Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If The Nobel Literature Prize Committee Feels That Way About American Literature, We Wonder How They Feel About American Opera And Classical Music?

U.S. writers are ''too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture, ... too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature'' ...

-- Swedish Academy Nobel Literature Prize Permanent Secretary Horace Engdahl

Associated Press "Nobel literature head: US too insular to compete" New York Times September 30, 2008

(The Nobel Prize for Literature is worth about $1.3 million.)


Tuesday, September 30, 2008 11:06 AM

Pan Cogito,

Be notified by the Chiesa Cattolica Italiana that you have been chosen as one of only 100 people worldwide this year to receive a grant of $650,000. To collect your donation, please contact and quote your qualification numbers to our secretary for security reasons.

Qualification numbers (N XXX,XXXX, E XX XXX) quote in all discussions.

Executive Secretary - Sister Abrielle Gallo

The artist Julian Schnabel with Plácido Domingo, the tenor, at Mr. Schnabel’s studio.

Photo credit: (c) Richard Perry/The New York Times. 2008. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Aesthetic Education vs. Religious, Moral, And Aesthetic Education

Tobias and the Angel [Raphael](above)
Filippino Lippi, 1475-1480
Oil and tempera on panel
32.7 × 23.5 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States of America

Three Archangels and Young Tobias (below)
[Michael on the left, Raphael in the centre, and Gabriel on the right]
Filippino Lippi, 1485
Oil on panel
100 × 127 cm
Galleria Sabauda, Turin, Italy, European Union

Image credits: Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Classical Conductor Christoph Eschenbach Issues Personal Mission Statement For National Symphony Orchestra

"It will be my mission to bring this great orchestra, in a great city, in a great country, to greater prominence around the world."

Classical Conductor Christoph Eschenbach, September 26, 2008

Photo credit: (c) www.thedctraveler.com. Copyright controlled. With thanks.

Again Looking Back And Looking Forward, John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts Hires Christoph Eschenbach As Its First Music Director


And some brief research:

Christoph Eschenbach Launches Orchestre de Paris's 2008-09 Concert Season

"On September 18th and 20th, 2008, Christoph Eschenbach conducted the first concerts of the Orchestre de Paris's new season. The program featured Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with soloists Christine Schäfer, Annette Jahns, Paul Groves and Robert Holl. Highlights of the 2008-09 concert season will include performances of works by Gustav Mahler: the symphonies nos. 4, 5 and 9 and the song cycles Des Knaben Wunderhorn (featuring Matthias Goerne), Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Thomas Hampson) and Kindertotenlieder (Nathalie Stutzmann)."

Also, Zemlinsky's Lyrische Symphonie, Messiaen's Les Offrandes oubliees, and Pintsher's Herodiade-Fragmente in September 2008 alone, in Paris.

Christoph Eschenbach's biography and a photo album.


Kennedy Center September 29, 2008 Press Release of the Announcement

Anne Midgette "Christoph Eschenbach to Lead National Symphony" Washington Post September 26, 2008. Front page, A1.

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Marc Fisher "NSO's New Leader: Daring Improviser or Musical Anarchist?" Washington Post September 26, 2008.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment: More On Architecture And Classical Music Composers, Performers, and Theorists

[Click on the images for enlargements.]

Think about the complex ways that architecture can influence classical music composers, performers, theorists, and listeners.

For example, which classical musician(s) might you associate with the picture above, and which classical musician(s) might you associate with the picture below.

Can you identify these two famous Western architectural masterpieces? (The first is from the second half of the 19th c. and the second is from the mid-twentieth century. Both are in Europe.)


Photo credits: Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.




Paul Griffiths "SPRING MUSIC/CARNEGIE HALL; Embracing the Contemporary" March 5, 2000

Do you know which famous Western music theorist students at the Curtis Institute of Music, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are required to study?

Can you identify any of the designs of cars or flags in the images?

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Renaissance-Less Democratic Capitalism In America

"In the past week, Warren E. Buffett put up nearly $10 billion to acquire Constellation Energy Group and a stake in Goldman Sachs. Japan's largest bank company has agreed to invest billions of dollars in Morgan Stanley. Private-equity firms, meanwhile, are lining up funds so they can pounce on assets that are priced to move quickly.

The renewed dealmaking suggests that a few big investors are ready to brave the markets again.

"When history is written [sic], this could be seen as the turning point," said David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, a Washington private-equity firm with $40 billion in cash that it would like to put to work." ...

