Tomaso Albinoni and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad “One-Hit Wonder” Moniker

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For years, I’ve been fascinated by Tomaso Albinoni, the Baroque composer whose presence in the public “eye” is tied almost exclusively to a single piece: the bleak and ubiquitous Adagio in G minor, which he didn’t really even write. In 1945, Remo Giazotto, a Milanese musicologist traveled to Dresden to complete his biography of Albinoni and his [Read More...]

“Howlin’ Ukuleles, Batman!”

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This VOX Ukulele commercial is a ton of fun — partially because of the music, partially because of the performer, and partially because “UKULELES!” May it brighten your Tuesday as much as it has brightened mine.The fellow doing the pickin’ is Jack Mauro – the same guy who wrote and performs the song. And he’s got [Read More...]

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, According to John (and Bach)

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Each year, as part of my Good Friday devotions, I try to listen (as distraction-free as possible) to a musical work suited — both emotionally and liturgically — to the commemoration of Christ’s passion and death. Past listening sessions have ranged from Alfeyev’s Passion of St. Matthew and Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light to Schutz’s Passions (Matthew, Luke, [Read More...]

Musical Meditation for the Feast of St. Patrick

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I’ve got to admit that my life haven’t felt particularly Lenten of late. The anticipation, excitement, and joyful celebration of Papam Week 2013 has dominated the last few days, and I’ve been struggling to return to a more “liturgically-appropriate” frame of mind ever since. Ironically, today’s feast — traditionally a time of great/excessive celebration — [Read More...]

No Commentary Necessary — “Habemus Papam” Edition

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Yes, I know it’s Lent. But come on, people. We have a pope! View image | gettyimages.com Bonus Celebratory Music: Palestrina’s “Tu es Petrus” — always beautiful, but particularly appropriate today. Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram ædificabo ecclesiam meam et portæ inferi non prævalebunt adversus eam. Et tibi dabo claves regni cælorum. Attribution(s): Photos [Read More...]

Musical Meditation for the Third Sunday of Lent

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As I reflected on Andrei Tarkovsky’s “The Sacrifice” last week, I was reminded of the wonderfully Lenten aria that serves as its musical backbone: Erbarme Dich, mein Gott from J.S. Bach’s Matthäus-Passion. My recommendation? Don’t watch. Just listen. Erbarme dich, mein Gott, Um meiner Zähren Willen ! Shaue hier, Herz und Auge Weint vor dir bitterlich. Erbarme dich, [Read More...]

Music and Meditation for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

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It’s one of those “Fourth Week, we hardly knew ye” years, where Week Four of Advent feels more like a vestigial than a full-blown liturgical event. But two days is more than enough to highlight some of the memorable melodic edifices built upon today’s introit: “Rorate Coeli Desuper.” Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum: aperiatur [Read More...]

A Little Knüppel Music

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A friend of mine, well-aware of my love for both classical music and the bizarre, recently passed along this fantastic YouTube video. It’s a fellow performing Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in F minor (K.386) on a Chapman Stick. My first reaction (and I quote): “What the heck is that thing?” Described by its living creator — how [Read More...]

Music and Meditation for the Third Sunday of Advent

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In the wake of Friday’s tragedy, today’s call to “Rejoice” is a difficult one. But as Deacon Greg reminds us, even that call is shot through with the promise of suffering: “The Lord is near.” He knows what it’s like. And He knows what we need: hope.  And He has given it to us. The [Read More...]

Monteverdi’s Marian Love Letter

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Over at my old stomping grounds, the incomparable Robert Reilly just reminded me of something that has confounded me for years: I love Monteverdi’s Vespers. “Why confounding,” you ask? Because despite my relatively large musical sweet spot, I have always struggled to enjoy (or even to appreciate) Renaissance music. When confronted by a friend a few [Read More...]


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