The Call – Ralph Vaughan Williams

I recorded this, this morning at Mass at St. John Berchmans Cathedral. It is one of of five pieces composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams in a anthology called “Five Mystical Songs”. This is the fourth of the five movements.

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Ralph Vaughan Williams | Thomas Tallis

I first encountered the mystic sounds of the piece that is stuck in my head today as a freshmen at St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College in Spring of 2006. I was part of the schola cantorum, and this tune was the basis for one of psalm responses that was sung during the Easter Vigil. Ever since then, I’ve been enraptured when I hear its melody. Continue reading “Ralph Vaughan Williams | Thomas Tallis”

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

While today it is almost heard exclusively at weddings and during the seasons of Christmas and Easter, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” or more properly in German “Jesus bleibet meine Freude” by itself, it is the final movement of longer piece. The cantata “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben” was composed by Johann Sebastian Bach between 1716 and 1723 during what is known as his Weimar period.  Today it is rarely heard in its original setting. Continue reading “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”

Azimuth | Music of the Spheres

Major celestial bodies, like the larger, nearer planets or lower magnitude stars are easily found in the night sky without much need for computerized assistance or even coordinates. One can just walk outside at night and using a finder scope quickly home in on those objects. However, a large portion of the objects that fill the night time sky: planets, moons, higher magnitude stars, nebulae, distant galaxies are not observable by the naked eye or even with lower magnification finder scopes; thus it is necessary to use coordinates on a chart to find these objects.
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An Innocent Man

This morning I was greeted by the sounds of Billie Joel’s well loved “I Am an Innocent Man” stuck on repeat in my head. Billy Joel is so much more than just a piano man – pun intended – he’s a sociologist, a balladeer, and an historian.  His music covers a slew of social issues far bigger than the artist, including topics such as the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the struggle of American steel workers and North Atlantic fishermen to make ends meet, and the effects of mass media on popular culture. Continue reading “An Innocent Man”

All About That Bass – Why? Oh why this song! Anything else, but not THIS!

I am proud to say that I have never been a willing participant in hearing this song. If it plays on the radio in my car, I change stations or turn off the radio altogether. It is pedantic, prattling, and in general represents an unrealistic junction between two totally disparate segments of American culture.  And in my not so humble opinion it adds not one iota of benefit to music as an art.

Before people misinterpret what I’m saying about this song.   Continue reading “All About That Bass – Why? Oh why this song! Anything else, but not THIS!”

Hydrochlorothiazide? | Xerxes

Some days my mind gives me great words like ‘eudaimonia‘ or ‘matriculate’. Today, it decided to give me ‘hydrochlorothiazide’. You may think to yourself, “That sounds dangerous!”  I promise you; it’s not, unless you don’t need it. Continue reading “Hydrochlorothiazide? | Xerxes”