Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hate Mail File Polls Schmoles Show Me The Methodology

I will comment on the WaPo ABC poll you think will upset me when I can see the numbers behind the numbers.  They admit they polled 1000 people, by phone (already a problem as phone polls are notorious for being unreliable) and, since the categories reported aren't attached to any numbers, we have no idea how big the sub samples of those are.  I have no idea if the sample you seem to want to take such pride in "non-religious" is a large one or even what "non-religious" comprises.  If, as with the PEW category "Nones", it includes people who aren't members of any denomination, I would be included in that group you seem to want to represent as being atheists.  So, already, the assumption it does what you want it do doesn't work.  If it is a conglomeration of disparate groups, it doesn't tell you much.

I would wonder at a poll of 1000 that sampled in proportion to the presence of a group in the general population.  For atheists that would be a sample of fewer than 30 people.  I wouldn't trust that sample to tell you anything about atheists in the general population and what they think.  I can't even seem to find the kind of atheist I know in the hundreds I encounter online.  Most of the atheists I know, personally, aren't bigoted jerks like you and your blog buddies.  If the percentages in the polls aren't representative of the general population, that is also a problem with the assertion it tells us anything about the population it allegedly represents.

Considering we got into a huge fight a couple of years ago over one of your favorite shows, 24, torture promotion porn making the torture advocate, Rupert Murdoch money, it's kind of rich for you to think you've got something to tell me about it.   Not to mention your habitual approval for the Israeli actions in Gaza and elsewhere.  I'm also on record as disapproving of torture there and generally.  In fact, I just posted part of an old piece I did arguing why it should be illegal.  It wasn't the only one I wrote to that effect.

More generally, it is your beloved TV that is the foremost promoter of torture to the American people, including that show you love which presents young(ish) Sutherland as a sexy torturer.   And you called me a snob the last time I pointed out how much I hated TV.  See also:  my comment dissing American movies the other day.

Pawel Lukaszewski - O Clavis David

Wells Cathedral School Choralia, conducted by Christopher Finch

O Oriens 

Samford A Cappella

A luminous and different choral style, using resonance to amazing effect.

O Oriens

O Oriens,
O breaking dawn
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
splendor of eternal light and the sun of justice
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
come and enlighten those who linger in darkness and the shadow of death.

O Clavis David - Magnificat

O Clavis David - Magnificat 

No singers listed

Peter Witte

O Clavis David 

Michael Schmoll, Chor: Corona Vocalis

Levente Gyöngyösi 

O Clavis David

Coro Universitario de Mendoza - Andreas Meier conductor

Mary Lou Williams Trio - Limehouse Blues

The spirit moves me to post

Limehouse Blues 

Who am I to question it?

Update:   And also:

Waltz Boogie

"Journalism" c. 2014 Explained in One Sentence

It's all about clicks and the cliques that can be attracted to click them. 

The Atheist "Left" Its Magical Thinking And The Disastrous Results

Yesterday I criticized the idea that egalitarian democracy, economic justice, social equality were compatible with materialism, that those rarest of fragile phenomena in politics and society could just, somehow, manage to arise from the substrate of assumptions and ideas that constitute materialism.   That assumption of substrate neutrality for those central holdings of authentic liberalism, the program of any legitimate left in regard to materialism is, I think, central to the failure of the left.  It is implicated in many if not all of the disastrous and self-impeaching trends in the left for the past century and a half and it has alienated the left from its natural base among people who reject materialism.

That concept of substrate neutrality in regard those very concepts such as equality and justice is especially bizarre when asserted by materialists because materialism is, itself, incompatible with the idea that the effects wouldn't be determined from their causes.  In the radically restricted and monist system that is materialism different causal precedents would necessarily lead to different effects.   You couldn't start from something which produced, say, a real effective and determining belief in universal equality or its resultant economic justice, change one of the essential components that led to that kind of potent belief in equality and come up with that belief in its most potent form from the radically changed causal antecedent of the results.   Yet materialists who assert that their purported devotion to equality and justice are the product of their materialism instead of in essential conflict with it are in constant denial that magic has to, somewhere, be involved in their alchemy.   They have to constantly violate their materialism to hold both things and, when push comes to shove, it is as likely to be their ideals that suffer on behalf of their materialist faith.

That is especially true when that most useful of ideas in the  culture of atheism is brought into the mix, Darwinism.  There the would-be lefty atheist has to pretend the entire history of Darwinism WITHIN SCIENCE never happened to maintain the illogical balancing act between their ideology and their ideals.  It is an inconvenient and unmentionable fact that human eugenics was and still is an inevitable conclusion whenever it is a required belief that natural selection is a universal law of science. That is shown by mainstream Darwinsts from Charles Darwin, through his closest associates such as Haeckel and Galton, right up through the neo-Darwinian synthesis of Fischer and Haldane, through the period of DNA fundamentalism of Watson and Crick and the Sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists and even, I suspect, as non-adaptationist genetics and epigentics are placed in a marriage of convenience with natural selection.  Eugenics has been asserted by most of its main figures, promoted by them in both its most aggressive or passive forms. The history of  conventional Darwinism shows that the short post-war period when eugenics was discredited, socially, is the fluke not eugenics.

