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

By |2019-06-15T11:36:20-05:00June 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 Art of Tintoretto: Realism and Religion

By |2019-05-24T10:36:42-05:00May 24th, 2019|Categories: Art, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

Unlike modernists of more recent vintage, Venetian Renaissance master Tintoretto aimed at higher ideals than the projection of his ego. He ordered his talents to honoring the Classical and Christian civilization of which he was a part. Yet, where High Renaissance artists strove for classical serenity and poise, Tintoretto stupefied his contemporaries with grand displays of [...]

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 [...]

Coming Home: Tradition and My Hometown

By |2019-04-07T21:01:24-05:00April 7th, 2019|Categories: History, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Tradition|

The beauty of one’s home, neighborhood, and community is easy to forget, especially in an age as transient and rootless as ours. Yet, it’s in the quiet moments or on a historic occasion in your hometown that you are pulled back to consider the things that surround you. “Coming home” is an important process [...]

Paul Hindemith’s “Life of Mary”

By |2019-04-01T11:25:30-05:00March 30th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Despite all its intellectual rigor, Paul Hindemith’s Life of Mary is a very approachable piece of twentieth-century vocal music. I can think of no other work that treats the totality of Mary’s life, including episodes that even the most devout rarely think about. A giant among 20th-century composers, Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) went from an [...]

The Explorer and the Cardinal: Two Views on Silence

By |2019-03-02T15:29:17-05:00March 2nd, 2019|Categories: Books, Christian Living, Happiness, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Senior Contributors, Wisdom|

Solitude takes us out to deep and spacious waters where we see that silence is one of our greatest gifts and blessings, in which we discover not only ourselves but God as well. It’s striking the number of books coming out recently on the subject of silence; it must be a felt need in [...]

The Myth of Modernism

By |2019-02-26T14:40:40-05:00February 13th, 2019|Categories: Art, Beauty, Culture, Culture War, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Music, Senior Contributors, Tradition, Western Civilization|

“Should not the unswerving modernists… come to the realization that there is nothing more wearisome or more barren than the most antiquated of all manias: the rage to be modern?” Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) In my visits to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, I generally sidestep the East Building, the portion devoted to [...]

Is Specialization Killing Culture?

By |2019-01-25T22:14:19-05:00January 25th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Civilization, Community, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Permanent Things, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative, Truth, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

If culture is simply a matter of private enthusiasms and hobbies, of small details and specialties, then what of a common culture? What about the collective project and shared sense of purpose that built Western civilization? “The expert takes a little subject for his province, and remains a provincial for the rest of his [...]

Listening to the Bible With David Suchet

By |2019-01-13T07:20:24-05:00January 12th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Christian Living, Christianity, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

Nowadays we hear the Bible read in installments at our weekly liturgies, but sustained reading aloud is rare. Yet reading out loud is irreplaceable. It is a social act, incarnating the words and message in a personal way. In hearing the Bible read, the Word takes flesh before us… When I was about thirteen [...]

In Search of the “Everlasting Man”

By |2018-12-19T22:53:15-05:00December 19th, 2018|Categories: Advent, Christianity, Christmas, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Tradition, Western Civilization|

Of late I’ve grown rather cool toward Christmas. It’s a curious development. When I was a child, Christmas seemed the height of magic and mystery. Now when people ask me my favorite holidays, I answer Easter and Thanksgiving. I reason that the Resurrection and Gratitude are two of the best things there are, and [...]

Nadia Boulanger and the Transcendent Meaning of Music

By |2018-12-05T16:15:11-05:00December 5th, 2018|Categories: Art, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

“Music seems to exist in and of itself, like a temple built around your soul.” Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) The story of music in the twentieth century would have been very different without the inspirational force of Nadia Boulanger—conductor, pianist, organist, and teacher to some of the era’s greatest composers. She [...]

Images of America: The Art of William Sidney Mount

By |2018-11-14T23:15:26-05:00November 14th, 2018|Categories: Art, Beauty, History, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

Though William Sidney Mount’s name is rarely mentioned except among art experts, the images he created are timeless Americana—skillfully rendered scenes full of homely comforts and the joy of life... “How glorious it is to paint in the open fields, to hear the birds singing around you, to draw in the fresh air—how thankful it makes [...]

Standing Athwart History: Can We Stop the Decline of the West?

By |2018-11-26T09:27:11-05:00November 11th, 2018|Categories: Art, Civilization, Culture, History, Michael De Sapio, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Michael De Sapio as he considers the reasons for the decline of the West. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher That Western culture is in an advanced state of decay is, I would guess, an article of faith for many readers of The [...]