, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Music|

Johnny Mercer Is the Great American Songbook still being written? The so-called Great American Songbook is defined as a canon of the memorable “standards” of popular song that helped to define American culture in the first half of the 20th century. Its great composers included Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and Jerome [...]

Redeeming Film Music From the Avant-Garde

By |2020-08-25T16:07:20-05:00August 25th, 2020|Categories: Featured, Film, Music, Roger Scruton, Timeless Essays|

Perhaps we should be grateful to John Williams and Howard Shore for showing us that we can still use the tonal language to create music that resonates in the hearts of ordinary people. Perhaps we should be suspicious of those musical censors who leap to dismiss whatever is spontaneously likeable as cliché, and whatever [...]

Principles Learned Through Piano Practice

By |2020-08-21T15:37:36-05:00August 21st, 2020|Categories: Character, Christian Living, Christianity, Culture, Music|

Most of us have read or heard of the studies that show the mental benefits that come from learning a musical instrument. Such benefits include the development of fine motor skills, opportunity for frequent brain stimulation, improvement in cognition and dexterity, concentration enhancement, and increased neuroplasticity, to name a few. All of these benefits [...]

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