Saturday, December 6, 2014

St. Nicolas And The Pickled Boys

For St. Nicolas Day, one of the more incredible to believe wonders attributed to him by folk tradition.   Here's a summary of this section of Benjamin Britten's Cantata, St. Nicolas:

The choir sings of approaching travelers struggling along a wintry road seeking food in the city. Three women call for their missing boys, "Timothy, Mark, and John are gone." Upon reaching the inn, the travelers order a meal and invite Nicolas to join them. But Nicolas suddenly warns them not to touch the meat, for it is the flesh of the missing boys who have been killed by the butcher and pickled in salt. Before the eyes of the travelers, Nicolas calls the three boys back to life. They enter hand-in-hand, singing, "Alleluia." The choir joins them in praising God for the miracle.

I never was involved in a performance of the piece but I'll bet any child who was would remember this even if they forgot every other note and word of it.

Jan Dismas Zelenka - Magnificat ZWV 108 Three Performances

Kuhn Mixed Chorus
Prague Chamber Orchestra
Lubomir Matl, conductor
Pavel Kuhn, chorus master

Jana Jonasova, soprano
Marie Mrazova, contralto

Soprano Miah Persson, countertenor Akira Tachikawa, and the Choir and Orchestra of Bach Collegium Japan, led by Masaaki Suzuki

Zelenka's setting of the Magnificat was a real surprise, I'd never heard it before and it's very, very good.  It's so good that J. S. Bach had his son W. F. Bach copy it so he could perform it where he worked.  Zelenka is known to have had J. S. Bach's admiration and one visit by him to Bach is documented.  Zelenka's setting is dated at about 1725 before Bach's in D, estimated to date from about 1728, though the one in Eb may have preceded it.   It would be interesting to know which one may have influenced the other.   Bach's Magnficat setting is, beyond question, the most well known, today, though there are an enormous number of others that should be performed more.

Here's an mp3 of another performance by the Cambridge Concentus at the First Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Bach Collegium Japan has the best recorded sound but none of the recordings is of really fine quality and you'd probably want a CD of this or any of the other settings I've posted.   That said, Zelenka's is quite a remarkably good setting of the text


We are having an ice storm as I type this and the electricity has been flickering so I wouldn't be surprised if we lose power, so I'm posting things I'd have held for tonight right now.

If Sadistic Sexual Slavery Can Be An Alternative Life Style Why Not Other Forms Of Opportunistic Torture?

In the seemingly never ending silliness that the weird pantomime of unfair fairness and inequality promoting equality that has taken over a left which is destroyed by it, I have been informed that Sado-masochism is a completely harmless alternative form of sexuality.  In a sexual culture in which faithful monogamy among gay men is constantly targeted as a perverted aberration  that is, as we say, rich.   You see, anything, even the real harming of real people, even quite young and foolishly naive people can be sacralized into an "alternative life style" or, in an act of total insanity, a "right" and so protected from any criticism.

It has been one of the great revelations of the struggle for gay marriage that those, such as myself, who won't have sex any other way but in a committed, monogamous relationship based on love, mutual respect of rights and honesty are, and maybe you have to be a gay guy of a certain age to  get the delicious irony of this, UNNATURAL.   We are guilty of a crime against nature, as made up by the "males are naturally rapists because, "smart genes", school of typists.

Yes, it's gone from stuffy judges overseeing sodomy cases brought against some wretches entrapped by the cops thundering about their deplorable crimes against nature to gay sex bad advice columnists such as Dan Savage and other jurnos on the make attacking gay men who don't want promiscuous sex for their own, declared crimes against nature.

And this week I'm told that it's not the pornographers and the men who masturbate to their images of porn-prostitutes being maimed, assaulted, tortured, degraded, endangered, abused, humiliated, subjugated, bound, insulted - with every woman and or gay hating word, phrase and concept any misogynist and gay-basher ever articulated - and who, there can be no doubt obtain reinforcement as well as new ideas to try out on whoever they find who is damaged enough to give what can be passed off legally as consent - or not, as the case may be - for whatever it takes for them to stimulate their jaded and perverted libidos to climax, who are wrong and destroying every value of liberalism, it's those of us who oppose that.

We live with a Supreme Court that, in the name of free speech, has allowed the explicit torture and killing of animals in pornography when there is no question about what is going on.  We live with legal system which, in fact, has done nothing to regulate the distribution of pornography which definitely takes advantage of people who are mentally ill, and those who are addicted or economically forced into being the objects of all of those things described in the last paragraph because, yes, that all-encompassing permission to make money the supreme value of everything, "free speech".   That the speech is an act in these cases, something which any rational person who didn't want to lie about it would stipulate makes all the difference in the world, cuts no mustard with the high priesthood sitting on that bench in black robes.   That it inevitably ends up with people being destroyed, harmed and oppressed by an industry that makes billions of dollars every year, would seem to be an accidental artifact of a kind that happens so remarkably frequently with the Supreme Court thinking on the Bill of Rights these days.  I would guess  that the recent citation of the First and Second amendments, alone, would produce measurable harm to far, far more people on behalf of corporations and the rich than they have ever protected someone without money*.

