Category Archives: SPIRITUALITY

QUOTATION: NU EXISTA SCLAV MAI BUN DECAT CEL CARE CREDE CA ESTE LIBER


NU EXISTA SCAL MAI BUN...

NU EXISTA SCLAV MAI BUN…

Saint of the Day for Saturday, January 9th, 2016: St. Adrian, Abbot


Image of St. Adrian, Abbot

St. Adrian, Abbot

Born in Africa, Adrian became abbot of the monastery at Nerida, near Naples. He declined an appointment as archbishop of Canterbury, but accompanied St. Theodore to England when the latter was … continue reading

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historic musical bits: Dinu Lipatti plays Liszt Concerto No. 1 in E flat Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Ernest Ansermet, rec. 1947


Dinu Lipatti plays Liszt Concerto No. 1 in E flat Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Ernest Ansermet
rec. 1947

 
 
 
 
 

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 : St. John Neumann


Image of St. John Neumann

St. John Neumann

This American saint was born in Bohemia in 1811. He was looking forward to being ordained in 1835 when the bishop decided there would be no more ordinations. It is difficult for us to imagine now, … continue reading

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today’s holiday: Twelfth Night


Twelfth Night

In England, the evening before the Epiphany is called Epiphany Eve, or Twelfth Night, and it traditionally marks the end of the Christmas season. Celebrations reflect ancient Winter Solstice rites encouraging the rebirth of the New Year and also the Magi‘s visit to the Christ child. Pageants held on this night typically include masked figures, costumed musicians, and traditional dances. Customarily, the Twelfth Night cake is sliced and served, and the man who gets the hidden bean and the woman the pea are the king and queen for the festivities. More… Discuss

Fabulous Renditions: Ennio Morricone – The Mission Main Theme (Morricone Conducts Morricone)


Ennio Morricone – The Mission Main Theme (Morricone Conducts Morricone)

 

 

Fabulous Renditions: Henrik Chaim Goldschmidt plays “Gabriel’s Oboe”


Henrik Chaim Goldschmidt plays “Gabriel’s Oboe”

great compositions/performances: The Mission – Gabriel’s Oboe


The Mission – Gabriel’s Oboe (Full HD)

today’s holiday: St. John the Evangelist’s Day


St. John the Evangelist’s Day

John the Evangelist was thought to be not only the youngest of the Apostles but the longest-lived, dying peacefully of natural causes at an advanced age. Although he escaped actual martyrdom, St. John endured considerable persecution and suffering for his beliefs. He is said to have drunk poison to prove his faith, been cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, and at one point banished to the Greek island of Patmos. He remained miraculously unharmed throughout these trials and returned to Ephesus, where it is believed he wrote the Gospel according to John. More… Discuss

Saint of the Day for Saturday, December 26th, 2015: St. Stephen


Image of St. Stephen

St. Stephen

Stephen’s name means “crown,” and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr’s crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The apostles had found that they … continue reading

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Saint of the Day for Saturday, December 19th, 2015: St. Nemesius


Image of St. Nemesius

St. Nemesius

Martyr of Egypt. He was burned alive in Alexandria, Egypt, during the persecutions under Emperor Trajanus Decius. Nemesius was arrested and scourged and then burned to death. Like Christ, he was … continue reading

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Saint of the Day for Friday, December 18th, 2015: St. Rufus


Image of St. Rufus

St. Rufus

Rufus and Zosimus were citizens of Antioch (or perhaps Philippi) who were brought to Rome with St. Ignatius of Antioch during the reign of Emperor Trajan. They were condemned to death for their … continue reading

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this pressed for our soul: Where Christ Drove Demons into Sea: Archeological Proof


MOREby Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.17 Dec 2015373Evidence has been uncovered corroborating the site of one of Jesus’ most powerful and dramatic miracles: the casting out of demons into a herd of swine in the land of the Gadarenes (or Gerasenes). Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a 1,500-year-old marble slab with Hebrew inscriptions near Kursi, the spot traditionally associated with the miracle of Christ’s banishment of demons into a herd of swine. Archeologists believe the slab to be a commemoration tablet dating from around 500 AD. The inscription in Hebrew begins with the words “Remembered for good. ”The biblical description of the miracle is one of the most evocative in the entire Gospel. Recounted by Matthew, Mark, and Luke with different nuances, the Gospels depict Jesus in one of His most direct confrontations with Satan.  Mark describes the possessed man as fiercely strong and dangerous. Local citizens had tried in vain to restrain him with shackles and chains, but he broke them to pieces. The man lived among the tombs, howling night and day and gashing himself with stones. He terrified the people so much that no one dared go near. On seeing Jesus approach, the man ran and bowed down before him, while the demons inside him howled and begged Jesus not to torment them.Jesus, meanwhile, was ordering them, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit! ”When Jesus commanded the demons to identify themselves, they replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many. ”Jesus then cast the demons into a herd of about 2,000 swine grazing on a nearby hillside. The pigs rushed headlong down the steep bank into the sea, where they drowned, to the utter amazement and shock of the townspeople.The healed demoniac, now clothed and in his full senses, begged Jesus to take him back with him, but Jesus told him to stay and proclaim the mercy of God to his family and friends.  The University of Haifa researchers found the marble on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee, in Kursi, the historically Gentile district of the Decapolis.  On the slab, scientists also identified the words “amen” and “marmaria,” which could refer to marble or to Mary, Jesus’ mother.Kursi has been identified in Christian tradition with Gadarenes, where the Miracle of the Swine took place. In the fifth and sixth centuries, a Christian church was built to mark the spot of the biblical location but was destroyed by invading Persians in 614 AD and, after being rebuilt, was demolished by fire shortly afterward. The site remained abandoned for most of the following 1,300 years. The church was lost to history until it was uncovered by accident during the building of a new road in 1970. Archaeological excavations continued at the site from 1970-74.  Around the vicinity of the church, caves are still visible, and there is a mountain that drops down into the sea, such as described in the biblical account.Christ’s trip to the land of the Gadarenes (Kursi) was one of his rare visits to Gentile territory, which also explains the presence of the herd of pigs, which was forbidden to the Jews. Jesus Himself had said that He was sent only “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”Celebrated Christian apologist Steve Ray, a frequent visitor to Kursi who often leads groups through biblical sites in the Holy Land, told Breitbart News that since Kursi had the largest monastery in Israel, it was obviously held in high esteem by the first Christians. “The early Judeo-Christians remembered the places and events surrounding the life of Christ, and as soon as Christianity was legalized, churches were built on these different sites,” he said. “The more archaeology uncovers,” Ray said, “the more the Bible is confirmed.”Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.Read More Stories About:Big Government, National Security, Faith, Israel, Bible, satan, Jesus Christ, exorcism, demons, Kursi, archeology, Gadarenes, Gerasenes

