Friday, September 28, 2012

I was sort-of daydreaming...

so I don't quite recall how much there is...

but, well, Here is a lovely recording

what struck me most about it is the drums. They can particularly be heard around the final Amen, but there's somewhat more.

Here's another I just can't get out of my head at the moment

I blame Robert Reilly.

Over the summer, I was contemplating an arrangement of things like the following: start with a special square
$$ \begin{array}{ccc}
A & \to & B \\
\downarrow & \ulcorner & \downarrow \\
C & \to & P
There is then some delightful nonsense which guarantees the following special squares
& E & \to & F & \to & *\\
& \downarrow & \lrcorner & \downarrow & \lrcorner & \downarrow \\
& A & \to & B & \to & P \\
E & \to & G & \to & * \\
\downarrow & \lrcorner & \downarrow & \lrcorner & \downarrow \\
A & \to & C & \to & P \\
& & & E & \to & F \\
& & & \downarrow & \ulcorner & \downarrow \\
& & & G & \to & *
That last one is the really-special one, because of where the $*$ sits in it. It makes $E$ rather simpler than it otherwise might have been... But that's a story for another day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A microcosm of true liberty

Dear Carmen,

For your consideration.

It is not often that the music director at our parish asks us to attempt polyphony --- understandably, for it is rather a lot more work for him, and there aren't really that many of us singing for him.

But in consequence it is not often that (and hence it is notable when) I get to enjoy this particular curious experience: when a singer is able to sing his part near-automatically, he can actually hear the whole music around him even as he is singing it. I am convinced that this --- to hear the whole even while attentively making part of it --- is the true purpose of polyphony.1 It is, I would like to say, a microcosm of true liberty.

What I mean by this: what each voice has to do is well-delineated, and it is necessary that each attend to both the governor and the other voices so far as not to overwhelm or misclash with them; yet at the same time, assignment of parts is done with each singer's particular voice in mind, and singers assigned to the same part do not, must not sing identically --- it is usually necessary to breathe at inopportune moments, and so we support eachother, taking turns. Within the stringently prescribed form, there are deeps to navigate and intelligence to be applied. But, when each knows well-enough how he is to sing his part, he isn't trapped within it, but by the whole is lifted above his own line, and... it's hard to find words for it. If folk could live like that, it should have been a happy shire indeed.

Anyways, that's what I did this Sunday between about 10:30 and 1:30.

vox clamantis in urbis

1) This is not to say this is the true purpose of the art of polyphonic music or its performance --- that were God's Glory; but the particular means chosen by polyphony as opposed to plainchant, for instance.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Concerning Hobbits

Dear Ploughman,

Today is (if you have time for it) an excellent day for a party (or dinner, anyways) of special magnificence! I see it noted that tomorrow is "Second Breakfast" day, in honour of LXXV Publication Anniversary of the first installment of The Red Book. Hooray! This year also saw (or... will have seen?) the LVIII Publication Anniversary of the second installment, and together they make... er... CXXXIII, 133, a number nowhere to be known as one grass, of people or otherwise.

Alas that it will be Ember Friday; even more sorrowful, the Baggins' Combined Birthday will be Ember Saturday. Thus I remark with some admiration the Hobbit Custom of not assigning a Week Day to the Overlithe (two of them in leapyears); for by this simple concession to the regularity of Nature in defiance of Numerology, they have assured us that 22nd of September (SR) is always the Thursday (SR) between the Autumnal Ember Wednesday and Friday, because the 14th (SR) is always Wednesday (SR) in the week before. And so the purchase of provisions can quite sensibly fall to nearly nothing on the subsequent two days, and it did not matter much.

Now, to be sure, there are other fascinating emergent rhythms that this custom would tend to mute --- for instance, the cycling among the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries that each fixed feast progresses through. I can't remember whose 'blog wrote something to remark on that, but indeed it is something else to contemplate the Crucifixion on the very feast of the Annunciation (a.k.a. New Year's Day, in Gondor).

In Any Case, 'tis Today the Penultimate Thursday of September, and so Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo!

having never cooked rabbit

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Have you noticed the titles diverging from subject matter?

cat >& /dev/null << eof

It's sad, really. Somehow, I just can't get those films out of my head, to the point that in my latest re-read, I'm constantly interrupting the author to remark "... see, that's another thing they totally didn't get in the movies..."

What am I supposed to do, now? Maybe I'll have to find my copy of Leaf by Niggle, again...


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vultum tuum deprecabuntur omnes divites plebis

On this (Extraordinary Calendar) Feast of The Holy Name of Mary,

\mathrm{XXXVI} & \mbox{Solid ground underfoot}\\
\mathrm{XXXVII} & \href{}{\mbox{Chant and such-like}}\\
\mathrm{XXXVIII} & \mbox{Cream}\\
\mathrm{XXXIX} & \mbox{Work, temporal or }\href{}{\mbox{spiritual}} \\
\mathrm{XL} & \mbox{Roman numerals, as it happens...}

Happy feast day. Try the croissants!

Monday, September 10, 2012

What an odd day!