In this we can see how words divorced of their meaning in the context of real life can produce a travesty of reason and a total perversion of values and morals.  And that the ease with which that can be done and the obvious harms it produces can persist, perhaps even as long as those conventionally accepted lies that sustained slavery and the subjugation of women.  Perhaps I should go full circle and point out this is not so much different from the form of dishonesty that permitted the oppression of sexual minorities as well. just to a different end.

*  I have pointed out before that when money equals speech, the variable that money becomes means that if you have less or no money your "speech" rights can be, for every political purpose, reduced to zero.  Just as the Supreme Court and others turn the rights of the victims of porn-prostitution around the world into nothing they need to bother their beautiful minds with.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sergi Rachmaninoff All-NIght Vigil (Vespers) - 11 Magnificat

Yale Choral Artists
Jeffrey Douma  Director


Finding Settings of Mary's Song By Women Isn't Easy

Considering that it was Mary's ecstatic, spontaneously improvised song I've been meditating on, it gets to be kind of noticeable that settings by women (with the possible exception of Anonymous) are rare.  Here is a performance of one by the Canadian composer, conductor and teacher Nancy Telfer sung by a truly excellent childrens choir, the Hong Kong Yuen Long D.A.C. Treble Choir. They are very good, their English pronunciation is extremely good for children who, presumably, didn't speak it as their native language. 

For some reason Blogger wouldn't let me put it up so I give you a link to the YouTube.  I dare you to watch it and not smile. 

Hate Mail File

Yes, you're right, I freely admit it, I'm being mean to those poor, abused, put upon sadists and sexual enslavers. The poor dears. 

Leo Sowerby - Magnificat in e minor George Dyson - Magnificat in C minor

Canterbury Singers (USA) Singing at Norwich Cathedral (England) conducted by Jim Metzler

Other than the Tippett version I began this series with, this is one of my favorite setting of this type, in English, with a chorus accompanied by organ.  Sowerby was an American composer who was a lot better than the attention he's given would lead you to believe.  I will post more of his music in the coming year.

The performance by an American chorus in an English cathedral is a good test of what I said about British choirs and enunciation.  Though, since the high voices are sung by women instead of boys (it's ridiculous that they don't let girls in) it's not a real test.  The articulation is fair to good, I'd say.  In so far as you can tell on an mp4.  

Here, by contrast, is one of the settings by George Dyson (Freeman Dyson's father) which is far more conventional, though not really bad.  It is a treble solo line supported by organ.  At least the words are intelligible, unusual for British setting.

You can compare that with his settings in D Major and F Major.  As someone notes, it sounds like someone is using an incense censor as the one in F is being sung.

Their Insights Need To Be Noted Well By Those Of Us Who Live More Comfortably

On the other end of the spiritual-literal spectrum, no one is more attuned to the liberating implications of Mary's song than those actively engaged in struggling against their current situation of economic, political, ethnic or spiritual subjugation.  Groups as diverse as Western feminists and Latin American campesinos have recognized in this text a revolutionary strain that has inspired their own visions.  Their insights need to be noted, and noted well by all those of us who live more comfortably with our surrounding culture and thus seek to explain away that revolutionary strain.  As we proceed in our study of the Magnificat and its potential to encourage resistant negotiation of the reality of empire, the voices of people who experience a comparable domination in our own time must be considered.  Theologian Dorothee Sölle, for example, in the following poem reinterprets Mary's words in light of the feminist movement:

It is written that mary said
he hath shewed strength with his arm
he hath scattered the proud
he hath put down the mighty from their seats
and exalted them of low degree
Today we express that differently
we shall dispossess our owners and we shall laugh
at those who claim to understand feminine nature
the rule of males over females will end
objects will become subjects
they will achieve their own better right

Even more striking are the readings of Latin American and African interpreters, from farmers and laborere to theologians and professors.  They read ot of their own oppressive situations, from what Leonardo Boff calls "a privileged hermenutical locus for the reading of Mary's Magnificat and for becoming hearers of its message."  Such readers have perspectives that are much closer to the first-century experiences of a Galilean peasant or an urban artisan of Asia Minor than anything most Western scholars like myself can even imagine.  One sourse of such discussions is Ernesto Cardenal's transcription of the Sabbath conversations of the Solentiname congregation of Nicaragua.  Regarding the Magnificat, their conclusions are clear;  in the words of a woman named Andrea, "[Mary] recognizes liberation.... We have to do the same thing.  Liberation is from sin, that is, from selfishness, from injustice, from misery, from ignorance - from everything that's oppressive.  That liberation is in our wombs too, it seems to me."*   Especially intriguing for our study is these "uneducated" and "unofficial" interpreters' grasp of nuance, even in their most revolutionary ideas. In a discussion about whether "the proud" automatically equates to "the rich," some argue that even a poor person can become "an exploiter in his heart" if she or he years to be rich and acts in a correspondingly exploitative manner.  Others regard God's humbling of the arrogant, rich, and powerful; the exploiters must be liberated,according to Solentiname resident Olivia, "from their wealth.  Because they're more slaves than we are."

