Prayer, Beauty, and Civilization

By |2020-11-21T10:16:29-06:00November 21st, 2020|Categories: Art, Beauty, Books, Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Imagination, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

In our zeal to articulate how Christianity has shaped civilization, we are apt to neglect the specific role of prayer. The good, the true, and the beautiful fostered by our civilization have been initiated and sustained by prayer. If one does not pray, what measure of human cultivation is one missing? Art and Prayer: [...]

Beethoven’s “Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage”

By |2020-11-10T16:36:22-06:00November 10th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

In his short, neglected masterpiece, "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage," Beethoven—who himself never traveled by sea nor left continental Europe—created a tone poem that reflects the Romantic awe of storms and the sublimity of God-in-nature. It also reflects, on a miniature scale, Beethoven's own story of suffering and transcendence. Those who have read previous essays [...]

Death and Transfiguration

By |2020-10-05T12:00:21-05:00November 1st, 2020|Categories: Books, Christianity, Death, Hope, Michael De Sapio, Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Dealing with the topic of death, Dietrich von Hildebrand’s consoling book “Jaws of Death: Gate of Heaven” shines both in its “dark” and “light” halves, illuminating the eternal duality of human life and helping to reconcile its painful contradictions. Life is not a journey of diminishing returns, ending in darkness and the grave, but [...]

The Mystique of Late Beethoven

By |2020-10-09T08:54:26-05:00October 8th, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

Beethoven's late style was not a total break from what came before. Many things touted as revolutionary are really, when seen in proper perspective, evolutionary. Beethoven’s late period intensifies qualities inherent in all his previous work. It is filled with music that is warm-hearted, impassioned, and of breathtaking beauty. “The music is not pretty or [...]

What Does It Mean to Be a Person of Culture?

By |2020-08-14T17:00:59-05:00August 17th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Liberal Learning, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

True culture is a liberation from the ephemeral, a journey toward permanence and value. A cultured life, therefore, consists in more than just piling up facts; it must include reflecting on the meaning of man’s works—especially those works which have stood the test time—and how they fit into the larger scheme of reality. Attempts [...]

Art, Nature, and Revelation

By |2020-08-14T09:47:05-05:00August 8th, 2020|Categories: Art, Christianity, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Nature, Senior Contributors|

In the era of scientific advancement, contemplating the sublime, both in nature and art, remains more necessary than ever. Works of art that build a sub-creation on scripture, exploiting the fullness of natural realism inherent in it, attain a very rare sublimity and draw the mind toward God. These waters must be troubled before [...]

Music as a Window Into History and Character

By |2020-07-23T15:07:46-05:00July 22nd, 2020|Categories: Character, Culture, History, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Albéric Magnard’s music is a happy amalgam of all that was best in Wagner, Franck, and Debussy. The gentle, nostalgic, and somewhat melancholy reminiscence of the past is a key part of his aesthetic and a clear legacy of his Schola Cantorum training. Yet his music is also progressive, looking forward unmistakably to the [...]

The Music of American Composer Charles Martin Loeffler

By |2020-07-11T16:18:48-05:00July 11th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Music, Senior Contributors|

Charles Martin Loeffler’s rise to eminence among composers worldwide signals an American cultural arrival at the turn of the 20th century. In a sense he was a bridge from the Old World to the New. Loeffler brought something unique to our culture, and his colorful and intimate music should not to be forgotten. There [...]

Why Is Beethoven So Popular?

By |2020-08-20T15:55:40-05:00June 22nd, 2020|Categories: Beethoven 250, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael De Sapio, Music|

It is Beethoven—not Bach or Mozart—who is the most universally popular composer in the classical canon. Why is this? Some authors have posited his democratic social beliefs or his personal story of victory over deafness. These are all certainly factors, but I prefer to look first at the aesthetic qualities of the music itself. Johann [...]

How Should Christians Approach Beauty?

By |2020-06-06T19:40:13-05:00June 6th, 2020|Categories: Art, Beauty, Books, Christianity, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors|

Although the beauty of visible and audible things presupposes the use of the senses, beauty’s essence is not sensual but spiritual. It does not distract us from God; on the contrary, it elevates our minds to God. Beauty in the Light of the Redemption, by Dietrich von Hildebrand (92 pages, Hildebrand Project, 2019) The [...]

The Mighty Nine: Reflections on Beethoven’s Symphonies

By |2020-10-19T13:56:57-05:00May 25th, 2020|Categories: Andrew Balio, Beethoven 250, Joseph Pearce, Ludwig van Beethoven, Mark Malvasi, Michael De Sapio, Music, Stephen M. Klugewicz|Tags: , , , |

Please enjoy this symposium on the nine symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, with contributions from our distinguished panel, including composer Michael Kurek and Principal Trumpet of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Balio. Clicking on the CD cover art next to each symphony will guide you to a listening recommendation on Spotify; at the bottom of [...]

Charm and the Civilized Life

By |2020-05-18T18:30:26-05:00May 18th, 2020|Categories: Books, Character, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Senior Contributors, Virtue|

In his latest book, Joseph Epstein takes on the elusive topic of charm, which consists of being pleasing to others and making the world seem a better place. Charm radiates light, order, and good humor; it is cool and calm, not hot and excited. Perhaps, like beauty, charm is one of the blessedly “useless” [...]

Reminiscences of the Dutch Liberation: May 5, 1945

By |2020-05-04T17:36:11-05:00May 4th, 2020|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Europe, History, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, War, World War II|

It is now 75 years since the Allies freed the Netherlands from the clutches of the Nazis, yet my neighbor Christina (“Stien”) van Egmond remembers the events with amazing clarity. Ms. Stien was 16 at the time and, having graduated from high school several months previously, was working in her father’s greengrocery in Diemen, [...]

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