Source: Where Christ Drove Demons into Sea: Archeological Proof

this pressed for our spirit!: Orthodox Rabbis Issue Groundbreaking Declaration Affirming ‘Partnership’ With Christianity


MOREA group of prominent Orthodox rabbis in Israel, the United States and Europe have issued a historic public statement affirming that Christianity is “the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations” and urging Jews and Christians to “work together as partners to address the moral challenges of our era.”“Jesus brought a double goodness to the world,” the statement reads. “On the one hand he strengthened the Torah of Moses majestically” and on the other hand “he removed idols from the nations,” instilling them “firmly with moral traits.
”This year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the declaration issued in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council, which marked a watershed in Jewish-Christian relations.In language unusual for its day, Nostra Aetate stated that “God holds the Jews most dear,” stressed the great “spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews,” and condemned “hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.”Now, a group of Jewish leaders has responded in kind, expressing their desire to accept “the hand offered to us by our Christian brothers and sisters.”

“Christians are congregations that work for the sake of heaven who are destined to endure, whose intent is for the sake of heaven and whose reward will not denied,” the text reads. The statement bears the title, “To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians,” and is signed by over 25 prominent Orthodox rabbis, who invite fellow Orthodox rabbis to join in signing the statement. “Now that the Catholic Church has acknowledged the eternal Covenant between G-d and Israel, we Jews can acknowledge the ongoing constructive validity of Christianity as our partner in world redemption, without any fear that this will be exploited for missionary purposes,” it says.

Echoing recent words by Pope Francis, the document states:

“We are no longer enemies, but unequivocal partners in articulating the essential moral values for the survival and welfare of humanity.”“Neither of us can achieve G-d’s mission in this world alone,” it says.

According to Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, one of the statement’s initiators, the “real importance of this Orthodox statement is that it calls for fraternal partnership between Jewish and Christian religious leaders, while also acknowledging the positive theological status of the Christian faith.”“This proclamation’s breakthrough is that influential Orthodox rabbis across all centers of Jewish life have finally acknowledged that Christianity and Judaism are no longer engaged in a theological duel to the death and that Christianity and Judaism have much in common spiritually and practically. Given our toxic history, this is unprecedented in Orthodoxy.” said Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, Academic Director of CJCUC.Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsromeRead More Stories About:National Security, Faith, Breitbart Jerusalem, Vatican, Pope Francis, Christianity, Catholic Church, Judaism, Nostra Aetate, Jewish-Christian relations, orthodox rabbis

Source: Orthodox Rabbis Issue Groundbreaking Declaration Affirming ‘Partnership’ With Christianity

Ave Maria Schubert Liszt Valentina Lisitsa


Ave Maria Schubert Liszt Valentina Lisitsa

Fabulous renditions: Valentina Lisitsa plays Tchaikovsky Children’s Album Детский альбом , Op. 39


Tchaikovsky Children’s Album Детский альбом , Op. 39 Valentina Lisitsa


Published on Dec 17, 2015

This was my first recital repertory when I was 4 years old!

It’s so nice to re-visit this masterpiece and to enjoy it as an adult:)
Simple enough for little hands to master, yet not an “instructional” music but real REAL music, a gem of Tchaikovsky writing.

00:08 Morning Prayer (Утренняя молитва)
02:00 Winter Morning (Зимнее утро)
03:43 Playing Hobby-Horses (Игра в лошадки)
04:33 Mama (Мама)
06:00 March of the Wooden Soldiers (Марш деревянных солдатиков)
07:05 The Sick Doll (Болезнь куклы)
10:47 The Doll’s Funeral (Похороны куклы)
13:15 The New Doll (Новая кукла)
14:00 Waltz (Вальс)
15:30 Mazurka (Мазурка)
16:53 Russian Song (Русская песня)
17:38 The Accordion Player (Мужик на гармонике играет)
18:48 Kamarinskaya (Камаринская)
19:20 Polka (Полька)
20:19 Italian Song (Итальянская песенка)
21:16 Old French Song (Старинная французская песенка)
22:35 German Song (Немецкая песенка)
23:44 Neapolitan Song (Неаполитанская песенка)
24:52 Nanny’s Story (Нянина сказка)
25:55 The Sorcerer (Баба-Яга)
26:46 Sweet Dreams (Сладкая греза)
29:46 Lark Song (Песня жаворонка)
31:12 The Organ-Grinder Sings (Шарманщик поет)
32:31 In Church (В церкви)

this pressed for our mind: Anti-Christian persecution isn’t all about Islam, @JohnLAllenJr writes — Crux (@Crux) December 16, 2015


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Saint of the Day for Wednesday, December 16th, 2015: St. Ado of Vienne