Heather Landy and Thomas Heath "Fresh Signs of Recovery Or Just Opportunism?" Washington Post September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Updates: John McCain Seeks to Delay Presidential Debate Citing Economic Crisis; McCain Trailing By 9 Points In Latest Washington Post-ABC Poll

The McCain campaign said that it was seeking to delay Friday’s first presidential debate because of the economic crisis.

Associated Press "McCain Seeks to Delay Debate" New York Times September 24, 2008


"The Obama campaign said that the two candidates had spoken by phone this morning about releasing a joint statement on principles to govern the financial sector bailout, but that it had no plans to suspend campaigning."

"At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement. "At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama's call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details."

Michael D. Shear and Robert Barnes "McCain Suspending Campaign, Asks for Debate Delay" Washington Post September 24, 2008

American workers attempting to unclog U.S. credit system and sustain American economic and moral leadership in the world.

Photo credit: (c) livingindryden.org. With thanks.


Photo credit: (c) Associated Press. With thanks.

Some Look Back In Anger And Some Look Forward In Joy: Leading U.S. Forecaster, Global Insight, Sees Deeper U.S. Economic Contraction Beginning Now

"We see consumer spending as worse than "sluggish," actually declining in the third and fourth quarters. And we expect GDP growth not only to be appreciably below potential, but negative in the fourth quarter and in the first quarter of 2009 [in the United States]."

Nigel Gault Global Insight Perspectives September 24, 2008


NEW RELEASE: American composer Richard Toensing creates a vibrant musical synthesis of East and West with new settings of ancient Orthodox Christmas texts.

Indebted to Slavic traditions, his virtuosic Choral Concerto for unaccompanied double choir and multiple soloists uses the dramatic words of St. Romanos the Melodist (6th c.) to recount the mystery of Jesus’ birth. Toensing’s more intimate New Orthodox Carols for the Nativity of Christ alternate between exuberant celebration and joyful contemplation as they bridge the gap between Byzantine and American hymnody.

Cappella Romana


Photo credits: (c) Nikki Kahn and the Washington Post and the Cappella Romana web-site, Portland, Oregon. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Change That We Can Believe In?

Who am I?

Photos and image credits: (c) M. Denance, IX and Academie-des-Beaux-Arts, France; Tom Griffith, and K-HS and sigtronics.org. Copyright controlled. With thanks.



'Renaissance Research' And The 'Socialization' Of Civilizational Gains And Man In Nature ... Enough Said ?

Nicolai Ouroussoff "Architectural Review: A Building That Blooms and Grows, Balancing Nature and Civilization" New York Times September 23, 2008


California Academy of Science Reopening September 27, 2008

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Also on Golden Gate Park's Music Concourse

National Public Lands Day: Saturday, September 27, 2008 San Francisco Golden Gate Parks


Photo credits: (c) Tim Griffith for the New York Times. 2008. Copyright controlled. With thanks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rebuilding Civilization In America: "Don't Socialize The [Financial] Losses, Without Socializing The [Civilizational] Gains

"Don't socialize the losses without socializing the gains."

"An Emerging [Economic] Consensus Against the Paulson Plan: Washington Should Force Bank Capital Up, Not Just Socialize the Bad Debt," Dr. Jeffrey Frankel, James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, September 22, 2008.


"The expected legislation from Congress is likely to include quid pro quos from financial institutions that sell distressed assets to provide more assistance in general to homeowners to restructure mortgages to make them more affordable. In addition, we would expect provisions to ensure that there is thorough and independent oversight of the operations of the new agency, with periodic reports to Congress, and stipulations over operations to ensure full arm's length transactions. There may also be provisions in the legislation whereby the federal agency may in certain cases receive rights to equity ownership in the financial institutions that sell distressed assets, as well as limits on executive compensation for the financial institutions that benefit.

Congress is weighing in heavily on the proposal, as it should, and its legitimate concerns need to be addressed. While we do not see these concerns as insurmountable, they will require some careful crafting of the enabling legislation that may delay it for perhaps a week or so. Ultimately, a more refined and comprehensive package is expected to be drafted and moved expeditiously forward through Congress, with passage expected within weeks."

Global Insight, Perspectives, September 23, 2008

Photo credit: (c) Jim Higgens "The Jefferson Building, The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C." Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress. With thanks.