That eugenics is central to Darwinism as relevant to the human species was noted by Darwin, both in his endorsement of the most extreme form of it, stated in works he endorsed by both Galton and, even more so Haeckel*.   The attempt to distance scientific Darwinism from "Social Darwinism" depends on the lie that Charles Darwin, himself, didn't state that they were identical in the fifth and sixth editions of Origin of Species and that assumption was held and asserted by virtually every conventional Darwinist from then on.  It was the anti-eugenic Darwinists such as Franz Boaz who were the flukes, not the Karl Pearsons, Ronald Fishers, James Watsons, and Francis Cricks.  And such people as Richard Dawkins  occasionally let slip that maybe it wasn't such a bad thing, blaming Hitler for making it disreputable.

Whatever else you might justifiably say about the throughly repulsive though entirely conventional Darwinist*, Ernst Haeckel, he was honest about both the usefulness of Darwinism for atheism and its logical conclusions, given his ideological foundation.  It was Darwinism to which he credited the "final triumph" of  materialist monism which has no room for such concepts as justice and morality and that it necessitates a belief in innate inequality in humans and that the extermination, by nature and by human beings as agents of nature, of even entire ethnic groups of human beings is inevitable and the way of nature.  Since natural selection is a development from Malthus and incorporates and extends his assumptions, I don't see how a materialist could hold that those aren't essential to the idea and that it doesn't, inescapably, refute the very bases of political liberalism, as, indeed, Haeckel stated in writing which Darwin endorsed. You would have to acknowledge something outside of their materialist monism for that to not be an inevitable conclusion and that is not permitted under materialism.  And the same is true for other materialist systems of thought, such as Marxism and its various sects and cults.

In an article published in The Nation in 1997, Barbara Ehrenreich and Janet McIntosh issued a sort of atheist fatwa against the critics of Sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, the currently fashionable form of biological determinism.   The central issues in their condemnation are old ones, as old as the use of biology as a pillar of atheist ideology, accusing the critics of those of the intellectually unforgivable, of being religious.   In the process, I'll point out, they conveniently ignore quite a bit of stuff, even claiming the most prominent critics of Sociobiology, Gould, Lewontin and Hubbard as allies for the defense of the very things they rejected.  It's such a mish-mash of stuff - including falsified history - that it would take a series of posts to sort it out but it is based on pretending that natural selection and history of Darwinism isn't strong evidence that it is basically at odds with the central pillars of the left.   Inequality IS the central assumption of natural selection, it is intrinsic to the idea, it is an inescapable conclusion of that idea  BECAUSE IT IS THE FOUNDATION OF IT.  In materialist monism it will always and inevitably lead to the conclusion that equality and justice are illusions.  It will turn the moral obligations central to liberalism into the opposite, a foolish generator of dysgenic forces in the human population which could lead to our extinction.   The only possibility for someone to hold that both natural selection is valid and that the very foundations of the left are true is to acknowledge that there is more to life, to the universe than what is included in that materialist monist system which is the actual god of atheists faith.

I think the failure of that materialist "left" is due to the fact that its central faith is incompatible with what defines a real left and it, inevitably, will turn on the great underclass that is the genuine center of leftist politics, turning them from the image of God into the "unfit" or at least "the masses" to be managed by an elite of the most fit or those who are in some way superior.  Not a single, even Marxist government, has not had that as its major failing and in most a central aspect of its very being.  The failure of the atheist left is founded on the basic conflict between their faith and their alleged ideals which will always, in practice,  be placed aside for their atheism.  I think that the election losing condescension and snobbery that is inherent to the secular left is a cultural product of it.  The People are not such fools that they don't notice at least that much of it.  Barbara Ehrenreich's Nellie Bly turn in Nickled and Dimed hardly makes up for it.  As I've said before, I'd guess that book was read more by church folk devoted to social justice than atheists.

*  Based on no less an authority than Charles Darwin, also by Thomas Huxley.

Update:  I have set out the extensive record of endorsement of Ernst Haeckel, Francis Galton and other eugenicists, scientific racists and advocates of both eugenics and the salubrious effects of the "unfit" being killed, up to and including entire ethnic groups by Charles Darwin.  I don't hesitate to say that the case is open and shut and based, entirely on Charles Darwin's published words endorsing specific works in which those things are said, especially by Haeckel, the record of his endorsement of Haeckel is massive, specific and without reservation.  Charles Darwin has a unique place in the history and phenomenon of Darwinism, his identification of Haeckel's POV with his own was explicit in the introductory pages of The Descent of Man, throughout that book and in many existing letters in his own hand.   If you want to deny that record you will need documents in which Charles Darwin retracted his endorsement after he made it, which would need to be not too long before his death.  In order to overcome the documentary record in Darwin's words nothing short of more of Darwin's words will do it.  So long as it's an honest evaluation of the truth you want, which I have generally found people of your ideology aren't really interested in.

Mikołaj Zieleński - Magnificat


Bornus Consort, Linnamussikud de Tallin


In researching and posting this meditation on The Magnificat, I keep having to say that one setting or another is a big surprise to me.  This is among the biggest. It is excellent and by a composer I never knew existed before finding this recording.  Poland isn't a a country that figures highly in the conventional teaching of music history until Chopin and not too much after him.  The surprises in my research of this shows that the conventional teaching of music history, designed to be stuffed into the lecture schedule of a four-year university music degree program is hardly an adequate view of what really happened in music. What is true of Poland is likely true of most other places and composers not included in that curriculum and the textbooks written to fit into it.

The triple chorus version would, I imagine, have been intended for a specific church with specific locations for the three choirs.  The doubling of voices with instruments would,  I'd also imagine, be in keeping with performance practice of the time and place, Zieleński  had obviously heard the Venetian style of music which used this kind of instrumentation.  The extent to which composers in Venice or other places would have been aware of Zieleński, I don't know but I would imagine there could have been mutual influences.