Image of St. Ado of Vienne

St. Ado of Vienne

An archbishop and scholar, Ado was born in Sens and educated at the Benedictine abbey of Ferrieres. Abbot Lupus Servatus, an outstanding humanist of the time, trained Ado, and was impressed with the … continue reading

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Faith: Swami Vivekananda


Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was a Hindu mystic, a disciple of Ramakrishna, and one of the most influential spiritual leaders of the Vedanta philosophy. In 1890, Vivekananda began a journey that would take him throughout India as a wandering monk. A few years later, he represented Hinduism at the US World Parliament of Religions and is credited with helping kindle Western interest in the religion. His Ramakrishna Mission, now one of the largest Hindu monastic orders in India, was founded on what principle? More… Discuss

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, December 15th, 2015: St. Mary Di Rosa


Image of St. Mary Di Rosa

St. Mary Di Rosa

Saint Mary (Paula) Di Rosa December 15 The pounding on the barricaded door of the military hospital sent every heart thudding in terror. In the middle of the war in Brescia (Italy) in 1848, the … continue reading

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today’s holiday: Bill of Rights Day


Bill of Rights Day

The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution of 1787—referred to collectively as the Bill of Rights—were ratified on December 15, 1791. This landmark document protected American citizens from specific abuses by their government and guaranteed such basic rights as the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated December 15 as Bill of Rights Day and called upon Americans to observe it with appropriate patriotic ceremonies. More… Discuss

historic musical bits: Leonard Bernstein – Mozart Schlittenfahrt (Sleigh Ride) 1967


Leonard Bernstein – Mozart Schlittenfahrt (Sleigh Ride) 1967

historic musical bits: BEETHOVEN Symphony No 6 (Pastoral) in F Op 68 LEONARD BERNSTEIN


BEETHOVEN Symphony No 6 (Pastoral) in F Op 68 LEONARD BERNSTEIN

Historic musical bits: Dvorak String Quartet No.12, Op.96 “American” (The Smetana Quartet – WIKI), rec. 1967)


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LJsnTexnOYg/Vmym6juh5oI/AAAAAAAAqb4/DWys5Tg0aC0/w346-h449/3+-+1.gif
Dvorak String Quartet No.12, Op.96 “American” (The Smetana Quartet 1967)

 
 
Published on Dec 4, 2014

Antonin Dvorak (1841- 1904)
String Quartet “American” No.12, Op.96

Allegro ma non troppo (00:00)
Lento (7:02)
Molto vivace (15:00)
Finale: vivace ma non troppo (18:26)

The Smetana Quartet
violin – Jiri Novak
violin – Lubomir Kostecky
viola – Milan Skampa
cello – Antonin Kohout

Recorded in 1967
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String Quartet No. 12 (Dvořák)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

 The last page of the autograph score with Dvořák’s inscription: “Finished on 10 June 1893 in Spillville. Thanks God. I’m satisfied. It went quickly”

The String Quartet in F major Op. 96, nicknamed American Quartet, is the 12th string quartet composed by Antonín Dvořák. It was written in 1893, during Dvořák’s time in the United States. The quartet is one of the most popular in the chamber music repertoire.

Composition

Performance of the quartet by the Seraphina quartet (Caeli Smith and Sabrina Tabby, violins; Madeline Smith, viola; Genevieve Tabby, cello)
 
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Dvořák composed the Quartet in 1893 during a summer vacation from his position as Director (1892-1895) of the National Conservatory in New York. He spent his vacation in the town of Spillville, Iowa, which was home to a Czech immigrant community. Dvořák had come to Spillville through Josef Jan Kovařík who had finished violin studies at the Prague Conservatory and was about to return to Spillville, his home in the United States, when Dvořák offered him a position as secretary, which Josef Jan accepted, so he came to live with the Dvořák family in New York.[1] He told Dvořák about Spillville, where his father Jan Josef was a schoolmaster, which led to Dvořák deciding to spend the summer of 1893 there.[2]

In that environment, and surrounded by beautiful nature, Dvořák felt very much at ease.[3] Writing to a friend he described his state of mind, away from hectic New York: “I have been on vacation since 3 June here in the Czech village of Spillville and I won’t be returning to New York until the latter half of September. The children arrived safely from Europe and we’re all happy together. We like it very much here and, thank God, I am working hard and I’m healthy and in good spirits.”[4] He composed the quartet shortly after the New World Symphony, before that work had been performed.[5]

Dvořák sketched the quartet in three days and completed it in thirteen more days, finishing the score with the comment “Thank God! I am content. It was fast.”[3] It was his second attempt to write a quartet in F major: his first effort, 12 years earlier, produced only one movement.[6] The American Quartet proved a turning point in Dvořák’s chamber music output: for decades he had toiled unsuccessfully to find a balance between his overflowing melodic invention and a clear structure. In the American Quartet it finally came together.[3] Dvořák defended the apparent simplicity of the piece: “When I wrote this quartet in the Czech community of Spillville in 1893, I wanted to write something for once that was very melodious and straightforward, and dear Papa Haydn kept appearing before my eyes, and that is why it all turned out so simply. And it’s good that it did.”[7]

For his symphony Dvořák gave the subtitle himself: “From the New World“. To the Quartet he gave no subtitle himself, but there is the comment “The second composition written in America.”[8]

Negro, American or other influences?