Amanda C. Miller Rumors of Resistance: Status Reversals and Hidden Transcripts in the Gospel of Luke

* Here is how that conversation continues from that point:

The last speaker was ANDREA, a young married woman, and now OSCAR, her young husband breaks in:  "God is selfish because he wants us to be his slaves. He wants our submission. Just him.  I don't see why Mary has to call herself a slave. We should be free!  Why just him?  That's selfishness."

ALEJANDRO, who is a bachelor:  "We have to be slaves of God, not of men."
Another young man:  "God is love.  To be a slave of love is to be free because God doesn't make us slaves.  He's the only thing we should be slaves of, love.  And then we don't make slaves of others.'
ALEJANDRO'S MOTHER says:  "To be a slave of God is to serve others.  That slavery is liberation."

I said that it's true that this selfish God Oscar spoke about does exist.  And it's a God invented by people.  People have often invented a god in their own image and likeness - not the true God, but idols, and those religions are alienating, an opium of the people.  But the God of the Bible does not teach religion, but rather he urges Moses to take Israel out of Egypt, where the Jews were working as slaves, He led them from colonialism to liberty.  And later God ordered that among those people no one could hold another as a slave, because they had been freed by him and belonged only to him, which means they were free...

From Contemporary Latin American Social and Political Thought:  An Anthology edited by Ivan Marquez

It goes on from there at the link and is all a lot more impressive and instructive than any blog conversation among bored, contented, first-world, college and grad school grads I've ever been involved in.

With the recent monitoring of what the first-world presents as liberal journalism, it's clear we are all distracted with frivolity to the extent we can't really understand something like this from our experience.  As the first passage said, these people have insights gotten from their daily experience that we can't begin to imagine which gives them understanding unavailable to us except through their telling us.  As Olivia said, you can be enslaved by wealth.

The US backed Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Samosa, bombed the Christian base community at Solentiname out of existence.  Its social gospel was such a danger to him and the oligarchs who ruled over the poor people of Nicaragua. And death is always a risk of following the law that the prophets articulated.  But the terrible history of that country and the support for the oligarchy and its dictatorship by The United States government would take longer to go through than I can today. As Niebuhr said "If a gospel is preached without opposition, it is simply not the gospel which resulted in the cross."

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Magnificat VIII Tone

Performers not listed

If You Are Aroused By Hurting, Dominating, Enslaving, Humiliating, Someone THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU!

Or, Is there nothing so obviously wrong and inconsistent with liberalism that pseudo-liberals,  especially academics on the make,*  won't promote it?

First, I'm not sorry for the caps in the title.  I figure that if you didn't know that someone should emphasize the point.

One of the milestones in my realization that there was something basically wrong with the left that was developing from roughly the first years after the death of The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. was a review I read of a manual of lesbian S&M.   I almost want to say it was in Mother Jones magazine, it sounded like some lame brained attempt at San Francisco style shock, I-can-be-more-outrageous-than-you-LOOK AT ME!, coolitude (something I didn't identify by name till much later) but it could have appeared in many of the gay newspapers I looked at in that period.   I think that the desire to appear kew-el accounts for almost all of the support for maiming, harming, abusing and dominating people as sex in the pseudo-liberal world.**

It was a shock to realize, after years of reading Shirley Chisholm (still one of my greatest heroes),  Gloria Steinem, even dear old Betty Friedan, that in the name of women-power, lesbian power, the act of women hurting and maiming other women (razor blade safety was mentioned, as I recall) was supposed to be acceptable.  No, more than that, an expression of some weird pantomime of liberation.  All in the name of sexual arousal.

Well, I like sexual arousal as anyone else and was quite sexually active at the time, but the boundaries of what should be tolerated end considerably before taking advantage of any mental disability and internalized hatred which would lead someone to want to be hurt, maimed, bound, gagged, tortured, humiliated, abused .... essentially legitimizing the very worst things that the very worst of men do to women, men, children, animals, because arousal and orgasm is involved.   And liberalism ends considerably before considering the desire to hurt, maim, abuse, degrade and enslave anyone for sexual arousal to be a right and a tolerable expression of freedom.  A liberalism that accepts that has junked the most important of all bases of liberalism for fascistic libertarianism.

What brings this to mind is this Salon piece by the ever typing Jenny Kutner claiming that the UK law banning some sadistic depictions in porn produced there is an attack on women. In a period when allegations of a form of bondage has produced at least ten pieces of outrage at Salon, the appearance of this article supporting its commercial promotion is pretty amazing.  Apparently doing much worse to the prostitutes who work in porn for the titillation of an almost exclusively male audience is alleged to empower women.  Or at least the suppression of it is pretended to target women who, I guess we are supposed to believe, benefit from the niche market of "femdom".  Just in passing, have you ever noticed that the creation of some jargony word like that is supposed to legitimate stuff like that?  I suspect that habit flows directly from the social science scribblers we were assigned to read in college.

