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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

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...

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New in the Forum

Suppose someone like Mike Pence or Donald Trump or Rush Limbaugh were to say–as a transparent comment on the effeminate and race obsessed Barack Obama–that he could not grapple with serious issues because people of his sort are “confused, blind, shrouded with hate, anger, racism, mommy issues,” all Hell would break loose.  And rightly so, because it is quite wrong to reduce political issues to amateur psychologizing or to find base irrational motives for other people’s arguments.  Only children–the word Vladimir Putin used to describe Obama and Ms Clinton–talk this way. But when Obama uses the same words in a transparent...

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Nixon’s The One?

When the topic of consequential presidential elections in American history is discussed, the elections most commonly mentioned  include those of 1860, 1912, and 1932.  But there is one election which is often forgotten and yet has had an enormous impact on the United States: the election of 1960. The election pitted Republican Vice President Richard Nixon against Democratic Senator John F. Kennedy.

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The Road to Damascus II: Before the Schism, Part A

The Road to Damascus The Intelligent Christian’s Guide to the Schism Pt. 2: Roman Christianity before the East-West Schism Let us not deceive ourselves.  There was never an era of Christian history completely innocent of schism.  Indeed, the believer should not be scandalized to see dissension and quarreling in the very pages of his New Testament—among the disciples of Jesus contending with each other for the seat at His right hand in the Coming Age (cf. Matt. 20:20-28 and Lk. 22:24-27); between Paul, felled by the voice of Christ on the road to Damascus, and Peter, to whom Christ entrusted...