For the London premiere of his New World symphony, Dvořák wrote: “As to my opinion I think that the influence of this country (it means the folk songs as are Negro, Indian, Irish etc.) is to be seen, and that this and all other works (written in America) differ very much from my other works as well as in couleur as in character,…”[9][10]

Dvořák’s appreciation of African-American music is documented: Harry T. Burleigh, a baritone and later a composer, who knew Dvořák while a student at the National Conservatory, said, “I sang our Negro songs for him very often, and before he wrote his own themes, he filled himself with the spirit of the old Spirituals.”[11] Dvořák said: “In the Negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music.”[12] For its presumed association with African-American music, the quartet was referred to with nicknames such as Negro and Nigger, before being called the American Quartet.[13][14] Such older nicknames, without negative connotations at the time, were used until the 1950s.[15][16]

Dvořák wrote (in a letter he sent from America shortly after composing the quartet): “As for my new Symphony, the F major String Quartet and the Quintet (composed here in Spillville) – I should never have written these works ‘just so’ if I hadn’t seen America.”[17] Listeners have tried to identify specific American motifs in the quartet. Some have claimed that the theme of the second movement is based on a Negro spiritual, or perhaps on a Kickapoo Indian tune, which Dvořák heard during his sojourn at Spillville.[18]

A characteristic, unifying element throughout the quartet is the use of the pentatonic scale. This scale gives the whole quartet its open, simple character, a character that is frequently identified with American folk music. However, the pentatonic scale is common in many ethnic musics worldwide, and Dvořák had composed pentatonic music, being familiar with such Slavonic folk music examples, before coming to America.[19]

On the whole, specific American influences are doubted: “In fact the only American thing about the work is that it was written there,” writes Paul Griffiths.[20] “The specific American qualities of the so-called “American” Quartet are not easily identifiable, writes Lucy Miller, “…Better to look upon the subtitle as simply one assigned because of its composition during Dvořák’s American tour.”[21]

 Dvořák’s transcription of the song of the scarlet tanager (top) and the appearance of the song in the third movement of the quartet.

Some have heard suggestions of a locomotive in the last movement, recalling Dvořák’s love of railroads.[22]

The one confirmed musical reference in the quartet is to the song of the scarlet tanager, an American songbird. Dvořák was annoyed by this bird’s insistent chattering, and transcribed its song in his notebook. The song appears as a high, interrupting strain in the first violin part in the third movement.[23]

Structure

The Quartet is scored for the usual complement of two violins, viola, and cello, and comprises four movements:[24] A typical performance lasts around 30 minutes.

I. Allegro ma non troppo

 
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First theme of the first movement, played by the Seraphina Quartet.

The opening theme of the quartet is purely pentatonic, played by the viola, with a rippling F major chord in the accompanying instruments. This same F major chord continues without harmonic change throughout the first 12 measures of the piece. The movement then goes into a bridge, developing harmonically, but still with the open, triadic sense of openness and simplicity.

 
 
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Second theme of the first movement.

The second theme, in A major, is also primarily pentatonic, but ornamented with melismatic elements reminiscent of Gypsy or Czech music. The movement moves to a development section that is much denser harmonically and much more dramatic in tempo and color.

 
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Fugato at end of development

The development ends with a fugato section that leads into the recapitulation.

 
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Cello bridge in recapitulation

After the first theme is restated in the recapitulation, there is a cello solo that bridges to the second theme.

II. Lento

 
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Theme of the second movement

The theme of the second movement is the one that interpreters have most tried to associate with a Negro spiritual or with an American Indian tune. The simple melody, with the pulsing accompaniment in second violin and viola, does indeed recall spirituals or Indian ritual music. It is written using the same pentatonic scale as the first movement, but in the minor (D minor) rather than the major. The theme is introduced in the first violin, and repeated in the cello. Dvořák develops this thematic material in an extended middle section, then repeats the theme in the cello with an even thinner accompaniment that is alternately bowed and pizzicato.

III. Molto vivace

 
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First section of the Scherzo movement. Listen for the song of the scarlet tanager high in the first violin

The third movement is a variant of the traditional scherzo. It has the form ABABA: the A section is a sprightly, somewhat quirky tune, full of off-beats and cross-rhythms. The song of the scarlet tanager appears high in the first violin.

 
 
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Second section of the scherzo

The B section is actually a variation of the main scherzo theme, played in minor, at half tempo, and more lyrical. In its first appearance it is a legato line, while in the second appearance the lyrical theme is played in triplets, giving it a more pulsing character.

IV. Finale: vivace ma non troppo

 
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Main theme of the last movement

The final movement is in a traditional rondo form, ABACABA. Again, the main melody is pentatonic.

 
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“B” section of the rondo

The B section is more lyrical, but continues in the spirit of the first theme.

 
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“C” section of the rondo

The C section is a chorale theme.

Performance and influence

In a first “private” performance of the quartet, in Spillville, June 1893, Dvořák himself played first violin, Jan Josef Kovařík second violin, daughter Cecilie Kovaříková viola, and son Josef Jan Kovařík the cello.[8]

The first public performance of the quartet was by the Kneisel quartet in Boston in January 1894.[25] Burghauser mentions press notices in New York as well as Boston, the first New York Herald, 18 December 1893.[8]

While the influence of American folk song is not explicit in the quartet, the impact of Dvořák’s quartet on later American compositions is clear. Following Dvořák, a number of American composers turned their hands to the string quartet genre, including John Knowles Paine, Horatio Parker, George Whitefield Chadwick, and Arthur Foote. “The extensive use of folk-songs in 20th century American music and the ‘wide-open-spaces’ atmosphere of ‘Western’ film scores may have at least some of their origins” in Dvořák’s new American style, writes Butterworth.[26]
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Smetana Quartet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

The Smetana Quartet (Czech: Smetanovo kvarteto) was a Czech string quartet that was in existence from 1945 to 1989.