Music Matters: One Month To Library Of Congress's Olivier Messiaen Centennial Aniversary Celebration

Saturday, October 25, 6:15 p.m.
Library of Congress
(Whittall Pavilion)

Peter Hill, University of Sheffield,
co-author of the definitive Messiaen biography, and
editor of The Messiaen Companion

Pre-concert presentation:
“Messiaen in war and peace: from ‘Vingt regards...’ to ‘Harawi’ and the Tristan trilogy”


Saturday, October 25, 8 p.m.
Library of Congress
(Coolidge Auditorium)

Christopher Taylor, pianist

Olivier Messiaen
Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus


Friday, October 31, 7:00 p.m.
Library of Congress
(Pickford Theater)

Film + Reading

Messiaen documentary by Paul Festa:
Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006)

Reading from Paul Festa book OH MY GOD:
Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever


Saturday, November 1, 6:15 p.m.
Library of Congress
(Coolidge Auditorium)

Presented by violinist and filmmaker Paul Festa,
with pianist Jerome Lowenthal

Pre-concert Performance

Performance of all three Messiaen works for violin and piano - the Washington DC premiere of the Fantaisie (just published last year), the Theme and Variations, and the Louange a l'Immortalite de Jesus from the Quartet for the End of Time.



Saturday, November 1, 8 p.m.
Library of Congress (Coolidge Auditorium)

Tony Arnold, soprano
Jacob Greenberg, piano

Songs of Love and Death including
Olivier Messiaen’s Harawi song cycle

Life and Learning on Earth in the People's Republic of China and Cambodia, today.

[Click on images for enlargements.]

Photo credits: (c) Peking University Chongzuo Biodiversity Research Institute and Basil Childers and the New York Times. 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Financial Globalization [FG], Poverty, And 'Hope' Update

In 2006, the former five, no longer existing, U.S. Wall Street investment banks handed out year-end bonuses to their 'globalized' [though unsustainable] workforces equivalent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Vietnam has two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Halong Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and six World Biosphere Reserves including: Can Gio Mangrove Forest, Cat Tien, Cat Ba, Kien Giang, Red River Delta, Western Nghe An.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.


World Bank PovertyNet.

A Plan To Combat Poverty In The United States


Drum From Song Da Vietnam. Dong Son II Culture. Mid 1st Millenium BCE. Bronze.

Image credit: Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) ... Hmmm ... How About Some Troubled Poor, Middle-Class, And Artist Relief Programs?

Happy Autumn to my faithful readership. May you have health, success, and happiness as the days grow shorter and colder for the next 91 days.


"After graduating from high school in Korea, Miran Ahn came to the US and received her BA from Florida State University and her MFA degree from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her paintings are in the collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Oakland Museum, and the Triton Museum of Art."

Image credit: (c) Miran Ahn 1999. All rights reserved. Via Stanford Arts Spaces, Stanford, California.


Plan to Reform the Greed and Excesses of Washington

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In Re: Minimalism And Post-Minimalism Matters: Live From The Netherlands, European Union... First Satyagraha, Now Doctor Atomic

'Non-objective painting, too, can suggest a continuum, albeit an artificial one. Those canvases of the action school that are filled with visual events -- and those that seem particularly empty of them -- alike suggest that the kind of thing we see within the frame is also going on beyond its bounaries, and that the edge delimits a cross-section of an indefinitely extending continuum. Many of these works, including some of the most celebrated, seem to be apprehensible only in this way. Thus some of Jackson Pollock's late paintings seem to be surfaces rather than works of art. ... I have suggested that "totally determined" serial music gives the effect of being a segment of an indefinitely extensible twelve-tone continuum. Similarly, "non-determined" music, whether the sequence of events is left up to the performer or to pure chance, may imply a continuum that often seems to combine the purely musical with the quasi-dramatic. The two determinisms of formula and fortune lead to the same result: the arbitrary way in which such products begin and end and the fortuitous nature of their inner connections ensure that they can at best be experienced only as surfaces" ...

Edward T. Cone "On Two Modes of Esthetic Perception" in Musical Form and Musical Performance 1968 p. 97

Image credits: Courtesy Opus Arte. Copyright controlled.


Coming soon from Britain to DVD (I hope): Sir Harrison Birtwistle and David Harsent's 'The Minotaur' Royal Opera House

Aide Memoire: 450 Million Indians Living Below World Bank Poverty Line; 5 Million Cambodians Living Below World Bank Poverty Line

At the nonprofit restaurant Friends, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, lunch is served by former street children. Despite the nation's galloping economy, about a third of Cambodians still live on less than a dollar a day.

