The Himalayas from 20,000 Feet

Stunningly clear, mind-blowingly beautiful imagery from some of the world’s highest mountains. (“HD and Full-Screen?” you ask. “Why are you even asking me that question?” I respond. Nicely, of course. But seriously.) “The aerial cinema experts at Teton Gravity Research release the first ultra HD footage of the Himalayas shot from above 20,000 ft. with the GSS C520 system, [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 39


Today’s bit of Lenten musical meditation is the “Paradisi gloria” from the “Stabat Mater” of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. The entire piece can be found here — that’s the world-premiere recording from 2012, courtesy of the Metropolitan’s YouTube channel — and while the sound quality is less than ideal, it’s fascinating and evocative stuff. The Metropolitan [Read More...]

Identifying the Seeds of My Childhood (Literally)


When I was a little kid, wandering through the empty fields down the road from my parents’ house, there were two plants (in particular) that always fascinated me when I ran across them. One was a long, pointy pod that I used to pull apart until it looked like an open mouth. And the other was [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 38


No, I’m not done with Bach this Lent. Not yet. Not by a long shot. Here’s the “Crucifixus” from his masterful, transcendent Mass in B minor. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus, et sepultus est. And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate: suffered, and was buried. Attribution(s): “Cristo crucificado” by Diego [Read More...]

SVS: “Ulee’s Gold”


“The bees and I have an understanding. I take care of them, and they take care of me. We both just have to work a little harder, that’s all.” Intrigued by a line in this relatively muted endorsement from Jonathan Rosenbaum — “Leisurely pacing of this kind is likely to register as a form of respect [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 37


Today’s piece is “Surely He has borne our griefs” by Kevin Sadowski. I don’t even know who this “Kevin Sadowski” fellow is. I stumbled across the recording by accident while researching #MyLentInMusic entries, and was transfixed. (I was searching for something else entirely, and the recording “Lamentations: Music of Tenebrae” by the ProMusica of Washington [Read More...]

Maximizing Major League Baseball’s Emotional Impact


An interesting baseball story broke this past Friday. And since there’s nothing of sporting note going on right now, I thought it’d be a good way to get everyone in the mood for the regular season. (I kid, I kid, college hoops fans. Sort of. Dominic, the First Son, is probably watching the NCAA Basketball Tournament [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 36


In honor of today’s feast, the opening chorus from Bach’s Annunciation cantata, Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (How beautifully the morning star shines). The cantata, which can be found in its entirety here, is based on the hymn “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” by Philipp Nicolai. Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern Voll Gnad und Wahrheit von dem [Read More...]

“I Don’t Have to Belong to the Catholic Church to Be in Love with Mary”

Dolores Maria

I love composers who love Mary. So I suppose my long-standing affection for the music of Morten Lauridsen should come as no surprise. Mr. Lauridsen, who has been described by musicologist Nick Strimple as “the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic” and who often spends his summers composing in seclusion on Waldron [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 35


Today’s selection is the “Lacrimosa” segment from the Requiem of Francesco Durante. (The bit that really caught my attention the first time through? The violin in that opening section is almost harsh in its isolation, and contrasts with the chorus in a really effective way. It’s a subtle effect, perhaps. But one that definitely brings a “full [Read More...]