Bruce Springsteen’s “Rhinestone Cowboy”: The Bard of Authenticity Salutes Cheesy Seventies Style

By |2020-01-10T15:38:14-06:00January 10th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Bruce Springsteen, Music|

Bruce Springsteen covers “Rhinestone Cowboy” in the closing credits of his new film "Western Stars," which he made to promote the album of the same name. Why did he choose this one to wrap up the movie? I think it’s a sly confession. Glen Campbell and Bruce Springsteen are not so far apart as they [...]

Hector Berlioz and the Art of Musical Storytelling

By |2019-12-30T22:23:42-06:00December 30th, 2019|Categories: Hector Berlioz, Hector Berlioz Sesquicentennial Series, Michael De Sapio, Music|

Music with extra-musical subtexts has existed for a long time, but it was the Romantics who first combined story and music in a close synthesis. Their pioneer was Hector Berlioz, who dove into the art of musical storytelling with a daring never before seen, yet with an artistic integrity rarely achieved since. Berlioz first saw [...]

Hector Berlioz’s Long-Lost “Solemn Mass” for the Holy Innocents

By |2019-12-28T02:25:54-06:00December 27th, 2019|Categories: Hector Berlioz, Hector Berlioz Sesquicentennial Series, Music, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

"By God, you will be no doctor or apothecary, but a great composer." —Jean-François Le Sueur, to Hector Berlioz, upon hearing the premier of the Messe Solennelle Saint-Roch Church, Paris Its premier in 1825 marked one of the most remarkable musical debuts ever by a composer, and the score's rediscovery 167 years later [...]

Finding Faith in the Manger: Berlioz’s “Infancy of Christ”

By |2019-12-25T02:41:26-06:00December 24th, 2019|Categories: Christmas, Hector Berlioz, Hector Berlioz Sesquicentennial Series, Music, Timeless Essays|

Could anything as tender and touching as "L’Enfance du Christ" have been written by a man who did not believe? One hopes that professed atheist Hector Berlioz was able to find the Christmas that he portrayed so beautifully. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Robert Reilly, as he [...]

“Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day”: A Christmas Carol for All Seasons

By |2019-12-25T02:32:05-06:00December 24th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Christmas, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

“Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day” hearkens back to an era when theological ideas were part of everyone’s mental awareness, ripe for poetry and song. Though the idea of Christ and humanity being united as bridegroom and bride is a classic Christian motif, we are surprised to find it in a popular Christmas carol, [...]

Holiday Therapy: César Franck’s “Panis Angelicus”

By |2019-12-22T22:27:20-06:00December 22nd, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Christmas, Culture, Music|

César Franck’s beautiful short piece, “Panis Angelicus,” seems to epitomize all that is good about December, while serving as good therapy against those manic bouts of mandated (and teeth-gritting) good cheer. You hear the opening notes and your shoulders unclench; your thoughts slow. Your ears prick up in order to catch every beautiful note. [...]

Five New Classical Solo Albums for Gifting

By |2019-12-18T16:05:30-06:00December 19th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Christmas, Gifts for Imaginative Conservatives, Music|

So many classical solo albums released this year.... I have five unique choices as gift recommendations for Christmas, comprising two cellos, two violins, and one piano. 1. I became aware of my first choice in late spring thanks to reader Frida Peeple. After reading my essay on Vivaldi’s cello concertos, she mentioned Croatian-Slovenian Luka Šulić’s [...]

“The Nativity”

By |2019-12-17T16:04:41-06:00December 17th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Christmas, Music|

American composer Paul Creston's Symphony No. 3 is composed of three movements, each depicting one of the mysteries of the life of Christ: "The Nativity," "The Crucifixion," and "The Resurrection." Here is more rom the Naxos recording of this work: In his Symphony No.3 Creston expressed his deep religious feelings in an orchestral Life of Christ. Premiered [...]

Glory to Dido! The Operas of Hector Berlioz

By |2019-12-11T01:30:39-06:00December 10th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Hector Berlioz, Hector Berlioz Sesquicentennial Series, Music, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

"They are finally going to play my music." —Hector Berlioz, on his deathbed Though Hector Berlioz's operas are still little known today—even to the opera-going public, who are much more likely to find the dramas of Verdi, Puccini, Bellini, and Mozart on the program—the increasing recognition of their many glories is slowly making them less [...]

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 |2019-12-10T13:37:19-06:00November 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, [...]