Here is a performance without instruments by  The Choir of Warsaw School of Economics, Tomasz Hynek conducting.  I have a feeling few American schools of economics have such a fine choir.

I keep finding new settings to put on my list.  Instead of running out of things worth posting I'll never fit them all in.  I'll have to do this next year, too if I'm still around.

Friday, December 19, 2014

O Clavis David

O Clavis David

Dominican student brothers in Oxford.

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
who opened and none can close
claudis, et nemo aperit:
you shut and none can open
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
those who in darkness dwell and from the shadow of death.

Christmas Wish

One thing I wish is that someone in my family would need their car worked on in the next few days.  The garage in the next town were they all go is owned by a lovely Lebanese family and at Christmas they give their old customers the most wonderful baklava type pastry made by the mother.  Not too sweet with lots of nuts.  The best I've ever had.

I think I'll go sabotage someone's car by dark of night.  Unfortunately, I don't drive anymore or I'd sabotage mine.

Anonymous - Magnificat


Perfugium -  Church of St . Joseph in Krakow

 Bogumil Kowalska , Natalia Forging , Joanna Przybyłowska ,
 Bozena Solarz - Sopranos
Zofia Nowak , Magdalena Rychiak - Altos
James Blycharz , Matthew Solarz , Matthew Smith - Tenors
Michael Klos , Peter Przybyłowski  - Bases

Healey Willan - O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse

Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral Choir

Rupert Lang, director

Vytautas Miškinis - O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse

State choir VILNIUS
Conductor Povilas Gylys

How's that for your divided parts?  I'd like to know how many there are in this setting.

Rihards Dubra - O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse

Choir of Merton College, Oxford

Something To Be Thankful For

You don't need sex advice from Amanda Marcotte.

Because The Law, The Prophets and The Gospel Are Radical I Am Radical

Years ago, before the rise of the new atheism, back when it was still just atheism, back before its online archive lists, I remember reading an article in one of the lefty magazines I subscribed to* which criticized religious leftists because the author said they needed a crutch to support their radicalism but that atheists didn't need that.  Which, at the time, I was willing to accept out of that habit of fairness to different points of view and the faith that because we all claimed to have the same goals that our differences didn't matter.  What I've come to see was never based in a rigorous consideration of the situation and the liklihood of which attitudes and actions were likely to lead to those goals being made real in politics and in life.

In part that passive acceptance was  due to not having the resources to really investigate the claims made in that article.  It's something that, after looking far more deeply at what atheists say and do since going online, I think is evidence free bilge.  For example, the article included praise for the most prominent atheist in the United States, Madalyn Murray O'Hair who, I have since learned, had as many flaws as any sleazy TV based hallelujah peddler or corrupt cardinal and a record of the most vulgar materialism, theft and fraud behind the thinnest of false fronts.  She was presented by the article as some kind of radical activist by virtue of her war against religion.  For a lot of people reputedly on the left, that is the defining issue for them, atheism and hatred of religion.  It is why you encounter people allegedly of the left who still hold a torch for Christopher Hitchens and who mistake Sam Harris as a lefty.  To continue with the general theme from yesterday.

Such folk cannot conceive of a Christian as being a political radical, far more radical, in just about every case I've confronted, than the callow atheist who accuses you of holding regressive positions you don't, even those who idolize Hitchens, who actually did hold them.   It is a never ending thing, having people on the supposed left doubt your credentials as a leftist because you, as the vast majority of people on the left, are not atheists.  And, I would say, that I have known more atheists formerly of the left turn conservative than I have religious leftists who have turned.  My experience is that it is not unknown for religious people to become more liberal as they age.  I have become far, far more radical as I abandoned the self-imposed blinders of agnosticism and have seen that a real program of the left is founded in religious values that atheism corrodes.  Atheism which, like almost all of it, is based in materialism, at least.

I am radical because The Law and the prophets and The Gospels, Acts and the epistles are all radical.  I was a radical while I was an agnostic and hostile to religion because of the tradition I inherited from Christians.  I think that's what accounts for whatever liberalism the largest majority of non-religious people in the United States holds, it's a habit of that tradition in their habits of thought. It can endure for a generation or two but will, I've observed, deteriorate the farther from its roots it gets.

American style liberalism, as opposed to the libertarian, laissez-faire,  British-European "liberalism" is a product of that tradition and that it cannot be sustained without the metaphysical foundation that it is based in and of which it is an expression.   I believe that because that is what history has shown and my own experience has been.   I believe that the liberalism I believe in, far more radical than any materialist substitute, is the only practical chance of saving us, our environment and our democracy.  Equality, rights,  justice and the moral obligation to respect those are only durable in so far as they are believed to be an absolute gift and equal endowment given by and a requirement made by God. Any other attempt to give them a foundation is liable to the same corrosion mentioned above.  I am as certain of anything in politics as I can be that that is true.  Materialism is to liberalism as fluoric acid is to human tissue.

The assumption that liberalism was "substrate neutral"  was always baseless.  As are many of the other assumptions of secular liberalism.   It is not even compatible with materialism and a denial of the reality of moral obligations, liberalism will be corroded by those, without any doubt.  Another foundation that had the same properties would work but I doubt it would work as well without the radical and audacious holding of the Hebrew tradition in regard to human beings and their relationship with the very creator of the universe and humans to teach other.