Personnel

1st violin

2nd violin

Viola

Cello

Origins and activities

The Smetana Quartet arose from the Quartet of the Czech Conservatory, which was founded in 1943 (during the Nazi occupation) in Prague by Antonín Kohout, the cellist. With Jaroslav Rybenský and Lubomír Kostecký as first and second violins, and Václav Neumann as violist, the group gave its first performance as the Smetana Quartet on 6 November 1945, at the Municipal Library in Prague. Neumann left to pursue conducting in 1947, at which point Rybenský went to the viola desk and Jiří Novák (who shared first violin desk with Josef Vlach, founder of the Vlach Quartet, under Vaclav Talich in the Czech Chamber Orchestra) came in as first violin.[2]

By 1949 the group had official connections with the Czech Philharmonic. The first foreign tour was in 1949, to Poland, and the first recording was of a quartet by Bedřich Smetana in 1950. Rybenský was obliged to retire after ill health in 1952, and was replaced by Milan Škampa. The performers were appointed professors at the Academy of Musical Arts in 1967. Of their many recordings, those made at that time for German Electrola are considered particularly fine.[3]

For many years this group, which has been called the finest Czech quartet of its time, played the Czech repertoire from memory, giving these works a special intensity and intimacy.[4]

Antonín Kohout trained the Kocian Quartet (founded 1972)[5] and the Martinů Quartet (1976),[6] though the latter’s members had been pupils of Professor Viktor Moučka, cellist of the Vlach Quartet.

 

Saint of the Day for Sunday, December 13th, 2015: St. Lucy


Image of St. Lucy

St. Lucy

Lucy’s history has been lost and all we really know for certain is that this brave woman who lived in Syracuse lost her life during the persecution of Christians in the early fourth century. Her … continue reading

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Our Lady of Guadalupe (Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Mexico): School of Mary


Our Lady of Guadalupe (Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Mexico)

Saint of the Day for Saturday, December 12th, 2015: Our Lady of Guadalupe


Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

An elder Mexican man makes his way to Mass in the early morning twilight of December 9, 1531. He is a peasant, a simple farmer and laborer, and he has no education. Born under Aztec rule, he is a … continue reading

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Like a bridge over troubled waters (Simon and Garfunkel YouTube)


image

Like a bridge over troubled waters

Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over troubled water (with lyrics)

Saint of the Day for Friday, December 11th, 2015: Pope Saint Damasus I


Image of Pope Saint Damasus I

Pope Saint Damasus I

All lovers of Scripture have reason to celebrate this day. Damasus was the pope who commissioned Saint Jerome to translate the Scriptures into Latin, the Vulgate version of the Bible. Damasus was … continue reading

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this pressed for the Jubilee Year of Mercy: Meet the Christian Minorities of the Middle East | TIME


Ani, Turkey. Ani is the ancient capital of the Armenian empire, situated at the closed border between Armenia and Turkey. Nowadays Ani is a stack of churches’ ruins, homes and the Cathedral. August 2013.

Ani, Turkey. Ani is the ancient capital of the Armenian empire, situated at the closed border between Armenia and Turkey. Nowadays Ani is a stack of churches’ ruins, homes and the Cathedral. August 2013.

During a four-year journey throughout the Middle East – one that placed photographer Linda Dorigo and journalist Andrea Milluzzi on the trail of Christian minorities in countries where Christianity originated and took root – the two reporters, often against their will, adopted what might be considered a theatrical disguise: they were welcomed as academic researchers in Iran, confused for a newlywed couple in Syria, and even referred to as a priest and nun in Gaza.This speaks for only a fraction of the adventures that marked their extensive “pilgrimage” on the trail of secluded Christian minorities, as the reporters sought them out in the capital cities of Muslim countries such as Damascus, or in remote Assyrian towns like Qaraqosh, Iraq. Their interest in this subject was sparked by a dramatic event – a suicide bomb attack that shocked a Coptic Christian Mass in Alexandria, Egypt, on New Year’s Eve 2011. After the news made headlines, it quickly faded from broader media attention, prompting Dorigo and Milluzzi to start their project.The result is Rifugio – Christians of the Middle East, a black-and-white photobook and journalistic reportage that documents their project chronicling the life of Christian communities in nine countries – Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Milluzzi’s essays and Dorigo’s photographs complement each other seamlessly, grouped into six chapters, describing what they say is the burdensome and often heart-rending plight that these minorities endure. Dorigo’s subtle but eloquent photographs – often blurry, elusive, at time dramatic – capture both joyful moments and oppressions encountered, illustrating a reality suspended between the cultural heritage that these communities embody and their minority nature.“It has been a discovery, a never-ending discovery really, because surely we began our journey with an idea in mind of what we were going to look for,” Dorigo says. “But it is [only] when you travel that you realize that, comparing the reality of each country, that you can’t equate Christians in Egypt with Christians in Iran,” she adds.As they toured the area, their research brought them to some of the most remote places in the region, covering events so extraordinary that they seem part of a different era: In the Old City of Jerusalem, they watched the enactment of the Via Crucis staged by Capuchin monks in the streets of the Christian Quarter. In Rojava, in the Syrian Kurdistan, Dorigo photographed the ruins of the last church in Gharduka, which ISIS jihadists bombed. In Iran’s west Azerbaijan province, they witnessed the annual Armenian pilgrimage to Saint Thaddeus monastery, a custom dating back to 68 AD. On that occasion, the ancient church became their dwelling.Planning their trip, Dorigo and Milluzzi avoided hotels and opted for local lodging. “The more you share, the more you are actually able to go deep in what you’re documenting,” Dorigo says. “We sought the real stories, inside the houses, inside the families.”Some destinations, however, proved difficult to explore. To reach Syria’s far east region from its capital, they bypassed ISIS-controlled territories only by returning to Lebanon, flying to Turkey, taking a bus to Iraq and finally entering Syria’s east border all in the same day. On another occasion, as Iranian authorities were after them, they left the country in a couple of days (but returned after a few months.) They gained access to Christian minorities through religious gatherings, local priests or through the encounters in cosmopolitan Beirut. Surprisingly to them, more than once the Muslims themselves introduced the reporters to their Christian neighbors. “That was a beautiful thing,” Dorigo says, “and it really testifies that a spirit of friendship and brotherhood does exist, despite being often flattened and even obstructed by a series of propagandistic efforts in the name of a religious conflict.

