Coming Home: Tradition and My Hometown

By |2019-04-07T21:01:24-05:00April 7th, 2019|

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|

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 Glorious Music of Heinrich Biber

By |2019-03-16T21:34:57-05:00March 16th, 2019|

Fifty years ago, most music lovers had not heard of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704), let alone heard any of his works. Now he has claimed his place in the canon of great composers. Upon viewing the complete edition of his music, Paul Hindemith went so far as to call Biber the greatest composer [...]

The Explorer and the Cardinal: Two Views on Silence

By |2019-03-02T15:29:17-05:00March 2nd, 2019|

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|

“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|

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|

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|

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|

“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|

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|

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 [...]

Rediscovering Impressionist Music: A Balm for Our Coarse Age

By |2018-10-26T23:11:50-05:00October 26th, 2018|

French Impressionism may well be the most popular artistic style in the world. Even people who know little of art delight in the way painters like Monet and Renoir depicted everyday life and the play of light in shimmering colors. Impressionist music, on the other hand, occupies murkier territory. If we are to believe the [...]

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

By |2018-11-05T00:34:23-05:00October 4th, 2016|

That Western culture is in an advanced state of decay is, I would guess, an article of faith for many readers of The Imaginative Conservative. But consciousness of this decay goes back further than many people are probably aware. In his 1997 book The Idea of Decline in Western History, historian Arthur Herman reveals the many [...]