The author of that article mistook that foundation for a crutch instead of what it really is, the prerequisite for those things to work or even exist.  When I look at the position of atheists in history and in culture, I see every reason to conclude that is the case.

* I can't find the article online.  Though I'm certain of the magazine and the author of the article, as well as the person quoted, I will leave it at this until I find the definite citation.  As I say, it's a line I've heard from atheists many times.

Hate Mail File

No, I won't take back calling Michael Kelly a war criminal, nor would I take it back for any of the propagandists leading the United States into the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, a clearly illegal war brought by the Bush II regime which has killed hundreds of thousands of people, enabled some truly horrible people and which is ongoing in the so called "Islamic State" terror which is as certain a product of that illegal war as Al Qaeda and the Taliban were products of Reagan's war in Afghanistan.  Journalists who act as propagandists for illegal, unprovoked and idiotic wars should be considered among the worst of criminals and prosecuted.  That none has been is a serious danger in the age of mass indoctrination and the selling of lies by the mass media.   That Kelly died in the war he mongered doesn't change that he helped bring it about.   I have entirely more sympathy for the military driver who died with him, he didn't cause the war that got them both killed. 

If you didn't quite get it from the tenor of yesterday's post, I don't cut journalists any slack because they kill people with their keyboard instead of guns and bombs and tend to have college degrees and, unless they decide to have their big, neat, cool, military adventure, clean fingernails.  

Pavel Chesnokov - Magnificat


Julia Shibanova - Soprano (?)
Olga Stupneva - Director (?)


Gabriel Appeared

I'm posting this one because the bass soloist is quite amazing to hear and watch.   Here's another recording that you can follow with the music.

Gabriel Appeared 

Male choir "Kovcheg"
soloist: Alexey Doroshenko

Precentor (?) Alexey Telnov

Revealing to Thee the pre-eternal counsel,
Gabriel came and stood before Thee, O Maiden,
and in greeting said:
Rejoice, earth that has not been sown!
Rejoice, burning bush that remains unconsumed!
Rejoice, unsearchable depth!
Rejoice, bridge that leads to Heaven!
Rejoice, ladder raised on high that Jacob saw!
Rejoice, divine jar of manna!
Rejoice, deliverance from the curse!
Rejoice, restoration of Adam;
the Lord is with Thee!

Pavel Chesnokov's musical style is high romantic, in places his voice leading reminds me of Mahler's choral music.   The Russian romantic choral style is very distinctive and rich, nearly symphonic in sound at times but almost always very clear.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Antonio Soler - Magnificat


Concerto Italiano (Rinaldo Alessandrini)

This is an interesting setting, the first thing that I thought was even a bit strange were the quasi-barbershop quartet harmonies in the very beginning of it.

As a contrast to what I said about Bach's setting of "omnes generationes" notice how Soler says it once in a chordal passage at about 1:45 and that's that, whereas other parts of the text are emphasized by repetition and more contrapuntal treatment.  Different composers will want to bring out different parts of the text in different ways.

O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse 

Cantarte Regensburg, Hubert Velten

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
O Root of Jesse, who stands as a sign of The People
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
before whom kings will shut their mouths
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
to whom The People will pray
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
come and free us, with no delay.

Healey Willan - O Adonai

O Adonai 

Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Rupert Lang, director.

Healey Willan at Evensong and Benediction [Live] - Magnificat, Ps. 117 and improvisation

A glimpse of Healey Willan (1880-1968) accompanying the Anglo-Catholic liturgy of the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Toronto. Recorded live at Vespers and Benediction in 1966. 

The Revolution Will Not Be Pixilized

So, someone asked me what I thought of the weird demise of The New Republic. Which I have to say wasn't much different from someone asking me what I thought of Miley Cyrus doing whatever that desperate attention seeker has done to get attention - does anyone else feel like the pop industry and the internet has put us all into an early John Waters movie we saw after someone slipped us some acid?   I'll tell you, but I'll go farther than that.

I don't much care about The New Republic having the plug pulled -if you'll indulge an inverted metaphor made ironically - by some doofus internet billionaire. a power broker made so by the merit of having known Mark Zuckerberg in college.   I hadn't looked at much of it in decades, since it was taken over by another doofus who married into money, Marty Peretz. While there are those on the scribbling left who seem to be having some regrets over its death, I don't much care about them or their scribbler buddies or their careers in the scribbling trade.  My youthful faith in the power of a crusading liberal media is deader than TNR has been for the past several decades.  I pretty much despised it before the editorship of the late war criminal Michael Kelly and such guys (and they were all guys) as Andrew Sullivan were brought in to make it relevant to a new generation of soon to be middle age fogies.

The best and the brightest of the writing class got what they wanted in my youth when they fought against any restrictions on such violent, misogynistic crap as The Last Exit To Brooklyn, the stupid stand up of Lenny Bruce and the right of speech in the form of strippers to expose their genitals without g-strings (a great cause celebre of the "liberals" which, I saw the other day, is still being crusaded for) and look at the state of our politics.  I MEAN JUST LOOK AT THE STATE OF OUR POLITICS AND OUR MORAL LIVES!   I would just like for some of them to admit the role the economic self-interest of their profession has played in that disaster.

Every single bit of progress made on economic justice, equality, etc. has been thrown under the bus as a direct result of "liberals" who made money out of the media getting exactly what they really wanted.  I see them all as having a bit of David Horowitz in their souls.  At least potentially.   At this point there are few of the organs of that kind of lit'ry "liberalism" that could fall and I'd be bothered to notice it.