Linda Dorigo is an independent documentary photojournalist and Andrea Milluzzi is a freelance journalist. They are based both in Italy and in the Middle East. Their latest work, Rifugio – Christians of the Middle East, is published by Schilt Publishing.

Paul Moakley, who edited this photo essay, is TIME’s Deputy Director of Photography and Visual Enterprise. Follow him on Twitter @paulmoakley.

Lucia De Stefani is a writer and contributor at TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Follow TIME LightBox on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Source: Meet the Christian Minorities of the Middle East | TIME

this pressed: Périple : à la rencontre des derniers Chrétiens du Moyen-Orient |— L’important (@Limportant_fr) December 11, 2015


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Saint of the Day for Thursday, December 10th, 2015: Pope Saint Gregory III


Make music part of your life: Of the Father’s Love Begotten – traditional a Capella choir


Of the Father’s Love Begotten – traditional a Capella choir

STAND BY ME – John Lennon – Lyrics


STAND BY ME – John Lennon – Lyrics

Imagine – John Lennon (Original video with lyrics in English included)


Imagine – John Lennon (Original video with lyrics in English included)

Don’t Worry | Playing For Change | Song Around the World |playing for change


Don’t Worry | Playing For Change | Song Around the World

this a call to all the communities of the United States to unify and identify with their country: Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around the World


Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around the World

Inauguration of the Jubilee of Mercy -2015.12.08


Inauguration of the Jubilee of Mercy -2015.12.08

this pressed for our future: Christians as “Soft Targets” – The Catholic Thing


Christians as “Soft Targets”

The gun lobby and their sympathizers (and some cartoonists) have recently been bringing public attention to the fact that “gun-free” signs on the entrances of museums, schools, churches, shopping malls, etc. can be an unintended invitation to homicidal maniacs or suicidal nihilists who want to take as many possible souls with them in exiting the world.

Christianity is in a sense a “gun-free” zone. The Christian religion is so devoted to peace that it could incite similar agressive responses in malevolent persons or systems.

There are, of course, violent Christians and Christian leaders. But in all of the New Testament, there is not one sentence that could reasonably incite a Christian to violence or to forced conversions.

Quakers and other Christian pacifists are in part justified for interpreting Christianity as going even further than Buddhism in avoiding all types of violence. They focus on Jesus’ messages to “turn the other cheek” (Mt. 5:39), “go the extra mile” (Mt. 5:41), “forgive seventy times seven times” (Mt. 18:22), “lend without expecting repayment” (Lk. 6:35), “give them your coat also” (Lk. 6:29), and “put away the sword (Mt. 26:52).” Ethicists now would call such rules “supererogatory” – going far beyond the basic requirements of duty and justice.

There is nothing in the New Testament about the basic rights of self-defense. St. Augustine and other theologians thus needed to wrestle with questions about the justification of wars. They came up with the strict criteria of “just war theory,” requiring multiple conditions for declaring wars and multiple restrictions of conduct when engaging in wars.

Just war theory is rational. The New Testament goes beyond, but does not abrogate, the natural law of self-preservation and its corollaries. An individual may go over and above duty in certain cases to “turn the other cheek,” but social and political duties of those in authority may call for use of force to preserve lives and sustenance.

gunfree

There is, however, a special problem for a “soft-target” religion: it could be a proverbial “sitting duck” – not only for unscrupulous cultures and governments, but also for a militant political religious cult. As I mentioned in a previous column, the Islam we are dealing with in the contemporary world harbors no supererogatory exhortations to non-violence. The fact that Islam is constantly referred to as a “religion of peace” is an anomaly, a species of Orwellian “new-speak” – in the same way that murdering the unborn is called a “reproductive right,” institutionalized sodomy is called “marriage,” and sex has been replaced with “gender.”

gunfreeThe stark difference between the concept of martyrdom in Christianity and Islam helps to bring out the dangers for “soft targets.” For Christianity, the martyr deserving of eternal bliss through the vision of God is one willing to suffer and die as a witness for his faith. For Islam, the martyr deserving of an eternal bliss of sensual pleasure is one who is killed while killing “unbelievers” (Quran 9:111) – even unknown crowds of men, women, and children – thus advancing the jihadist movement in the world.

New Testament apocalyptic passages in the Book of Revelation about final battles between the powers of good and evil are hard to interpret, but Christians may be faced with the possibility of a strange “Armageddon.” Instead of (as usually depicted) two massive armies facing each other in a final decisive battle, another scenario in which billions of sincere Christians, the greatest “soft target” ever produced in the world, are abandoned to the devices of billions of Muslims. Indeed, Muslim eschatology involves the destruction and subjugation of all “unbelievers” in a final battle in which the rather far-fetched Muslim version of Jesus (Isa, the son of Maryam, the sister of Moses’ brother, Aaron [Quran 19:27-28]) would come and break all Christian crosses, exterminate pigs as the supply of pork, and grant the laurels of victory to Islam.

But events during the last hundred years make such a lopsided Armageddon scenario less fantastic – millions of Christians massacred in Armenia, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere; a million killed in just the first thirteen years of the 21st century; more martyrdoms than in all previous centuries – not to mention the pillaging and destruction of hundreds of churches in Iraq, Egypt, and Nigeria in the last few years; in formerly tolerant Indonesia, according to a report of the Gatestone Institute, more than 1,000 Christian churches have been shut down, torn down or burned down since 2006. (If you follow only the mainstream media, you may be excused for not knowing about such things.)

