24 February 2005

Le Pape a Subi une Opération

pour mieux respirer.
States I've Visited:

create your own personalized map of the USA

I've gone a lot of new places in the last year or so. I've been to Boisie, ID; Seattle, WA; Chicago, IL, and Boston, MA. I had been to all those airports before, but never ventured outside, and this year I did! It was exciting, and all of them except Boston were Schola trips--and they are very fun people to travel with. Oh, and did I mention that week in France?

22 February 2005

A CD Review--Anonymous 4

Today, I bought my first Anonymous 4 CD. It seems like I ought to mark the date on my calendar or something, so that I can celebrate the anniversary every year. Yes, it's that good. It was $20 at Barnes&Noble, but it was well worth it, and I can't believe I waited so long to finally buy one of their numerous (18!) recordings. These women have been singing together for 18 years, performing mostly medieval chant and polyphony, with occasional forays into renaissance, 18th and 19th-century American, and British Isles folk music.

The recording I now proudly own is "An English Ladymass." As the title implies, it contains 13th and 14th-century chant and polyphony in honor of the Blessed Mother, all from English manuscripts. The liner notes point out the difficulty of creating an edition of this music, because "there exists now not even one substantial intact manuscript source from which to work." Some reconstructions were necessary, but they are beautifully done. The four voices blend in near-perfect unity, never harsh, even when rendering startling dissonance. The sometimes virtuostic ornamentation in the soprano line is always delicate and precise. Their tone is very pure and innocent, free from any muddling vibrato, cloying sweetness, or the annoying harshness of some other medieval groups. The entire recording gives a great impression of space, light, and warmth, which seems to be how this music ought to be sung. Medieval (and renaissance) sacred music ought to be given the space of a medieval cathedral, the light of a hundred stained glass windows, and the warmth of devotion to God and the use of the gifts He gave us; Anonymous 4 does this music justice.

On our best days, a quartet of women from our schola might approach this kind of greatness on a single piece of music, but never so apparently consistently, and with such an enormous repertoire. There are 21 tracks, some of which are Gregorian chant, others are harmonized chant, and others are more orignial compositions. All are in Latin except Edi beo thu hevene quene, which is Middle English. Anonymous 4 CD's are rather expensive, but well worth it, and I can't wait to obtain more.

21 February 2005

The Funniest Lord of the Rings Parody....

I never really liked Boromir very much, and now I know why.

19 February 2005

I'm back from my visit to Ireland and Scotland, including Glendalough, the castle where Mary Queen of Scots was crowned, the chapel of the Knights of the Order of the Thistle, and Rosslyn Chapel. Paris seems very grey in comparison with the Emerald Isle, but I'm glad to be back. Once I get my travel notebooks organized, I'll write more.

07 February 2005

Photos of Seminarians in Rome

Just take a look at these handsome fellows. The one in the back row center, right under the crucifix, is a friend of Lizzy's and mine. These young gentlemen were just instituted to the office of lector. Your prayers for them, especially our friend, would be much appreciated.

More pictures from the Institution of Lectors can be found here.

01 February 2005

The World's Shortest Summary of The Magic Flute and The Barber of Seville

"Bartolo and Monostatos were the stinky soprano stalkers."
A Spiffy (and Catholic) Personality Test

Via Meredith at Basia me, Catholica sum.

You are a "lymphatic" or "pituitous" Phlegmatic, with an abundance of phlegm. Phlegmatics are characterized by the element of Water, the season of Winter, old-aged adulthood, the color green, and the characteristics of "Cold" and "Wet." If you were living in the Age of Faith, the career choice for you would be a copier of manuscripts or a night watchman.

I'm not entirely sure I agree with the assessment. It's correct up to a certain point; I am introverted, I am reserved in unfamiliar situations, I am slothful, but unlikely to give up a project once I've started it, and have been told that I exhibit some constancy of mood (though I often doubt this). However, I am not overly cautious in minor matters, and I certainly am interested in things external to myself--though usually as an observer.

The section on the training of phlegmatic children interests me particularly because it bears no resemblence to my own experience. It claims such children lack internal motives, which I never did, and that things have to be explained to them multiple times, which was only true of me if the explanation happened to have interupted me in the midst of a daydream or reading a story. As long as you got me when my mind wasn't in a fantasy world, I didn't have to be told twice. (This still holds true. Don't try to talk to me when I'm reading. I may nod and make an affirmative noise, but I didn't actually hear you.)

The description of the education of the melancholic child, however, seems to fit my experience very well. I was very timid and shy, sensitive, and too easily discouraged. I only wanted to do work for classes which had teachers that I liked, and invariably, the teachers that I liked were ones who paid me special attention and were kind to me. When punished by teachers I was not fond of, I almost invariably talked back (and got myself in further trouble, of course). I still do that, occasionally, but I am more even-tempered now and less likely to want to anger those in authority over me. Perhaps my temperment has changed. Is is possible that the melancholic child has become a more phlegmatic adult?

Other possible outcomes: Sanguine, Choleric
What's your medieval personality type?