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A brief conversation on the origins of Western thought

Allen Wilson The Greek search for universal order and principles doubtlessly also led them to make the innovation which they are known to have made with the alphabet, the vowel letter. It made logical sense to make such an innovation, and I wonder if their development of it was connected with their development of grammar and logic. Hesiod’s moral understanding of the universe seems to indicate a mindset which in future times would be capable of adopting the Christian moral understanding, and also refine that understanding using the tools which that mindset had already produced: logic, rhetoric, and philosophy. Ken...

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Poems: Songs by Thomas Campion

Campion was a practicing physician and was among the finest song-writers of the elizabethan-Jacobean era.  He was both a poet and a composer, who in later years was known primarily as a music theorist.   The first poem is a song loosely based on a Horatian ode.  The second is a translation from Catullus.  I have provided links to Lumiarium.com for recordings.

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Welcome, Happy Morning

This great Easter hymn was composed by Venantius Fortunatus, an Italian who lived roughly from 530 to  600 or some time thereafter. Born in Venezia, near Treviso, he was educated in the then still-civilized Ravenna some time after Justinian’s reconquest of Italy.  He made his way to the Frankish court in Metz, where he established himself as court poet.  Moving to Tour and Poitiers, he was befriended by Radegunde, one of the numerous wives of King Clotaire and became a friend of Bishop Gregory of Tours, the chronicler of Frankish history.  Venantius, who was eventually was made Bishop of Poitiers,...

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The Other Handel Part II by David Wihowski

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Dixit Dominus is one of the works Handel composed during his sojourn in Italy. It is a youthful, virtuosic work for five soloists, five-part choir and orchestra (I have performed it with choir and it was exhilarating as well as mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting). This setting of the vesper Psalm 110 (109 Vulgate) runs a gamut of Baroque moods, from melodious  to poignant, from fiery to tranquil.

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Wednesday’s Child: Ritual Sounds

Well, gentle reader, the ball has dropped, “Auld Lang Syne” has been sung, corks have hit the ceiling and wishes have been made. “The year is no longer new,” as Pasternak said in a poem of nearly a century ago. “Another, newer, has been promised.” Nursing my morning head will take awhile, possibly all the way through Orthodox Christmas next week and until the Old Russian New Year on January 13.  As Robert Burns’ venerable text suggests, this is the time to reminisce rather than act, and memories, obedient to the call of the bagpipe, are now marching before my...