At present, with the “Islamic State” (ISIS), we have the advent of a new “caliph,” Caliph Ibrahim (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi). For most Muslims, the caliph, if he manages to survive threats from alternative claimants, is not just a figurehead. His existence could dramatically change the eschatological views of obedient and traditional Muslims. While “defensive” war is always permitted to Muslims, only the Caliph has the authority to order an offensive war of conquest and destruction. This is being done now, with tens of thousands of young Muslims rushing to join ISIS in Syria and other strongholds.

Catholics call themselves the “Church Militant,” but this is just a metaphor, and meant spiritually. The days when a pope could order or bless a crusade are long gone, especially in view of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, which offer fulsome praises of Islam as an “Abrahamic” religion which adores the same God and submits to His hidden decrees. And it goes without saying, that no nation now would be willing to defend the Christians being murdered or exiled by Islamists, since for “enlightened” moderns this would be a “religious war,” repeating pre-Enlightenment mistakes of the past.

The combination of the surrender to modernism in the “developed world” and Christians’ helpless exposure to violence and subjugation in Muslim-dominated regions leads to a possible alternative vision of Armageddon and victory: a final martyrdom of the Church.

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz is emeritus professor of philosophy at Marquette University. His most recent publications include Natural Law: an Introduction and Reexamination (2004), Five Metaphysical Paradoxes (The 2006 Marquette Aquinas Lecture), The Philosophy of Human Nature (2008), and The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (2010).

Source: Christians as “Soft Targets” – The Catholic Thing

this pressed for our future: The Shootings in San Bernardino: Another View | Catholic World Report – Global Church news and views


Police officers conduct a manhunt after the mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 2. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

After almost every shooting involving a Muslim perpetrator, from 9/11 to Fort Hood to San Bernardino, we hear, from the President on down, some version of the following on-going narrative: “We are horrified by this inexplicable, horrendous act. Our hearts go out to the victims. This atrocity again proves the need for more gun laws.” We then have a statement from some Muslim group; its spokesmen, often women, are also horrified. They had nothing to do with it; they knew nothing about it. They are concerned with retaliation. Next we have a solemn admonition from some government official assuring us that the Muslim community is peaceful, that we depend on loyal Muslims. This shooting, it is explained, was the product of a loner or two, usually a citizen of the place where the killings occurred. This insane action requires the attention of psychological health experts; ideology is mostly or entirely ignored.

Then ISIS or Al Qaeda announces that it is responsible for the killings, whether that is actually true or not. We almost always are led to conclude that this event is just another irrational act. As with earthquakes, no real explanation exists. Such things just happen; some human beings are nutty. Since similar acts now happen every other week, if not sooner; we have to be ready for them. We need to call in the FBI, federal agencies, more militarized police, community organizers, religious leaders, and psychiatrists. But the bottom line is that, though all religions are prone to violence, we are told these particular happenings have nothing to do with religion, especially not Islam. They are caused by “terrorism” and “violence”, as if these acts are somehow themselves independent ideological positions with no relation to the organizations that use them to foster their ends.

Is there another conceivable way to look at these events that comes closer to a more plausible explanation? The first step is that these atrocities all have a single ultimate origin. I do not mean some central command post in Syria ordering operatives today to go to Paris, tomorrow to San Bernardino, the next day you name it, though there may be that too.

The ultimate origin is found in the history of Muslim conquests from its beginning in the 7th and 8th centuries and confirmed by many passages in the Qur’an. Muslim scholars know that this jihadist approach is found within the religion. It is not an outside import; it is not an aberration. It may not be the only position found in this rambling book, but it is one that is there. This same force of spirit to convert all to Islam has abided for twelve hundred years. Yet, instead of grudgingly acknowledging it and dealing with it, we deny it exists.

Islam has no central authority. Passages in the Qur’an and its commentaries advocating holy war may be interpreted literally, symbolically, or poetically, but they are there. The reason why this jihadist inspiration always comes back to incite some Muslim believers is because it is found in the sources as the only true interpretation of Islam. ISIS members insist that their religious motives be taken seriously. This earnestness is what motivates them. We insult them, while at the same time playing into their hands, by refusing to understand what they say and, indeed, give witness to with their lives. It is those Muslims who have died killing in western cities–not those who are murdered–who are considered to be, yes, martyrs.

The so-called “Muslim terrorists”, then, do not think of themselves as “Muslim terrorists”. They consider themselves to be the only real followers of Mohammed.

They see themselves as doing exactly what he and his first followers did in the saga of a rapid conquest of much of the African, Arab, and Middle Eastern worlds.

The conquest of Europe would complete the stymied efforts at Tours and Vienna, victories that allowed Europe to remain Europe and not become Muslim much sooner. Moreover, jihadists have a perfectly intelligible explanation for what they are doing and how they are doing it. It is a sophisticated intellectual theory deftly designed to explain exactly why these “terrorist” acts are both legitimate and indeed praiseworthy in the eyes of Allah. The voluntarist metaphysics behind such reasoning is by no meant unfamiliar to western thinkers. And it is this intellectual battle that we are unwilling to or unable to fight.

Briefly, the assigned mission of Islam is to conquer the world for Allah. Submission to Allah is the highest human good. Any means to carry it out is good if it is successful. Carrying out this mission, in this view, is a Muslim’s vocation. With the re-establishment of the caliphate, this mission can now recommence. No other religion or its symbols, including ones more ancient than Islam, are allowed within its conquered territories. The fact that many individual Muslims may not agree with this interpretation is irrelevant. There are millions that do agree. But numbers are not the key factor.