The only thing I looked at with any regularity in the most recent spewage of The New Republic are the oddly corseted ravings of Jerry Coyne.   I'd love to know how hard the editor had to work to reign in his typical raving lunatic blog style.   I suppose someone at The New Republic wanted to get on the neo-atheist bandwagon in the '00s another thing I'm hoping to see break down as this decade progresses.

I am a lot less impressed with journalism than I used to be.  It has always oversold its importance.  Online, the tiny little part of it which I had once hoped would bloom with thousands of I. F. Stones seems to be turning out more Hedda Hoppers and Walter Winchells,  Amanda Marcottes and Jerry Coynes.   Or, perhaps, the weird ability to see into the unedited tappings of people on the left merely gives us a mirror into the thinking behind the failure of liberalism* and that is what informs my skepticism of the value of "liberalism" as edited by the former organs of official liberalism, such as The New Republic used to be in the lost past.   It is as it always was, first and foremost, the libertarianism of those who made money from the media who didn't really care all that much about much of anything else.

There will be no liberal resurrection that is led by them, it will come from The People and I suspect it will have  the disdain of the scribbling class. Including the online one, the one that will trend on twitter and get posted on Talking Points Memo or Alternet, to cover that spectrum.

*  Update:  There are those who attribute his self-exposure as a racist crank online for the fall of Marty Peretz.

Hate Mail File A Nation Governed By Lies Believed By An Effective Margin Allowed By The First Amendment And The Supreme Court

I have gotten a bit of flack over my recent comments on the pantomime constitution that hundreds of millions have been duped into believing is the law of the land.  They especially don't like my dissing of the sacred bill of rights, though it is that idolized document that has both been the Trojan Horse for the corporate oligarchs to invade and destroy our democracy and which has armed the insane fascist militia that we are endangered by.

If what I said isn't true, that those are a fraud that covers the real government that actually makes the real laws that govern us, how come Senator Warren has to make the speech she did the other day pointing out the real government of us, put in place, first and foremost by the Supreme Court which has destroyed the progress towards government by The People using the bill of rights, turning politicians into the dependent servants of such entities as Citigroup?

Senator Warren On The Citigroup Coup

Every single aspect of the organized crime that really governs us allowed under that constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court that is given that constitutional power without any, real accountability.   Supreme Court justices put in office by a series of Republican-fascists starting with Richard Nixon, and aided, to a lesser extent by the devotees of "free speech" absolutism, placing that ideology above the absolute requirement of government by The People, accurate information and the disbelief of lies.

I won't go on because I hope you will listen to Senator Warren's speech, it deserves to be considered one of the greatest speeches made in our history.

Update:   And remember how she exposed the license to break the law given to the financial class that is part of the actual law of the land instead of the meaningless words in bills and codes of law.   That is a direct and actual result of the ability of the corporations to sell lies through the media, to install their stooges in governments and, so, in courts and the Supreme Court.

I will point out,  Senator Warren may be a senator from that bastion of Eastern liberalism, Massachusetts, but she is a gift to us all from Oklahoma.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

O Adonai

O Adonai 

Cantarte Regensburg

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
O Lord and leader of the house of Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
who to Moses in the fire of the burning bush appeared
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
and who on Zion the law gave
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
come and save us with your extended arm.

J. S Bach - Magnificat in D BVW 243


Orchestra and Chorus of the Collegium Vocale Gent
Hana Blažíková, Margot Oitzinger - sopranos,
Robin Blaze - counter tenor,
Thomas Hobbs - tenor,
Peter Kooij - bass,
Philippe Herreweghe - conductor

The point I made the other day about the use of repetition of a phrase or word as a meditation or for emphasis is on full display in the way Bach set the words "omnes generationes" "all generations" in a massive choral passage which breaks abruptly into the pastoral meditation of the soprano at about 8:28 in this recording.  Maybe some day I'll count the number of times the word "omnes" is sung over and over in various ways to show as well as say "all" generations but it must run into the dozens of times.  

You can compare how, in the minor doxology at the end when Bach sets the words "Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, (et in saecula saeculorum)" ' As it was in the beginning, as now and ever shall be, world without end" in a chordal manner to emphasize hat passage as an affirmation of belief and faith.

Everything about this setting is perfect, from the notes, rhythm and counterpoint to the smallest detail of instrumentation.  There's a reason Bach has the reputation he does and this piece is one of them.

O Sapientia - Magnificat

O Sapientia - Magnificat 

 St. Francis of Assisi Church, Szendrő, Hungary (?)

This is an interesting performance of a choral setting of the antiphon and canticle, it's interesting how the antiphon seems to be far less familiar to the singers than the Magnificat, which would be sung far more often.  Perhaps it is their relationship to Christmas that makes the "O Antiphons" relatively popular with composers.  Here is a setting by the fairly little known but quite good English Scottish (my mistake) composer, Robert Ramsey.

O Sapientia 

Pomerium (?)


And a setting in German by the popular Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt

O Weisheit

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tönu Kaljuste

From The Gospel of Matthew - What I Was Reading Exactly A Year Ago

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.
An Introduction To Rosie's Place 

O Sapientia - Magnificat

O Sapientia - Magnificat 

Schola Gregoriana Hispana

The seven "O Antiphons" (also called the "Greater Antiphons" or "Major Antiphons") are prayers that come from the Breviary's Vespers during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the "Golden Nights." 

