Singing What’s True

In my dazed and confused youth, listening to classic rock as I traversed the rural roads of New England, several of Van Morrison’s ubiquitous hits were etched into my soul. Apart from that, I never gave the fellow a second thought, until reading several years ago that the title of his popular tune, “Domino,” isContinue reading “Singing What’s True”

Unwinding Unwisdom

An old and erroneous nugget of unwisdom has it that the English word tedium originates from the Latin Te Deum—the Church’s hymn of thanksgiving, attributed to St. Ambrose of Milan, rehearsing on earth the divine praises we hope one day to sing in heaven. To those who have difficulty sitting through a sermon or sacredContinue reading “Unwinding Unwisdom”

Music and Mercy

Eric Genuis is a contemporary composer. Hailing from Canada, and living in Kentucky, he describes his music as “classical in form, but with a modern feel.” Judging by the notes included with this fine album, Genuis is fascinated by the Socratic notion that music is capable of ordering the passions, in accordance with reason, towardContinue reading “Music and Mercy”

Virgin of All Virgins Blest

Virgin of all virgins blest, O refuse not my request: let me in thy weeping share! Stabat Mater Ridolfo Luigi Boccherini (1743–1805) is one of a few composers whose music I most ardently relish. To judge by available recordings, he seems to be responsible for mountains of chamber music—a genre that for whatever reason IContinue reading “Virgin of All Virgins Blest”

Beautiful, But Not Fair

Born and raised in a Bohemian village, Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) inherited a love of music from his organist father. Having studied in Prague, he finally landed a gig in Dresden, playing bass for Augustus the Strong, Prince Elector of Saxony. Zelenka’s dream was to be a composer. He was permitted to tour Italy andContinue reading “Beautiful, But Not Fair”

Seeing the Beauty of Courage

A characteristic feature of virtue is its beauty. The habitual capacity to grasp what is good, to relish it, and to act upon it, is an invisible quality that inspires admiration and love, when we perceive it in others. When we find it in ourselves, it offers peace of soul. One apparent exception to thisContinue reading “Seeing the Beauty of Courage”