Photo and caption credit: Basil Childers and The New York Times



American Friends Service Committee

Cambodian Children's Fund

World Bank

Pan Cogito Plans To Stay Up Late Tonight To Keep Score

Thank goodness we have Maryland Public Television and Howard University Public Television as alternatives to Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

10:00 PM Keeping Score :
Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
Michael Tilson Thomas tells the story behind The Rite of Spring, with the San Francisco Symphony.

11:00 PM Keeping Score :
Beethoven's Eroica
Michael Tilson Thomas & the San Francisco Symphony explore Beethoven's third Symphony, Eroica.

late night
12:00 AM BBC World News

Big Science in America ...

[Click on image for enlargement.]

The Minneapolis inter-state highway reopens today one year after public infrastructure melt-down in America.

Contrary to what John McCain and Sarah Palin think, public culture and public television, in America, can be bridges to somewhere.

Photo credit: (c) Dawn Villella and Associated Press. 2008. With thanks.

Resolution Trust Corporation [RTC], Financial Globalization [FG] And People's Republic Of China [中华人民共和国] To The Rescue Of Wall Street?

"Morgan Stanley is in talks to sell a stake of up to 49 per cent to China Investment Corp, the state-owned investment fund, as part of the Wall Street firm’s efforts to ensure its survival and reverse a slump in investor confidence.

People close to the discussions said the investment bank was exploring the stake sale to CIC as an alternative to a merger with Wachovia, the troubled US lender that approached Morgan Stanley on Wednesday." ...

Francesco Guerrera and Henny Sender "Morgan Stanley in talks with CIC" Financial Times September 18, 2008


Dani Rodrik and Arvind Subramanian "Why Did Financial Globalization Disappoint?" March 2008

M. Ayhan Kose & Eswar Prasad & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Shang-Jin Wei, 2006. "Financial Globalization: A Reappraisal," NBER Working Papers 12484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Herzog and de Meuron. Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany, European Union.

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Photo credit: Via Wikimedia Commons. Some rights reserved. 2008.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Economist To The 'Real Economy' Rescue?

Photo credits: (c) Stephan Savoia and Associated Press via Washington Post. 2008. and(c) Dodge and New York Times. 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.


Economists for Peace and Security

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Forty-Two Year Old European Composer Quietly Storming Cultural And Intellectual Bastions Of Paris, the EU, San Francisco, And Berkeley

San Francisco-based composer David Coll (returned from his Paris fellowship) has written to inform me that new European composer Yan Maresz will be a distinguished Regents Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley this term. [ The purpose of the program is to bring to the University distinguished persons whose careers in arts, letters, sciences, or business have been substantially outside the academic profession. Last year brought Argentinian composer Martin Matalon, American new vocal music champion Lucy Shelton, British poet/librettist/filmmaker/theater director Tony Harrison, and Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa to the Berkeley campus for residencies.]

I quickly located critic Joshua Kosman's exciting review from a performance of one of Yan Maresz works a year ago:

"Yan Maresz, a 41-year-old Moroccan-born [sic -- actually Monaco-born, says David C. in comment below] Parisian, was a new name to at least one observer, but his sextet "Entrelacs (Interlacings)" - a vivid, dazzling tour de force written a decade ago - was easily the highlight of Monday's concert at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum [in the new arts and museum district of San Francisco]. Music Director David Milnes conducted a taut and focused performance.

Maresz wastes no time on misty scene-setting or prefatory gestures. "Entrelacs," scored for a mixed ensemble, races out of the starting gate with a breathless unison melody, then begins to splinter off into shivery fragments. In later episodes, the tempo slows down - sometimes almost to stasis - but the dramatic momentum remains compelling throughout.

Part of that is due to Maresz's technique of linking the sections of his 13-minute score by maintaining one element of the music - a distinctive melodic figure, a textural configuration or a rhythmic pattern - while introducing new material around it. The effect is to draw the listener on, Sheherazade-like, through a sequence of stories that are always changing but always connected.

Add to that Maresz's ingenious use of instruments - sometimes playing en masse, sometimes in superbly etched counterpoint - and his buoyant sense of humor, and the result is a work that is both profound and richly entertaining. A brief concluding visit from Charlie Parker, who turns the opening melody into a swift bebop riff, only serves to seal the deal.

Among the evening's four offerings by Swedish composers, the closest in spirit and effect was another sextet, this one by Tommy Zwedberg.

"Enso," a 1993 score receiving its U.S. premiere, boasts a similar constellation of hard-edged rhythms and distinctive colors; an alto saxophone emerges midway through as a pace-setter, giving the work a jazzy flavor. But the tone is more provocative and certainly more enigmatic - particularly in the abrupt ending, where the composer suddenly stands up and says, "Oops, gotta go."