I would like to see an honest study done on the percentage of porn in which those practices are inflicted on straight men as opposed to being imposed on women by straight men.  How many of you want to bet that in almost all of it, the target for abuse and enslavement is a woman?  I can assure you from my knowledge of gay porn that that form of internalized hatred accounts for a huge percentage, perhaps most of gay porn.  It is the way that the gay-haters got into our minds and turned us against ourselves, I am convinced that this Salon article and the many others like it has something of the same effect for women.

Internalized hatred is what "BDSM" is all about, internalized hatred that leads some of us to figuring that any sex that respects our rights and dignity is something we don't deserve, that we don't deserve to have a relationship based on love instead of inequality, use and abuse.  I don't expect you will be seeing many magazine articles on that theme, commerce is at basic odds with that kind of human relationship and selling is what the media is all about.

*  See this piece of unreadable, unintelligible  jargon flinging, tripe.  Though, to be fair,  I don't think that the academic BS distributors are nearly as likely to fling it as the typists of "journalism".

**  See also, the motto of my blog from Jack Levine on fashion.

John Dunstable - Magnificat

Laudantes Consort,  Guy Janssens cond.

Sung by an all woman group.

Canta Filia,
Barbara Grohmann-Kraaz, director
Felicitas Jacobsen, 1. Sopran
Elisabeth Schnippe, 1. Sopran
Eva Thalmann, 2. Sopran
Heidi Bogena, 2. Sopran
Barbara Grohmann-Kraaz, 1. Alt
Miriam Bonefeld, 1. Alt
Petra von Laer, 2. Alt
Beate Ramisch, 2. Alt

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - From an Advent Sermon 1933

The song of Mary is the oldest Advent hymn. It is also the most passionate, the wildest, and one might almost say the most revolutionary Advent hymn that has ever been sung. This is not the gentle, tender, dreamy Mary as we often see her portrayed in paintings. The Mary who is speaking here is passionate, carried away, proud, enthusiastic. There is none of the sweet, wistful, or even playful tone of many of our Christmas carols, but instead a hard, strong, relentless hymn about the toppling of the thrones and the humiliation of the lords of this world, about the power of God and the powerlessness of humankind. This is the sound of the prophetic women of the Old Testament—Deborah, Judith, Miriam—coming to life in the mouth of Mary. Mary, who was seized by the power of the Holy Spirit, who humbly and obediently lets it be done unto her as the Spirit commands her, who lets the Spirit blow where it wills [John 3:8]—she speaks, by the power of this Spirit, about God’s coming into the world, about the Advent of Jesus Christ.

She, of course, knows better than anyone else what it means to wait for Christ’s coming. Her waiting is different from that of any other human being. She expects him as his mother. He is closer to her than to anyone else. She knows the secret of his coming, knows about the Spirit, who has a part in it, about the Almighty God, who has performed this miracle. In her own body she is experiencing the wonderful ways of God with humankind: that God does not arrange matters to suit our opinions and views, does not follow the path that humans would like to prescribe. God’s path is free and original beyond all our ability to understand or to prove.

There, where our understanding is outraged, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps its distance—that is exactly where God loves to be. There, though it confounds the understanding of sensible people, though it irritates our nature and our piety, God wills to be, and none of us can forbid it. Only the humble believe and rejoice that God is so gloriously free, performing miracles where humanity despairs and glorifying that which is lowly and of no account. For just this is the miracle of all miracles, that God loves the lowly. God “has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.” God in the midst of lowliness—that is the revolutionary, passionate word of Advent.

It begins with Mary herself, the carpenter’s wife: as we would say, a poor working man’s wife, unknown, not highly regarded by others; yet now, just as she is, unremarkable and lowly in the eyes of others, regarded by God and chosen to be mother of the Savior of the world. She was not chosen because of any human merit, not even for being, as she undoubtedly was, deeply devout, nor even for her humility or any other virtue, but entirely and uniquely because it is God’s gracious will to love, to choose, to make great what is lowly, unremarkable, considered to be of little value.

Mary, the tough, devout, ordinary working man’s wife, living in her Old Testament faith and hoping in her Redeemer, becomes the mother of God. Christ, the poor son of a laborer from the East End of London, Christ is laid in a manger. 

God is not ashamed of human lowliness but goes right into the middle of it, chooses someone as instrument, and performs the miracles right there where they are least expected. God draws near to the lowly, loving the lost, the unnoticed, the unremarkable, the excluded, the powerless, and the broken. What people say is lost, God says is found; what people say is “condemned,” God says is “saved.” Where people say No! God says Yes!


I will note that this was one of the sermons Bonhoeffer gave in London, it was months after the Nazis had grabbed control of the government in Germany and were already suppressing the churches there.  It was also given in Britain when the infamous Poor Law was still in effect,  a system of radical hatred of the poor which, in so many ways, anticipated the concentration camp system in Germany.  For that time and today what he pointed out in the Magnificat is radical.   Far more radical than anything the British, Fabian so-called left was coming up with in their numbers and alleged science. Just look at the 20th century regimes that joined Victorian Britain in trying to prevent the message of the ecstatic song of Mary being believed with enough force to cause people to act on it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Andrea Gabrieli - Magnificat a 12

Not sure where the choir is from or who is directing.  The church they're singing in is rather gorgeous and, it would seem, has incredibly live acoustics.