Each Antiphon begins with "O" and addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaias and Micheas (Micah), and whose initials, when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I come." Those titles for Christ are:
Radix Jesse
Clavis David
Rex Gentium

The website that is taken from has more on the "O Antiphons" and sound files with them being chanted.

Hate Mail File

No.  Oh, no, no, NO.   That thing you're talking about, that document that ensures we are a nation of equality, justice, all that stuff about the rule of law, not of men or, more to the point, of plutocrats is gone if it ever was.  It is so gone it should be called The Gonestitution.   We're governed by a Gangstertution.

Update:  And the presstitution sings its praises and advances its mythology.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

O Sapientia

O Sapientia 

Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars in Oxford.

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
O Wisdom, which comes from the mouth of the Highest One
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
and reaches from end to the end
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
powerfully and smoothly arranging it all
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiaec
come to teach us your prudence. 

O Sapientia Flash Mob 

BYU Singers 

Our Potemkin Constitution Covering The Criminal Code We Are Governed By

Joan Walsh is right that America needed to see Dick Cheney again in all his evil depravity because he is one of the greatest proofs of the disaster that our government and society have become in the past half century of conservative dominance of our politics and our media.   That a man who has the blood of so many scores of thousands on him, who was a major architect of terror campaigns, illegal war and torture programs and who is not only free to be at liberty among us but to have been imposed on us as a de facto president by the Supreme Court is absolute proof that our Constitution doesn't even function at its minimally acceptable level.  And that's not to mention that he still gets face time to lie about his crimes against humanity on the major networks.

That two days after he appeared on NBC's Face The Nation to endorse the legality and morality of "rectal feeding" and torturing, as well as incarcerating innocent people, people in the millions aren't damning him merely tops off the eight years when they tolerated him as the self-chosen office daddy of George W. Bush and the actual chief executive for a good part of that time.  Four decades ago  42 years ago his predecessor, Spiro Agnew, achieved fame as the first Vice President who had to resign the office for financial crimes that, today, would barely be noticed.   He took less than $130,000 dollars in bribes and extortion.  He was replaced by Gerald Ford who would pardon Richard Nixon for anything he'd done while president - as I have mentioned the House Committee declined to approve an article of impeachment against him related to the illegal invasion of Cambodia, the first article of impeachment filed by Congressman Fr. Robert Drinan.   To refresh memories:

On July 31, 1973, while the Vietnam war was still being fought, Representative Robert Drinan, a Massachusetts Democrat, introduced the first impeachment resolution against President Richard Nixon. One of the grounds for indictment Drinan proposed was the secret bombing of Cambodia, ordered by the President. To Drinan, this was a crime at least as great as the domestic scandals which had already come to be known as "Watergate." The fourteen months of massive B-52 "carpet bombings," which killed tens of thousands of Cambodian villagers and an unknown number of Vietnamese communist soldiers in border sanctuaries, were run outside the military's chain of command. They were also kept completely secret from Congress and the public (until exposed by New York Times reporter William Beecher). In recently released transcripts of telephone conversations between Nixon and his closest aides, the President ordered "a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia [using] anything that flies on anything that moves." (The transcript then records an unintelligible comment that "sounded like [General Alexander] Haig laughing.")

The secret bombing of Cambodia involved the same abuse of power and political manipulation of government agencies as Watergate, but only a few Congressional representatives like John Conyers, Elizabeth Holtzman, and Edward Mezvinsky supported Drinan's Cambodia article, which was soundly defeated by the House impeachment committee 26-12.

There are many myths about Watergate -- among them that Woodward and Bernstein rode into Dodge and rescued the republic all by themselves, that the impeachment of Richard Nixon saved American constitutional democracy from destruction, and that the grounds on which Nixon was impeached were a fair reflection of what he and "all the President's men" had actually done. In American mythology, "the system worked."

The "system working" was something of a mantra back the.  The "system worked" when it let Nixon off for some of the most serious crimes against humanity in the years after the defeat of the Nazis and Imperial Japan.   The "system worked" when it declined to even indict Nixon for actions that would directly lead to the deaths of millions of people in the wreck that he left Cambodia.  It "worked" when Gerald Ford put the final proof in place that an American president, as long as he is a Republican, will never have to pay for even the reduced charges brought by a bi-partisan vote of the House Committee assigned to investigate his crimes.

Four decades later, we and the victims of our imperial government are paying for what happened with the approval of the free press which has so notably not protected us or democracy from this.  Of course, it was the same free press which had clearly favored Nixon's election in 1968.  I've mentioned before that the morning after that election I had the TV on the local NBC affiliate.  When they called the race for Nixon, the newsroom burst out in applause, which, back then, was excused by grey, dour, old Ed Newman as relief at a long night being over. Which, considering how they'd behaved all year, I thought had the credibility of a bridge salesman.  The hypocrisy of that is punctuated by the claim that "our long national nightmare is over" at the other end of the Nixon administration made by the man who would ensure it was only starting.   For those who forget, Dick Cheney was a member of that let-off administration, as well.

That year was the beginning of my total disillusionment with the free press, I'd have thought it would be complete by now but they never cease to find a lower level to sink to.  But, then, neither does the government they cover.  Now we have "rectal feeding" threatening to torture children (John Yoo is still at large and given his say by our free press) total and illegal war (see the link from this morning) and other such flowers of democracy as allowed by our real constitution, not that Potemkin one we're always talking about.