Fear rules both the Muslim and western cultures that oppose the jihadists or are its victims. This fear is kept alive by methods of warfare, shrewdly applied, that utilize modern technology but rely on old and reliable techniques. Muslims fighters learned some time ago that modern weapons are not particularly effective against them. Slitting the throats of ten Christians on international TV is more effective than weapons of mass destruction, which they would also like to possess. We see that trucks and cars are often feared means of their warfare.

Thus, tanks and bombs are not particularly effective against individual and seemingly random attacks on enemy homelands. With local passports and cell phones, small arms, home-made bombs, and knives, any large western city can be brought to its knees for several days. It is something of a joke now to think that such things as the Transportation Safety mechanisms we have in airports make much difference.

The downing of a Russian passenger plane may still happen, but attacking schools, buses, trains, churches, or just random individuals anywhere in the world will instantly be on international news with the usual disclaimers. Bringing down passenger planes may be an obsolete means in terms of effectiveness.

As long as we choose (and it is a choice) not to identify the problem the more it is successful and the more it will grow. That growth may indeed be the reason it is not identified. The deeper problem lies in the truth of Islam’s mission to conquer the world for Allah. If it is true, that is, if the Qur’an is a revelation of God, then it will eventually win. Even if it is not true or from God, as I do not think that it is, even in Christian apocalyptic terms, it may well win. If our view of the world is cast in terms of relativism, of diversity theory, of pacifism, we really have no clue about that is happening. One cannot but admire the logic and abiding persistence within Islam to continue its centuries-long, Allah-given mission to conquer the world.

One can speculate about why we cannot locate the problem, and therefore not face its real attraction for its millions of followers within Islam. In no actual Muslim country is there any real freedom of religion. Whenever and wherever possible, all or part of Muslim law is established as civil law. Many Muslim countries are “peaceful” only in the sense that their governments, usually military dictatorships, keep down that radicalism that would overthrow them and is overthrowing them in many places. Muslim masses wait to see who is winning. They know even within Islam that they cannot afford to be on the losing side.

The present strategy of ISIS and its followers seems clear enough. The following steps or remarks seem most plausible:

1) Gain control of governments and armies within present Islamic states.

2) Eliminate all Christian, Jewish, and related elements, including their buildings and records, from within existing Muslim states.

3) Place as many Muslims, especially young males, in European countries and other countries as possible.

4) Continue to produce large numbers of children so that demographic and democratic processes will provide increasing majorities on towns, cities, and nations.

5) Make every city and area on earth, from Mumbai to San Bernardino, the object of incidents of terror both on a systematic and random basis, preferably both.

6) Already more than enough followers are found in most western countries that are willing to sacrifice their lives to carry this project out in the coming years.

7) Create an atmosphere that makes it difficult to stem the Muslim conquest.

8) Undermine and convert to your use all police, and military operations left remaining to oppose a final conquest.

Granted the speed of the success, the confusion, and deliberate blindness of its opposition, ISIS and its sympathizers have a reasonable hope of final success at least in Europe and possibly America. Russia, China, and India may take longer. They will ultimately have to be dealt with. All three of these countries already have met Muslim invasions or turmoil. Their own nationalist or religious unity may prove more difficult to counter. They are, when provoked, less likely to stand by confused and relatively helpless.

And one last caveat, from Howard Kainz’ essay “Christians As ‘Soft Targets’”: “The combination of the surrender to modernism in the ‘developed world’ and Christians’ helpless exposure to violence and subjugation in Muslim-dominated regions leads to a possible alternative vision of Armageddon and victory: a final martyrdom of the Church.” The Church has no armies. Who will defend her?

 
About the Author
author image

James V. Schall, S.J.

James V. Schall, S.J. taught political philosophy at Georgetown University for many years until recently retiring. He is the author of numerous books and countless essays on philosophy, theology, education, morality, and other topics. His most recent book is Reasonable Pleasures: The Strange Coherences of Catholicism (Ignatius Press). Visit his site, “Another Sort of Learning”, for more about his writings and work.

Source: The Shootings in San Bernardino: Another View | Catholic World Report – Global Church news and views

Saint of the Day for Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015: St. Bibiana


Image of St. Bibiana

St. Bibiana

St. Bibiana, Virgin and Martyr (Feast day – December 2nd) Other than the name, nothing is known for certain about this saint. However, we have the following account from a later tradition. In the … continue readin

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Saint of the Day for Tuesday, December 1st, 2015: St. Eligius


quotation: “…And Love to all men ‘neath the sun!” Rudyard Kipling.


Teach us Delight in simple things,

And Mirth that has no bitter springs;

Forgiveness free of evil done,

And Love to all men ‘neath the sun!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) Discuss

Iconoclasm


Iconoclasm

Veneration of pictures and statues symbolizing sacred figures and biblical events was an early feature of Christian worship. Iconoclasts were opposed to the use of such religious images and destroyed them, claiming that they violated the second commandment not to make or worship “graven images.” An iconoclastic movement developed during the Byzantine Empire, and it was characterized by fierce persecution of those who made and venerated icons. What are a few modern examples of iconoclasm? More… Discuss

Ce- ti doresc eu tie dulce Romanie- Veta Biris


Ce- ti doresc eu tie dulce Romanie- Veta Biris

word: hireling


hireling

Definition: (noun) One who works solely for compensation, especially a person willing to perform for a fee tasks considered menial or offensive.
Synonyms: pensionary
Usage: The hireling said he would be willing to clean out the cesspool—for the right price. Discuss.

Saint of the Day for Monday, November 30th, 201: St. Andrew


Image of St. Andrew

St. Andrew

Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a fisherman. He became a disciple of the great St. John the Baptist, but when John pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Andrew understood … continue reading

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Colindul Sf.Andrei (The song of St.Andrew Apostole)


Colindul Sf.Andrei(The song of St.Andrew Apostole)