Music

Making Sense of Mozart’s Death

By |2019-12-04T22:48:22-06:00December 4th, 2019|Categories: Books, Quotation, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|

Is it possible and does it make sense to deal with the last four years of Wolfgang Amadè Mozart’s creative life without being fixated on the catastrophe of the composer's premature end? His death forever changed the course of musical classicism at the turn of the eighteenth century because, to give just one example, it [...]

Berlioz’s “Te Deum” & Chateaubriand’s “Genius of Christianity”

By |2019-11-15T10:00:33-06:00November 13th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Hector Berlioz, Hector Berlioz Sesquicentennial Series, Michael De Sapio, Music|

Hector Berlioz's version of the "Te Deum" surpasses them all in its colossal scale. The French composer has often been accused of bombast, but here the gigantic forces required are completely fitting for this cosmic hymn of praise. “[I]t was enthusiasm itself that inspired the Te Deum...[A]mid clouds of smoke and yet reeking blood, a [...]

“Chasin’ Wild Horses”

By |2019-11-14T11:35:32-06:00November 12th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Bruce Springsteen, Music|

Bruce Springsteen's "Chasin' Wild Horses" was released on his 2019 album "Western Stars," a set of songs told from the viewpoint of an older man, about remembrance, regret, and the search for redemption in the American West. The album marks a musical departure for Mr. Springsteen, as it features a classical chamber orchestral and a [...]

Why Pop Music Is So Bad These Days

By |2019-11-08T00:24:55-06:00November 7th, 2019|Categories: Education, Music|

Today’s pop music is designed to sell, not inspire. Today’s pop artist is often more concerned with producing something familiar to mass audience, increasing the likelihood of commercial success. With less timbral variety, and the same combination of keyboard, drum machine, and computer software, and with only two songwriters writing much of what we hear, [...]

The “Confessions” of Bruce Springsteen: “Western Stars,” the Film

By |2019-11-14T13:16:29-06:00October 31st, 2019|Categories: Bruce Springsteen, Film, Music, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

Bruce Springsteen's unrivaled stage presence comes across remarkably well in the film "Western Stars," as he performs his recent album in its entirety. But it is the brief, meditative, and confessional vignettes he uses to introduce each song that reveal just how much the entire album serves as his own version of St. Augustine's "Confessions." [...]

The Halloween-ness of Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique”

By |2019-11-14T13:48:19-06:00October 30th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Halloween, Hector Berlioz, Hector Berlioz Sesquicentennial Series|

It’s October, Halloween is approaching and I am obsessed with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Blame it on the title and mood of the symphony’s fifth movement: “Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath.” Could any title be more deliciously spooky? It’s this movement, and this symphony, that make classical music people nod in recognition at the sound of Hector Berlioz’s [...]

The Beauty and Mystery of the Unaccompanied Violin

By |2019-10-17T22:30:03-06:00October 17th, 2019|Categories: Culture, J.S. Bach, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Playing violin unaccompanied is the most exposed sort of music-making, with a vulnerability that is both technical and emotional. Its music seems to bring out a personal quality in composers that one doesn’t always get from music for large forces. The purity of the medium and its limitations call forth a challenge to the [...]

“Chant Sacré”

By |2019-11-14T11:13:04-06:00October 11th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Hector Berlioz, Music|

Hector Berlioz wrote the Chant Sacré (Sacred Song) in 1829, using re-using a melody he had employed in his cantata of the previous year, Herminie. Berlioz went on to create three arrangements for this gorgeous and brief piece: for choir and piano; for chorus and orchestra; and, in 1844, a version for six wind instruments. [...]

I’ll Stand By You Always: Bruce Springsteen at 70

By |2019-09-24T09:57:31-06:00September 22nd, 2019|Categories: Bruce Springsteen, Music, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

As Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen turns 70 years old, one finds it a daunting task to make an exhaustive list of his artistic accomplishments and the accolades he has received for them: Mr. Springsteen, who has been performing live for more than a half-century now, is the 15th highest-selling artist of all-time; his first album, [...]

In Time of War: Arthur Honegger’s Symphony No. 2

By |2019-09-23T12:59:24-06:00September 19th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors, War, World War II|

Arthur Honegger’s war symphonies, a synthesis of tradition and modernity, are powerful mementos of a heroic period. There was a sense that, with a moral menace to be defeated in World War II, digging into the depths of tradition was essential. As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of various milestones of World War II, it [...]

“Into the Fire”

By |2019-11-14T13:06:02-06:00September 10th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Bruce Springsteen, Music|

Editor's Note: 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: [...]

Rich Mullins: Chestertonian Troubadour

By |2019-09-06T16:58:25-06:00September 6th, 2019|Categories: Catholicism, Culture, David Deavel, Music, Senior Contributors|

I was a casual fan of his, but had always enjoyed his music. It seemed different from most other Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) that I had heard. It was somehow more real than the standard imitation-rock bands that were and are popular. It was often acoustic and had elements of Irish music, including the [...]

“Factory”

By |2019-11-14T13:22:04-06:00September 2nd, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Bruce Springsteen, Labor/Work, Music|

Early in the morning factory whistle blows Man rises from bed and puts on his clothes Man takes his lunch, walks out in the morning light It's the working, the working, just the working life Through the mansions of fear, through the mansions of pain I see my daddy walking through them factory gates in [...]

Music and the Education of the Christian Soul

By |2019-08-19T00:48:52-06:00August 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 [...]