Update:  The Banning of Mary’s Magnificat:

Frequently throughout history, people on the margins have identified with this powerful poem and been inspired to believe that God can actually bring liberation to their plight.  In fact, in the past century at least three different countries have banned the public recitation of Mary’s Magnificat.  These governments considered the song’s message to be dangerously subversive.

During the British rule of India, the Magnificat was prohibited from being sung in church. In the 1980s, Guatemala’s government discovered Mary’s words about God’s preferential love for the poor to be too dangerous and revolutionary. The song had been creating quite the stirring amongst Guatemala’s impoverished masses.  Mary’s words were inspiring the Guatemalan poor to believe that change was indeed possible.  Thus their government banned any public recitation of Mary’s words. Similarly, after the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo—whose children all disappeared during the Dirty War—placed the Magnificat’s words on posters throughout the capital plaza, the military junta of Argentina outlawed any public display of Mary’s song.

How Can You Claim It's Radical?

The Visit to Elizabeth from Mary and Human Liberation
by Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, o.m.i

A few months later we see Mary going through the countryside to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who had conceived a child in her old age. Mary was performing a personal loving service. This is still done in oriental families by the mother when a daughter conceives. She remained about three months with Elizabeth. Here she prays in the prophetic tradition. Her prayer is the Magnificat. My soul glorifies the Lord.

She announces the promises of God to her people. Perhaps we have got so accustomed to reciting it that we do not often think of the content of its message. In the context of the Old Testament prophecies she proclaims the liberative message of salvation promised by God to his people.  She speaks of the deeds being realised by God. She mentions the type of impact God has on people.  “The arrogant of heart and mind he has put to rout, he has torn imperial powers from their thrones. But the humble have been lifted high. The hungry he has satisfied with good things, the rich sent empty away.” (Luke 1.51-53)

We can see in this a three fold type of action, first in the sphere of mentalities, second of political structures and power, and third the distribution of economic goods. In modem technology one may say she proclaims a cultural revolution in which the proud-hearted and the haughty are got rid of in favour of the poor simple, lowly people; a political revolution by which the political power passes from the mighty to the masses of the people; and an economic revolution by which the hungry and the starving get the good things instead of their being monopolised by the rich who are sent away empty.

We see here a total reversal of values and structures. It is undoubtedly a radical message of the type which one can read in the writings of the revolutionary prophets of the different ages. The pity however, is that the Christian tradition has succeeded in domesticating Mary so much that she is known rather as the comforter of the disturbed, than as a disturber of the comfortable. Her words can be the inspiration for radical action for change of mentalities of persons and structures of societies. The Christian tradition has unfortunately generally assigned to Mary a domesticated and a domesticating role. On the contrary the Magnificat shows how she reconciles social radicality with personal service, a revolutionary message with interpersonal love. This is a powerful and pleasing combination of practical action, deep reflective prayer and personal concern.

Fortunately modern theology, specially liberation theology sees in the Magnificat a spiritual support for the struggles of the poor and the oppressed for freedom and justice. This places Mary on the side of the needy, the weak and the exploited. It has been a great inspiration to the Christian movements for social transformation throughout the world.

Update:  The Magnificat was banned by the government of El Salvador during the time of the martyrdom of Bishop Oscar Romero

See Robert McAfee Brown's introduction to liberation theology, in which he relates the fascinating account of a base Christian community in Brazil discovering the "real Mary" of the Magnificat who belongs to the poor (Theology in a New Key [Philadelphia Westminister Press, 1978], 97-100).  Liberation theology emerged out of the struggle for justice in less developed lands throughout the world.  It attempts to read the Bible through the eyes of the poor and their social and economic oppression.  The Magnificat was banned by the government of El Salvador during the time of the martyrdom of Bishop Oscar Romero on March 24, 1980, in the very act of speaking the words of institution, while celebrating a memorial mass on Easter eve.  Much earlier, the Reformer Martin Luther preached a powerful sermon on the Magnificat in which he, too, grasped its potentially subversive impact upon just rulers and princes. See Luther's Works, vol 21, The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan ( St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1956), 343-44.

From Uneasy Neighbors:  Church and State in the New Testament by Walter E. Pilgrem 

Does Alternet Block Its Critics?

That's a question not an answer.  These post-literate days a lot of people seem to have trouble discerning one from the other.

All I know is that since shortly after putting up my last post criticizing Alternet I've been unable to navigate their site, I can't click on anything there.  It's the only place that's ever happened to me.  I've cleaned out all of the Alternet cookies, so labeled, from my browser and still can't monitor the site.   I don't exactly think someone has a real right to browse a website if the owners don't want them to, it being sort of private property, so this isn't exactly a complaint, just a question.  It's just that if they are it's a rather odd thing for such free speechy types to be doing. 

