Music

The Beauty and Mystery of the Unaccompanied Violin

By |2019-10-17T22:30:03-05:00October 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 |2019-10-15T14:37:49-05:00October 11th, 2019|Categories: Hector Berlioz, Hector Berlioz Sesquicentennial Series|

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 |2019-09-24T09:57:31-05:00September 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 |2019-09-23T12:59:24-05:00September 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 |2019-09-13T11:41:39-05:00September 10th, 2019|Categories: 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 |2019-09-06T16:58:25-05:00September 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 |2019-09-10T23:30:57-05:00September 2nd, 2019|Categories: 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 |2019-08-19T00:48:52-05:00August 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 |2019-10-11T12:24:05-05:00August 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, [...]