“A Condition of Complete Simplicity” from T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”

The Agony in the Garden circa 1799-1800 by William Blake 1757-1827

I can’t remember how this came to pass, but over the past few days, I’ve found myself listening a great deal to T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets.” And especially listening to the performance of “Little Gidding” by Paul Scofield (that can be found on YouTube). Now, as I’ve listened to Eliot off and on through the years, I’ve come to [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 42


Georg Philipp Telemann wrote a Matthäus Passion. I did not know this. …which, by extension, means that I also did not know that he’d written more than forty musical reflections on Christ’s Passion. That’s right. OVER 40! So, here’s his Paßions-Musik nach dem Evangelisten Matthäus (TWV 5:31) from 1746. It feels almost mild when compared to some of [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 41


Passion Week has begun. And so, here’s an unusual Matthaus-Passion from the influential German composer, Heinrich Schütz. The Introitus and Beschluss are my favorite parts, because they’re a bit more complex musically, and the rest feels a bit like a long recitative. But listening to the whole thing (with the text) is a really wonderful meditation. If the name [Read More...]

SSF: “Kaboom!”


Well, this is sure fun. And if you can watch it without thinking of Marvin the Martian, you’re more disciplined/less distractible than I. (Yes, we probably already knew that to be the case, so let’s just consider this additional evidence, shall we?) This Op-Doc video takes a look at Rich and Dee Gibson, a quirky couple who have [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 40


Another example of a work I stumbled across quite by accident. Again, from someone I’ve never even heard of before. And again, a really wonderful revelation. Its composer, Mateusz Dębski, is a young Polish musician who won First Place in a Choral Composition competition in 2006 with this very work. It might just be me, [Read More...]

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...]