Medieval Polish , Magnificat

Medieval Music, Mikolaj z Radomia (XV w. / 15th Century)

I don't read Polish and won't rely on mechanical translation so I can't reliably tell you who is performing.

Update:  Listening to this a few times, it makes me curious to find out more about ars nova era music in Eastern Europe.   It's quite good.

Russian Orthodox Magnificat

Sisters of the Holy Presentation Monastery of Ivanovo.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Magnificat Chanted In Aramaic

Magnificat Hymn in Neo Chaldean - Aramaic language,
by Fr. Noel Farman
Pastor of Sainte-Famille French Catholic Church 

By now you can guess that I'm intending to post a number of different settings of the Magnificat during Advent, among the most radical of documents, one of the bases on which liberation theology rests.  

It's been really interesting listening to lots and lots of settings, most of which I've never heard before (I never knew Mozart wrote one) and in languages I don't understand.  I will be posting many that I like and some I'm more luke warm on.  I'd originally intended to post one a day but I think some days I'll post two of contrasting character.  

Hate Mail File - When Did We Adopt the Presumption of Guilt?

It's always such a surprise, this new regime I've come to understand has taken over in which an accusation is not to be questioned and is to constitute "evidence" of guilt, in itself.  And that any untested accusation can also, not just stand as "evidence" that  the allegation(s) contained in it are true but also that it can support other, untested, allegations.  Apparently untested allegations reinforce each other and so "evidence" multiplies, or at least piles up.

Oh, and such accusvidence is not to be subject to questioning and testing.  And, also,  the mere assertion that someone told someone something, with no evidence anyone ever did tell it provided, is also "evidence" which is not to be questioned.

To which I say, "NUTS!"

By this reasoning, everything which the Republican-fascists make up to throw at Hillary Clinton is to be taken as true, and not only her but any person of either gender.    I recall the cabloid TV robo-blondes arrayed against her and other Democratic women, such as Nancy Pelosi.

This accusation, of a vague kind, made on behalf of a woman who doesn't claim that she was raped but who most of the commentators say was raped - apparently they know more about her experience than she does - in a 34-year-old "account" that is bizarre from start to finish, sets a new low even in this kind of thing.

There needs to be a rule that a decades old accusation with no evidence - not even evidence that someone who lays the accusation even was told the story they're telling - which was not acted on at the time can't be judged for its truth, its accuracy or in any other way.  

Sometimes an accusation can't be judged because the person making it refused to act on it years or decades ago.  The failure to make the accusation when it was possible to collect evidence and build a supporting case for it AS CLOSE TO THE INCIDENT ALLEGED AS POSSIBLE often makes a later accusation impossible to prove.  There is a responsibility of a victim to make an accusation when it can do some good.  When there is no corroborating evidence, physical, documentary, anything, no one has the right to pretend they know what happened.  Say-so is a two edged sword, it's liable to cut both ways, sooner or later.

Child Porn Is Alive And Evil And Entirely Accepted Despite Condemnation for Show

And Liberalism That Accepts That Is Dead:  Your Provocative Idea For Tuesday 

Every once in a while I turn off the filters I put on my search engine and e-mail and I go to look at the current state of affairs in the online porn industry.   Every time I do that I'm surprised, not that things are worse than before, but how blatantly porn produced by raping people who are clearly underage children is distributed on such venues as Tumblr.   I looked again over the weekend and some of the children being raped and presented as sex objects are clearly prepubescent, both girls and boys. 

Where are the legions of those online who are so opposed to the rape or sexual abuse of children when the rapists are religious clergy when the rapists are pornographers?  I mean, the evidence isn't hidden in some decades old file, it's available to anyone who types "daddy twink tumblr"* into their search engine.  A friend of mine, a woman who shares my opposition to pornography agrees with me that things are getting steadily worse as the customers of pornography are habituated to the depravity that worked last year and the porn industry steps things up to keep their business. 

When I see how the very same people, blogs and online magazines who make a huge show of condemning the rape of children when the rapist can be associated with religion, especially the Catholic church, are entirely indifferent, if not tacitly supportive when the rape is to the glory of Mammon and depravity.   Their disapproval has nothing to do with the abuse and destruction of children, of their rights being violated and everything to do with their hatred of religion.  

I also include the politicians, prosecutors and judges who obviously couldn't possibly care less about the blatant abuse and rape of children, many advertised as being from countries where children are forced into prostitution through economic coercion and political corruption.   This is the dream of the most corrupt of degenerate imperial elites spread out for anyone with an internet connection to see and ignore.   Liberalism that tolerates this without condemning it is dead liberalism that has sold its soul and can't do more than enable the worst through an enabling libertarianism.  

A constitution, a First Amendment that protects an industry based on the rape of children is a constitution and a First Amendment that don't work for a democracy in a decent country.  Ours don't, they don't deserve to be respected and revered anymore than if they permit slavery, the subjugation of women and discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities.  And it was liberal "justices" on the court, in the past and today, who both  promoted the interpretations of those which permitted this situation and provided the fascists on the court, today, to use those as slogans permitting billionaires to buy elections and steal everything, including our children. 

