Sacred music

Levine again: The German pianist Hans von Bulow toured the US in 1876. At one location, he was preceded by Emma Thursby who sant Schubert and Schumann, and then a popular song by Franz Abt: “Von Bulow’s ‘rage knew no bound’ at this ‘desecration’ of a program . . . . Continue Reading »

Barnum’s opera

Levine: “In 1853 Putnam’s Magazine had proposed that P. T. Barnum . . . be named the manager of New York’s Opera. ‘He understands what our public wants, and how to gratify that want. He has no foreign antecedents. He is not bullied by the remembrance that they manage so in . . . . Continue Reading »

Popular opera

In his Highbrow/Lowbrow , Lawrence Levine writes that “it is hard to exaggerate the ubiquity of operatic music in nineteenth-century America. In 1861 a band played music from Rigoletto to accompany the inauguration of President Lincoln. In the midst of the Civil War a soldier in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Musical and Poetic Rhythms

Victor Zuckerkandl points out that Western music since the 17th century has been measured music, that is, music in which beats are organized into groups, into measures. This innovation in musical organization creates a complex rhythmic situation. At one level, there is a recognizable beat running . . . . Continue Reading »

Art and Necessity

Some quite random highlights from Milbank’s very rich essay review of Rowan Williams’s Art and Necessity , published in Modern Theology . 1) Milbank makes a numerb of illuminating points about Aquinas’s theory of knowledge, supporting some aspects of Maritain’s Thomism. . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon outline

This overlaps considerably with previous posts. INTRODUCTION According to John’s description, the world is formed by various “lusts” or desires, and by “pride” and “boasting.” We can respond faithfully to the world only when we discern the desires that . . . . Continue Reading »

Pride of life

Augustine describes “pride of life” in part as follows: “The temptation is to wish to be feared or loved by people for no reason other than the joy derived from such power, which is no joy at all. It is a wretched life, and vanity is repulsive . . . . When we try to amass such . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation

1 John 2:15: If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. As we’ve seen this morning, John poses a stark either/or choice. Our lives are directed by our loves; what we love determines what path we take in life. Ultimately, there are only two choices: We either love the . . . . Continue Reading »


John says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” and we immediately scurry around to find rationalizations and escape routes. Is John saying that cigarettes and beer and symphony orchestras and dancing and watching movies and art museums and playing video games are . . . . Continue Reading »

Urban pigs

Stallybrass and White again: “increasingly from the sixteenth century pigs were present and high visible in the city . They wandered through the streets, sometimes biting and even killing small children: in 1608 the young Sir Hugh Cholmley was attacked by a sow. A Jacobean starchmaker kept . . . . Continue Reading »