Music

Music and the Education of the Christian Soul

By |2019-08-19T00:48:52-05:00August 18th, 2019|Categories: Antonio Vivaldi, Beauty, Christianity, Culture, Happiness, Heaven, Music, Timeless Essays|

In a world ringing with noise and suffused with the more or less artful idolizing of passions divorced from objective goods, where are we to find melodies capable of penetrating our hardened hearts with spiritual truths? Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join L. Joseph Hebert, as he [...]

Berlioz and Shakespeare

By |2019-08-16T12:15:01-05:00August 15th, 2019|Categories: Hector Berlioz, Hector Berlioz Sesquicentennial Series, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

From his first experience of "Hamlet" in 1827 to his death in 1869, Hector Berlioz found William Shakespeare's plays to be an ongoing source of almost-divine inspiration for his music. Indeed, Berlioz's love for "the father of artists" led to the creation of what many consider to be his greatest work: the dramatic symphony, "Roméo [...]

Woodstock 50: What Went Wrong Then and Now

By |2019-08-14T21:55:25-05:00August 14th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Culture War, History, Modernity, Music|

If America is polarized and directionless today, it is partly due to the cultural revolution that emanated from Woodstock. The solution is not to recreate Woodstock fifty years later, but to reject it as the cultural and moral disaster that it was. Woodstock represented what America would eventually become—a broken and dysfunctional society. It shows [...]

Arvo Pärt’s Mystical, Mesmerizing “Fratres for Strings & Percussion”

By |2019-08-02T12:03:48-05:00July 26th, 2019|Categories: Arvo Pärt, Culture, Music|

In Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres” there seem to be all sorts of emotions simmering just below the surface. Dense, big, life-and-death emotions. Ancient spirituality. All of it affects you at such a gut level. It’s majestic. It’s minimalist. Mr. Pärt’s spirituality, his philosophy, is there, tucked invisibly into the music. There is something about going [...]

The Boston Classicists: America’s Pioneering Composers

By |2019-07-18T21:35:18-05:00July 18th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Together, four men and one woman—the Boston Classicists—brought American music to a level of sophistication it had never had before. Not only did they become the most highly respected composers in America, but their music was also heard abroad to great applause. In her early years America had the reputation, at least among sophisticated [...]

Deep Listening

By |2019-07-07T22:14:32-05:00July 7th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Music, Timeless Essays|

The capacity to “enter” the imaginary landscape of the musical narrative is what musical perception really means. We can call this “deep listening:” the alert attention which puts, for the duration of the concert, our ego and our intellect on a shelf, to be taken back at the cloakroom where we fortify ourselves again [...]

A Country for Old Men: Bruce Springsteen’s “Western Stars”

By |2019-06-22T21:52:29-05:00June 19th, 2019|Categories: American West, Bruce Springsteen, Music, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

The old men who narrate the songs of Bruce Springsteen's cinematic "Western Stars" are broken, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Seeking a land of sunshine, open roads, and new beginnings, they find that the fabled American West cannot provide salvation for the lost and lonely. But "Western Stars" will surely provide balm for the soul. Western Stars, [...]

The Power of Francis Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites”

By |2019-06-20T11:09:44-05:00June 14th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Opera, Senior Contributors|

Francis Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites” is based on the true story of the Martyrs of Compiègne, a community of sixteen Carmelite nuns who were guillotined during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Many hold it in high esteem as one of the twentieth century’s greatest operas. Francis Poulenc The Metropolitan Opera’s [...]

The Sound of a Summer Symphony: Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite”

By |2019-06-07T12:30:57-05:00June 5th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Culture, Music|

Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite” communicates an infectious passion for the beauty of the Canyon, especially the allure of the composer’s magnificent first impressions. His pictorial orchestration is emotional but that does not imply simplicity. It is a strength that welcomes and holds listeners of every age. Emblazoned with striking black and white titles, [...]

Killing Kate Smith

By |2019-05-24T11:06:36-05:00May 19th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Modernity, Music|

Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America” moved the hearts of listeners worldwide. Yet, she is now being “investigated” for potentially racist lyrics, as if she committed a crime worthy of being prosecuted at the Nuremberg Trials. Let us hope that we can make a stand to defend those who represent beauty, truth, and [...]

Slipping Inside Fauré’s Nocturne No. 4

By |2019-05-12T00:06:31-05:00May 11th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Culture, Europe, Music|

Falling in love with French composer Gabriel Fauré’s Nocturne No. 4 wasn’t one of those thunderclap experiences. It crept up on me, gradually. I’d been listening to this Fauré Nocturne CD for almost a decade, mostly as I drove, and enjoying the music’s understated elegance and beauty. Then, this past year, something clicked with [...]

Stravinsky’s Other Rite of Spring: “Perséphone”

By |2019-05-11T09:23:26-05:00May 10th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Igor Stravinsky, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

One of my favorite musical works about spring is by Igor Stravinsky, but it’s not the one you would expect—the wild and primal Rite of Spring. Rather it’s his stage piece Perséphone, set to words by the French poet André Gide and retelling through song, ballet, and spoken narration the Greek myth explaining the [...]