* I was reluctant to tell people how to find what I'm talking about but I strongly suspect anyone who wanted to find it would know how to already. 

Orlando di Lasso - Magnificat IV Toni

1. Magnificat anima mea Dominum
My soul magnifies The Lord
2. Et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.
And My Soul has rejoiced in God my Savior
3. Quia respexit humilitatem ancillæ suæ: ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Because he has acknowledged the lowliness of his servant: see from now on all generations shall call me blessed.
4. Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est, et sanctum nomen eius.
For he, in his power has done great things to me and his name is holy.
5. Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.
His mercy is from generation to generation for those who fear him.
6. Fecit potentiam in brachio suo, dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
He has shown the might of his arm, dispersing those whose hearts are full of conceit.
7. Deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles.
He has put down the powerful and exalted the humble.
8. Esurientes implevit bonis et divites dimisit inanes.
He has filled the hungry with good and left the rich away empty
9. Suscepit Israel puerum suum recordatus misericordiæ suæ,
He has recieved Israel his child being mindful of his mercy.
10. Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini eius in sæcula.
As he said to our father, Abraham, and to his seed forever.
11. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto:
Glory to The Father, and The Son and to the Holy Ghost.
12. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be , world without end, Amen.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Betty Carter - New all the time

A short movie about how Betty Carter taught, mentored, befriended and socialized with musicians half or less of her age, right up to the end.  THIS would be the way to teach music.   It should be about apprenticeship, the university model is so far inferior to it.  I wish I'd been taught like this. 

Being A Dick Over St. Nick and Font Size And Mental Hygiene

Those always reliable kill-joys, the psychologists, were at the height of the Freudian anti-Santa Claus campaign when I was a kid.  It was supposed to be psychologically damaging to children when they, inevitably, found out that their parents had been lying about there being a Santa Claus.  I'm sure they worked some theme of adult sexual dysfunction or "hysteria" into it, though I was about eight and couldn't be bothered to notice.

I remember being kind of astounded that any kid could really believe in the stupid "Santa Claus" North Pole, elves and down the chimney story, it being physically improbable in the extreme.  Or maybe it was that I had five older siblings who were only too eager to tell us younger ones that it was a hoax.
I doubt any child was ever damaged by finding out that the old folks were pulling their leg.  If anything, the point would be that seeing through it meant they'd reached a milestone in that most desired of all children's aspirations, growing up. Odd how that has been replaced by the desire to be perpetually a child, given the benefits of all that psychologizing in society.  There were any number of better reasons to be disappointed in what we were told was true turned out not to be,  Like that psychology was anything like a science.

Just to say, considering how much their university educations fixated the Freudians on The Phallus*, it wasn't too much of a shock to finally learn what a bunch of dicks they were when I read them in high school and college.  It's as if they went out of their way to get attention by say telling parents that they were to blame for everything, even around something when they weren't taking credit for giving the kids things.   Now I just think they were telling their wealthier clients what they wanted to hear, to keep them coming back at three figures an hour.


And speaking of dicks.  One of the stupidest arguments I've gotten involved in online surrounded the reality of Santa Claus.  It started the usual way, by an atheist making the comparison between God and Santa Claus.  Which I'll only go into again if I happen to read it in my rambles today.  The stupidest part of the brawl was what came after I pointed out that Santa Claus is a popular interpretation of the real, historical figure, Nicholas the bishop of Myra, on the Southern coast of present day Turkey.  

Well, those evidence based atheists just wouldn't have that complicating one of their most simple-minded routines, one of the blocks of conventional assertion that substitute for thought in a rather stunning percentage of what comes out of their mouths and keyboards.

One, an especially successfully propagandized and dishonest Brit-atheist insisted that Santa Claus was derived from the dutch Sinterklaas, which, apparently, the typically history and etymology challenged atheists believe is some kind of folk or pagan figure with no connection to Christianity.  You know the kind of "skepticism" I mean, where condescending attitude is supposed to successfully fill in for knowing what they're talking about.  Considering that even at a glance the name is certainly derived from "Saint Nicholas", it's in the running as one of the stupidest atheist myths of the type that the Brits have specialized in and which are firmly embedded into the common received culture of a particular kind of would be rationalist in the English speaking peoples.   And, from what I've seen, it's spread on a number of neo-athe websites. 

Apparently, from what I've seen in a short and informal review of that kind, it's very important to post-literate atheists that Santa Claus have nothing to do with a Christian Bishop, popular in his day and throughout history due to his charity - he was a late 3rd, early 4th century trustifarian who spent his life giving it all away - his other works of charity and the wonders and miracles attributed to him, during his life and when he left this life behind.   

In the United States and in places under the its cultural hegemony, the corruption of Saint Nicholas has reached its modern form through the verse of the slave holding, upper class twit, Clement Clarke Moore.  It's not something to marvel at how a figure who was beloved for his giving to the poor and destitute was corrupted by a slave holding real estate baron into a figure who was all about the affluent receiving and, even more so, selling stuff.   That he, an especially stuffy, self-righteous pharisee began the effort to turn St. Nicholas of Myra into the symbol of American neo-Mammonism should have been expected.  That is a figure who begs to be disbelieved in because he is a fraud and an impostor.  The real St. Nicholas isn't worth just acknowledging but emulating.    