The Moral and Material Decay of American Democracy

I've suddenly got a busy morning and won't be able to post anything till later. Here is an interview of Noam Chomsky by Laura Flanders that was recommended to me.  
Antonio Vivaldi 
Magnificat in g minor 

John Eliot Gardiner cond.  No other performers listed

Again, I don't find this an especially effective setting of the text but others might get something out of it that I can't.   Considering Vivaldi was a priest, who would, if I'm correct, have said the text every day at least before his almost immediate suspension of duties as a priest, that's kind of surprising. 

I don't know why I can't get Youtubes to post on my webpage all of a sudden, so I'll be providing links. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Maronite Rite - Magnificat

The Maronite Mariamite Order Choir in Rome

Michael Praetorius  

Magnificat Per Omnes Versus Super Ut re mi fa sol la

Having Trouble Posting Today

Don't know what's wrong.  I'll try again, later.

Reality Is Real, We Live In The World We Live In - "What Would You Do About Rape?"

You ask me what I'd do about rape.  I'd start by pointing out that there are two aspects to that question, what can be tried to punish rapes that have happened and, what I think is more readily worked on, how to prevent at least some rapes.

The first thing to do is to face reality, you can't do much to change the mindset of a man or woman who is intent on raping or sexually assaulting someone.  The part of the population who intentionally does that is not going to be swayed by any political rhetoric or insistence that they even listen.  They won't.  If they would they probably wouldn't rape people. That is as much a given as the molecular make up of water.   Any address of this issue will have to start from there.  It doesn't help that in the free-press-free-speech-pornographied world we live in that boys are taught that rape is a normal thing and an entitlement.  That doesn't help at all and it is an entirely predictable result of the free reign given to the porn industry, as is the denial of that reality.  But the denial of reality is the most salient feature of this topic as most typically discussed.

I  would hire more women and LGBT people as policemen, prosecutors and judges, but especially as policemen.   If one of the problems is that the reporting of rape is difficult for victims due to the gender and gender preference differences between victims and the police who they report those to and who investigate them then that is a necessary step.  That given, I've been told that part of the problem is that not enough women choose to go into law enforcement.  I'd make the profession a lot more professional,  protectors of society and not quasi-military warriors.  And that includes making other changes including paying them more, requiring more training and relevant education - requiring a degree would only be effective if it were in the practical knowledge and skills instead of the mere granting of credentials for money our education system has devolved into.  The culture of police departments would have to be changed as part of that.

I would also have a uniform, legal and social definition of what rape is and, as important, what it isn't.   The recent attempts online to make "rape" mean whatever the person using the word wants it to mean against any person they happen to want to accuse in any scenario they want to call rape has only made that problem worse.

Verbal consent, unless removed verbally, has to be the defining question.  No competent adult can later decide that their "yes" really meant "no" unless they changed it to "no" and said so, without ambiguity, at the time.   Unless they want to make it illegal for anyone who has voluntarily drugged themselves with alcohol or drugs to engage in sex, "I was drunk" can't change the fact that the person they later want to accuse were told, by them, that they welcomed sex.  No adult who voluntarily gets drunk or stoned can use that to magically turn their spoken "yes" into "no" anymore than another who voluntarily gets drunk or stoned can claim they heard a "no" as "yes".

So far that deals with the punishment of rape that happens, it doesn't get to the even more important issue of preventing rape from happening,  which would, one would think, be an even more desired goal.  And that gets us to the current use of rape as an issue to be pushed and not a crime to be prevented and punished.   Rape must be considered a crime with a set definition and not an ideological weapon and a debating point.  It is a sex crime and it is frequently a hate crime.

We live in the world we live in, those crimes don't merely depend on the choices of those who rape, they are made possible by the circumstances in which they happen.  Pretending that isn't the case won't do a thing to prevent or punish rape.  The current campaign to convince young women that their choices and behavior can't or shouldn't be part of that consideration serves no one but the scribbling class jerks who are lying to them.

As I pointed out last month, if you get very drunk you are voluntarily enhancing your chances of being chosen as a target to be attacked, just as you are also voluntarily enhancing your chances of being injured in an accident or being talked into something you'll regret or otherwise making a fool of yourself.  And that is your choice, you are responsible for doing that.  No matter how much you insist that having someone point that out is some kind of violation of some imagined right to get plastered, asserting that right isn't going to change the fact that rapists will be only too willing to take advantage of the results of your choice.   And you are the one responsible for giving them that opportunity. Which is as true of  men as it is  women.  Though it is certainly more of a chance that a woman will become a rape victim through making that choice.  You can either whine that that isn't fair and refuse to make your choice based on the reality you live in or you can decrease your chances of being a victim of rape or any of those other results of getting drunk.   It's your choice but none of us are obligated to pretend reality isn't real.

Considering how many of those pushing the current nonsense on these issues fall for the belief that there is some inherent bio-chemical determinism which makes us behave as we do, you would think they would understand that the effects of alcohol molecules on behavior are far more established science than the latest tripe that comes from some study of 8 right handed people subjected to fMRI.   Which probably is explained by people who like to get sloshed choosing to deny reality.  A trait that drunks share with most of humanity.

Similar things can be said about sending out signals that you would welcome someone having sex with you when that's not the case.   People dress in sexy clothes to look sexy to other people for the reason of attracting sexual attention and flirt for the same reason.  Anyone who denies that is lying, to themselves as well as others who don't believe it for a second.   And they go to frat parties, pick up bars and the such for the same reason.  And the chances of getting what you don't want out of that scenario are multiplied by people getting drunk or stoned, as so many men in those places will be.  Drunk people who think they've scored and then are told they haven't, especially after they're alone with the person they believe wanted sex, have been known to get angry and violent, especially men. That's the reality of it.  The only way for people to avoid being in that particular scenario that often leads to rape is to avoid getting into that scenario.  Even the never-will-be-achieved, perfect justice system with the best possible record of prosecution of rape, after the fact, won't do much to protect you from a furious drunk who won't be especially open to rational consideration. Now I will wait for the denial of that reality.

