Streaming Suggestion: “Ostrov”

Ostrov

It’s Good Friday. A potentially-awkward day to be recommending a movie, yes. Especially because I’m planning to go film-free today, myself — as, I’m sure, are many of you. But it’s also a day with a surprising number of options. And a day when I can honestly say that I’ve benefited from a bit of [Read More...]

Gesualdo’s “Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday”

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The name “Tenebrae” — Latin for “shadows” or “darkness” – has been given because this Office is celebrated in the hours of darkness, formerly in the evening or just after midnight, now the early morning hours. There is an impressive ceremony, peculiar to this Office, which tends to perpetuate its name. There is placed in the [Read More...]

Chesnokov’s “Let My Prayer Arise!”

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Da ispravitsya molitva moya, yako kadilo pred Toboyu: vozdeyanie ruku moeyu, zhertva vechernyaya. Gospodi, vozzvakh k Tebe, uslïshi mya: vonmi glasu moleniya moyego, vnegda vozzvati mi k Tebe. Polozhi, Gospodi, khranenie ustom moim: i dver ograzhdeniya o ustnakh moikh. Ne ukloni serdtse moe v slovesa lukavstviya: nepshchevati vinï o gresekh. TRANSLATION: Let my prayer arise [Read More...]

Musical Mediation for Holy Week

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It’s time once again to embark on one of my longest-standing personal spiritual traditions: Finding some time during Holy Week to listen to J.S. Bach’s towering masterpiece, the Matthäus Passion. It grows progressively more difficult each year, because “some time” actually means 3+ hours. And Lent seems to fly by more rapidly each year. And [Read More...]

Summa Shorts: “Adagio”

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From Russian animator Garri Bardin, an unsettling and disconcertingly-appropriate film for my Holy Week preparations: The origami-style animation is extraordinarily emotive — so much told in the slight turning of those faceless heads. And while the short’s genesis is, apparently, a brief-and-mostly-political bit from Maxim Gorky, I could not escape the Christological overtones. Nor, sadly, is it [Read More...]

Streaming Suggestion: “The Conversation”

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Monday marked the 40th Anniversary of what I have long considered Francis Ford Coppola’s best film (“to date,” Joseph says hopefully). A film which I now happily share with y’all: The Conversation is currently available from NETFLIX INSTANT. I realize that’s a bit of a controversial claim, given that the legendary Godfathers feature prominently in his filmography. But I can’t [Read More...]

Gustave Doré and “The Raven”

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Life’s a bit breakneck at the moment, but I’m pulling my head up out of the water just high enough to mention this: Gustave Doré, whose spectacular illustrations for Don Quixote would be the absolute pinnacle of an amazing artistic career if he hadn’t ALSO DONE DANTE, produced 26 engravings for Edgar Allan Poe’s “The [Read More...]

“With Gusto and Lust” — Johnny Cash on Suffering, Success, The Classics, and The Gospel

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Every time I begin to despair of the InterWebs and their ability to offer anything of legitimate value, they come along with something like this: Here, via the Blank on Blank folks, is an animated interview with the legendary Man in Black, Johnny Cash himself, from some time in 2006. Really, really great stuff. A man [Read More...]

Looking For a Marimba Concerto? I’ve Got You Covered.

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The Previously-Discussed Welsh composer Karl Jenkins has written a concerto based on the legendary La Folia. For the marimba. Your argument is invalid. I love contemporary composers who have a knowledge of and an appreciation for the past. Plus, anyone who names their album of strange concerti “Quirk” is worthy of more attention, in my book. Especially when he says [Read More...]

Summa Shorts: “The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato’s Allegory in Clay”

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I realize that today’s short this is a bit more philosophical than my usual fare, but not to worry. I don’t really understand Plato’s ubiquitous Cave allegory — whether I’m dealing with it in written or in animated form. So we’re good. Claymation has always been a bit tricky for me, honestly. I love the amount of patience [Read More...]


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