I was looking for a suitable representation of St. Nicholas to put with this but couldn't find any I could believe in.  They were all either too sad or too forbidding or too solemn.   They just don't match how any of those really generous people I've known look.  They tend to be rather cheerful people, the kind of people you like to be around, not grumpy and forbidding and a real drag. The kind of people cynics can't stand because they're good without being showy about it.  Iconographers should make some smiling Saint Nicholas images.  Not to mention the other saints.  It's bad advertising to show those who have achieved eternal happiness looking like they've got an abscessed tooth. 


And, speaking of dicks.  I've had some criticism of my use of different type in my posts.  One commentator at Salon slammed me for using all caps and bold because it would risk hurting the feelings of college students who didn't like what I said about how stupid they were to reject the fact that getting drunk makes you more vulnerable to being victimized.  Imagine that, their little feelings would get hurt by that assault of the upper caps.  No doubt some study could be made of the relationship between being exposed to 24 point font while young and erectile dysfunction.

On another blog it was asserted that my use of different weights and sizes of type was a symptom of mental instability.   Considering the gravitar and pseudonym that guy chose for himself and the company he keeps, all I can say is that's rich coming from him.  

The reason I use different type size is because it's been a real revelation to me how skimming has taken the place of reading and how even journalists don't bother to understand what they claim to reference.  Reading comprehension turns out to be a radical act, along with having a memory.   Putting important point in large type is a desperate attempt to get them to notice main points in the discussion.  Something which I won't apologize for even with the assertion that it might make little Dick and Jane feel a little sad because they want to act like they're 12 instead of like the adults they like to assert they are.

*  There's a post to be written about the cult of the phallus among 20th century Freudian atheists and that of the pagan Romans and Greeks.  But I'm Irish and I'd die of blushing if I tired to write it. 

I Will Not Have An American Christmas Again

I increasingly hate American holidays.   I don't just mean the way that Memorial Day, The Fourth of July and  Armistice Day have been turned into a glorification of an imperial military that, not only murders and plunders on behalf of big business but also destroys the men and women it recruits, sends to fight even the most obviously illegal wars to be chewed up and spit out like chewing tobacco.

When there isn't a motive of imperial conquest in our holidays, every single other aspect of them has been transformed into a duty to shop and consume and run up the profits of the corporations, even as you go into debt to do it.  None of those is so suited to that as Christmas.   I won't go through the entirely familiar festival of orgiastic, mammonist frenzy it is now, that's such a non-secret that no one needs to talk about it.  So, this year and from now on, I'm going to avoid spending any money on Christmas, nor will I accept any presents.  I've got more than I need and my tiny little house needs nothing it doesn't have. Christmas to my dog is superfluous, every meal time and every exit and every return home is Christmas to him.  The cats are too cool for the Yule.

To get in the spirit of the season, I'll be rereading something I've read every year since it was first published, Garrison Keillor's protest against the secularization of what is a religious holiday.  A holiday that honors someone who was a model of non-acquisition, who had no home, who left his job to be be a preacher and who advised people to sell all they had and give the money they got away to people who wouldn't repay it.

The secularization of Christmas is especially on my mind a week after writing about the Nazi's plans on de-Christianizeing Germany (including, especially, Christmas) and, I would guess, eventually the world.   That the bastardization of "Silent Night" he mentions was probably done out of some kind of niceness, if not some demonstration of supposed liberality doesn't keep it from seeming a bit creepy. That people who probably believe they are being good liberals would think they were making progress by excluding the major figure in liberalism in the history of the world can go along with the other examples of Harvard based puddingheadedness he uses to make his point.

* I like Crossan's interpretation instead of the more common one, "poor", making it possible to set the poor against the destitute.  And it has also set things up so that even the deserving poor are to be junked to die in the most deChristianized systems of thought, especially those under the influence of Malthus, such as I've written about so often.  I will probably write more about that in the coming weeks.  I don't think there was ever anything more damaging to liberalism than what the British class system did to Christianity.  You can read about that in the fascinating book A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland Showing how that event impoverished the main body of people in those countries by William Cobbett.

The Magnificat is Radical

Halsey Stevens 


Nina Schuman directs the Cinnebar Theater Chamber Singers, I believe the hard working trumpet soloist is Peter Eastabrook.  I looked high and low for Stevens' setting of the Magnificat and it's a credit to the performers that they performed it.  It should be performed a lot more often. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Magnificat Is Radical- Michael Tippett - Magnificat and Nunc Dimmittis


My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

Nunc Dimittis

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared : before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles : and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

I generally have an allergy to English composers, especially their choral music as sung with the traditionally awful English choral pronounciation, with a few exceptions, and Michael Tippett is the greatest of those.  If only they'd teach those choristers how to enunciate.  This recording is a bit better in that.