Dear DNS,

(And others...) For about three hours, I found I couldn't get to the websites of LifeSite News, Crisis Magazine, Dappled Things, Alt-Catholicah (a recent discovery --- some nifty things, there), or Catholic Vote. Perhaps these sites are all (it's beyond my knowledge) hosted in the same rack of some server host, and they had some trouble? They're all apparently back, now --- they even all returned about the same time, but I had an interesting little while musing on why this might happen.

But I don't want to cast asperities around, nor imaginative suspicions, so... folks, be grateful for your internet: it's slightly more fragile than we like to think, sometimes. There was a boast going around suggesting that the thing was designed to "withstand a nuclear holocaust". What a silly idea! The internet might just survive a "nuclear holocaust" in the same sense that the biosphere would --- in patches. There is no more guarantee that your internet service would persist than there is that you would persist to enjoy it.

It's a beautiful night after a beautiful sunset after a beautiful day; there is chocolate, and whipped cream. The strawberries, alas, were a fleeting joy.

a subscriber

Friday, September 7, 2012

I seem to have gone all batty.

Dear Gadfly,

Of course, this is part, or signal, of the problem:

Peoples, please! He's a politician! A successful politician! You think he tells us the truth? You think he thinks he can get elected by telling us the truth?

For she is absolutely right. The strict correctness, from a strategic point of view, that democratic elections anywhere these days demand the winners ... reserve their mind? ... engage in verbal misdirection? ... well, exaggerate and waffle are two current words for it, anyways --- the correctness of this proposition is irrefutable. And what's more is that just about everyone so expects the candidates on offer to speak at variance with their eventual behaviour, that it almost achieves the innocivity of the English "good open lie system" we've all been reading about lately. You have, haven't you?

The main difficulty I can see in this hopeful view of the matter is that people do seem to believe enough of what their candidates suggest. One can tell this by the offense taken and outcry returned when eventual behaviour is other than (even honestly so) that predicted on campaign.1 There are, of course many reasons why a person might predict incorrectly what he means to do for the coming seven years (or whatever). Maybe he forgets. Maybe forceful unforeseen contingencies arise. Maybe he independently changes his mind. Bl. John Henry did, and then had to answer books with books on how he wasn't actually a deceitful scoundrel --- and he wasn't even holding or seeking public office! And, yes, sometimes it's he-really-lied-to-us.

One of the nifty things about a healthy dictatorial monarchy is that, occasionally, it is possible that subordinate officials are appointed on their actual merits; consider St. Thomas More's term as Chancelor of England. I sometimes dream that a similar thing may be possible, and even in a more stable way, in a democratic state, but it would demand something of all citizens. In particular, if a people really wishes for true self government, enough of them must first learn to govern themselves. It's one thing to be your own master; it's quite another to achieve self-mastery. This, more than the love for other-life-than-mine, is what seems to me most lacking, in the republics, in the Commonwealth, anywhere in the West as much as in the East.

For all the laws against frivolous divorce will do no good if folk still make frivolous marriages --- or neglect the forms of solemn marriage altogether. All the laws specifically against the taking of life-in-utero will do no good if folk still hate the ordered progression from love to regeneration. It matters not that those places where the law has already degraded are democracies; their peoples have rebelled against God, why should they not rebel against man?

But let us not close gloomily. The duty of a Christian is what it ever was, and he ought to judge as he ever has judged; nor are good and evil one thing among Christians and another among Saracens and Zulus (though what they know of it may vary). Let we who can and will live upright and noble lives; let those who love and marry live in exemplary fashion --- like B.A. and Seraphic; like John and Sheila and Marko and Michael; I had news recently of a poet friend's engagement, and have nothing but good hopes for that alliance, too. Let those who are single live joyous and upright lives (and sometimes help Save The Storks and such-like) --- I do my meager best, and plenty of others do very well, too.

Let the World see how happy we can be, and perhaps they might believe it, too!


1) Now, if I were a scholar of politics I'd pull out some references to news articles on such-like things, but I'm not such an historian, so you'll just have to rely on your own anecdotal recollections.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Something Capricious

When I was a wee student, my violin master had the senior orchestra of his students try out this suite --- we had only one cellist, Ludovic the Magnificient, who was not a student of this teacher, but you've got to have a cellist, you know? Suzuki teachers are a sociable lot amongst themselves, and it helps. Anyways, I found this by looking for something that isn't Holst's St. Paul's Suite nor Britten's Simple Symphony that I couldn't remember the name nor composer of --- spectral sequences and extraordinary homology theories have turned some of my memory to comparative mush.

Anyways, I know some of you like this sort of thing.

Ahah! It's by Grieg, the thing I first thought of! But this is very good, too. Happy hunting, if you wish!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A short while later

$$ \begin{array}{rl}
\mathrm{XXXI} & \mbox{The quiet of the middle of nowhere}\\
\mathrm{XXXII} & \mbox{Excellent words, like "corruscating" and "edify"}\\
\mathrm{XXXIII} & \mbox{The way a clear sky turns lemony-yellow in a sunset}\\
\mathrm{XXXIV} & \mbox{Clean water}\\
\mathrm{XXXV} & \mbox{Puzzles!}