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...]

Sir David Attenborough, Harmless Lunatic

shutterstock_76271701 (Header)

View image | gettyimages.com Here in the U.S., we have “Shark Week.” In the U.K., they have “Attenborough Week.” Well, they had one, anyway. Last April. To celebrate “the 60 years of amazing Natural History created by Sir David Attenborough.” And as a long-time fan of the man and his work — always interesting, even [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 34


Dropping back down into the Russians for a moment. (And when I say “down,” I’ve definitely got the Basso Profondos on my mind. The legendary Vladimir Pavlovich Pasyukov, in this case.) The key change that starts around 0:45 is just spine-tingling. Here’s the aforementioned Pavel Chesnokov’s “We Praise Thee.” Attribution(s): “Vladimir Pasyoukov” by Cormag100 is licensed under CC BY-SA [Read More...]

SSF: “Head Over Heels”


In early 2013, director Timothy Reckart’s wonderful stop-motion short, Head Over Heels, was part of a ridiculously good class of Best Animated Short nominations at the 85th Academy Awards. John Kahrs’ Paperman (the clear front-runner in the days leading up to the show and the eventual winner) remains the most widely-known of that year’s offerings, while Minkyu Lee’s Adam [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 33


For today’s musical meditation, English composer Thomas Tomkin’s “I Heard a Voice.” I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, From henceforth, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: Even so, saith the Spirit: for they rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. Attribution(s): “John on Patmos” by [Read More...]

Seeing the Familiar in a New Light: Denise Bossert’s “Gifts of the Visitation”


Devotion to the Blessed Virgin has never come to me naturally. I knew the reasons for such devotion, the rightness of it, even the necessity for it.  My parents prayed the rosary with us almost nightly, and my father’s visceral, Irish faith was never more obvious than when he spoke of “Our Mother”.  But as [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 32


Returning to my ancestral roots with “Quis Est Homo,” plucked from one of Czech composer František Ignác Antonín Tůma’s five setting of the “Stabat Mater.” (Yep. Five. Also, the whole setting is really wonderful. So HERE.) Quis est homo qui non fleret,Matrem Christi si videretIn tanto supplicio? Quis non posset contristari,Christi Matrem contemplariDolentem cum Filio? Is there one [Read More...]

The Moving Genius of Akira Kirusowa


View image | gettyimages.com Yes, I have already written about Tony Zhou’s web series, “Every Frame a Painting.” Yes, he has released a new episode, “Akira Kurosawa – Composing Movement.” Yes, it’s amazing. What else were you expecting his Kurosawa-themed analysis to be? Yes, I’m sharing it with you. I have to live with myself, after all. [Read More...]