Update:  No, I'm not in the business of telling people what they want to hear, I'll leave that to other bloggers and scribblers.  To answer your complaint, I'm also not in the business of telling myself what I want to hear.

No Thanks

American movies do three things, 1. violence, 2. sex, 3. violent sex.  

I'll read the book, instead. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sister Marie Keyrouz - Magnificat

Sr. Marie Keyrouz is a Melkite rite Sister who is a scholar and performer in several chant traditions.  This is unlike any of the others I've heard.  The performers are her L'Ensemble de la Paix.

American Moloch: The Ignored Verse Right Before The One They Push

Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Moloch, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. Leviticus 18:21 

Two years after the sacrifice of children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the actual patron gods of the United States, Moloch and Mammon, are fatter than ever, fed on the blood and flesh of children sacrificed to them as certainly as any thrown on the heated statue of one and ground up by the daily mechanism of the other.   The various mass feedings of those gods is supplemented by daily sacrifices, especially of children of color and poor children instead of those of the elite, sanctioned and enabled by the state, the high church of the Supreme Court, the media, the NRA, Koch bros. the press....  

"It Sounds So Stupid When They Sing Words Over And Over" Choral Music As Enhanced Meaning

Words with music aren't the same as words without music even though the words are the same words.

A composer, when they are setting words*, especially words with very significant meaning, has choices to make, just like someone who is speaking lines does. Someone speaking words and who cares to communicate their meaning will vary their inflection and timing to try to clarify the meaning of those words.  They can, also, use inflection, timing and volume to try to assert their understanding or interpretation of those words.

Singers and, even more so, composers have all of those tools of elucidation and many more.  They have an extended range of timing options, and, since singing is sustained speech, sustaining the vowels, the voiced consonants with the enormous range of possibilities of manipulating time and rhythm and volume and diction, those are multiplied, perhaps into an infinity of possible choices.

One of the first issues in setting words to music is whether or not a syllable is going to be sung on one pitch or a few pitches or in an extended, melismatic line of pitches, of equal or varying lengths.   One way to make the words clear is by assigning one pitch to each syllable.  That can be especially effective if the text can be presumed to be unknown to the audience who will be hearing the words without access to the score or the text.  While the use of more than one note per syllable can be one of the more effective means of calling attention to that word or that part of a text, it runs the risk of obscuring the words as well.  When, as in the Magnificat settings, in English by William Byrd you object to,  the lines are set in a complex texture of other sung lines, that can be a real impediment to understanding the words.

However, he composed his Magnificat settings for singers and listeners for whom those words would be as familiar as the words of the dreary atheist anthem, "Imagine" would be for most of the people reading this.  In that case his assumption would have been, not that he would have to feed the words to his audience but that they would know them already.

When that's the case a composer has other choices to make, including what parts of the text they want to emphasize.  In the BBC movie I posted, they pointed out that in his three mass settings the Catholic, William Byrd, living in a country where Catholics hearing mass were hunted down, tortured and killed by the state,  he chose to set the words  (Credo en) Et unam, sanctam, cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam, (I believe) in one holy Catholic and apostolic church, he set them in a more chordal style that would make them stand out, even within the already and entirely familiar text of the ordinary of the mass.

Also, when a text would have been as familiar to the singers and hearers as those of The Magnificat, especially in the vernacular language, a composer has a choice to make their setting, not a declamation of the text, but a meditation on it. That can bring a text, recited or sung by many of them every single day, to life in a way that wouldn't be dulled by habit and the tendency of the mind to wander when the task of going through the words can be done by rote.   Byrd's settings and many of those I've posted can, if seen that way, open up the meaning of the text for wider consideration as to what they mean.   Repeating a passage in different voices is a way to call your attention to those words and to provide a means of considering their meaning.  When seen that way it doesn't seem at all stupid or unnatural, as if singing even a  simple folk song, often rhymed, timed verse, even without repetition of text is a "natural" thing to start with.

Different composers will have different understandings of those words and will use their settings to set out different aspects of those words for consideration.  Listening with the words in front of you, or, even better, the score, can help you to experience the music in that way.  Even better would be to sing the lines while listening or, best of all, live with other singers, can bring you to a deeper understanding than either just listening to the beauty of the music or just reading the words in silence.  That's the way this music should be heard, and learned.  It's the way that music theory should be taught, not just making dots and lines on music paper with numbers underneath.

Try it, you might like it.  I know it's not as easy as listening to the mop head droning on soporifically, automatically mumbling along with the words,  for the 462,017th time but the text of the Magnificat more than matches even the most sophisticated musical treatment.  But maybe I shouldn't get into that again till after the New Year.

*  I include jazz and other improvisational singers as full and honorable members in the fellowship of composers.

Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach - Magnificat

Anna Nesyba - Soprano
Monteverdichor Würzburg
Monteverdi Ensemble
Matthias Beckert (cond.)

Of course it's unfair to compare his setting with that of his father but I can't help but note that his is about fifteen minutes longer and less varied in its range.   I just don't find this style particularly convincing when applied to this text.