For pure comic relief, the program offered the U.S. premiere of Anders Hillborg's "Truffle Hymn," a brief quartet depicting a porcine truffle hunt." ...

Joshua Kosman "Review: Parisian Yan Maresz steals show meant to highlight Swedes" San Francisco Chronicle November 21, 2007


Paging Roland Celette, Cultural Attaché, Director of La Maison Française, Washington, D.C. ...


Photo credits: (c) www.acanthes.com. France, Old-New Europe. With thanks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Eastward The Course Of 'Western Civilization' … The Latest Dance Around The Golden [-Hoofed and Horned] Calf

… “[Damien] Hirst may be gambling with the current sale, but he has concentrated for months on marketing. He invited major collectors like the fashion designer Miuccia Prada, the Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk and Christie’s owner, François Pinault to his Gloucestershire studios for a private preview of the auction.

The art for sale will be variations on familiar themes. There will be dead animals galore: black sheep and tiger sharks, a dove, a zebra. There will also be glass cabinets filled with everything from diamonds to cigarette butts. Paintings and works on paper decorated with his signature skulls and dots, swirls and butterflies are available in all sizes, including a 14-foot-long triptych to a 6-foot-square painting. As part of his sales pitch Mr. Hirst said that he would no longer be making spin or butterfly paintings and that there would be far fewer dead animals and almost no dot paintings.

Estimates range from a high of $15.8 million to $23.6 million for “The Golden Calf” — a white bullock preserved in formaldehyde, whose hoofs and horns are made of 18-carat gold and who has a gold disc crowning his head — to about $60,000 for a colored-pencil drawing of dots.” …

Carol Vogel “Damien Hirst’s Next Sensation: Thinking Outside the Dealer” New York Times September 14, 2008

Damien Hirst, as exhibited last autumn, at the Pinchuk Art Center, Kyiv, Ukraine [future European Union, if not future NATO].

Photo credit: (c) Pinchuk Art Center, Kyiv, Ukraine. With thanks.


"Hirst explores the uncertainty at the core of human experience; love, life, death, loyalty and betrayal through unexpected and unconventional media. Best known for the ‘Natural History’ works, which present animals in vitrines suspended in formaldehyde such as the iconic The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991) and Mother and Child Divided (1993), his works recast fundamental questions concerning the meaning of life and the fragility of biological existence."

Source: White Cube, London, U.K.


'Renaissance art' which hits closer to home.

Ms. Palin has indicated that she is fully prepared, and qualified, to "shake-up" Wall Street and the American financial and economic system...

Image credit: (c) Fred Sebastian via New York Times. 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.

On The Decline And (Near) Fall Of Western Civilization ... Debbie Does Dallas And Jeff Koons Does Versailles, France, European Union

Photo credit: (c) Ed Alcock and the New York Times. 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.


The Great Bronze Door, 2000
For The Cathedral of Our Lady
of the Angels
, Los Angeles, California
Artist: Robert Graham
Dimensions: 30'x 30' divided
into five sections.
Estimated weight five tons

Since 1977, Berkeley, California's Artworks Foundry has offered complete bronze casting and fabrication, from miniature to monumental.

Image credit: (c) Robert Graham via Artworks Foundry Web-site. 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.


"Church doors symbolize a bridge over which we may travel back and forth across the ages on our journey of faith. The great Bronze Doors, situated on the southeast side of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, were designed by the Mexican born, Los Angeles sculptor, Robert Graham. Nearly five years in the making, they were built by some 150 artists.

Graham divided the 30' X 30' space for the South Doors into five, geometrically balanced shapes. First he apportioned the height and width into thirds, and took the top third as the tympanum (ornamental space). The remaining two-third was divided again into thirds, forming the two large, L-shaped doors surrounding two inner doors. He created a door within a door, with four separate parts that operate in various configurations as they open and close.

Though most great doors into cathedrals are full of images of holy men and women and biblical stories from the Old and New Testaments, Graham's doors are different than any Christian worship space in the world. Graham considers that these other doors were "history books and storytelling books," in an age before printing or before general literacy. The need for this depiction is no longer necessary. Rather, he preferred to create images that are "culturally recognizable."

Beginning at the bottom of the inner doors, Graham has sculpted in relief a grapevine, symbolizing the Church. Folded in the grapevine are 40 ancient symbols that represent pre-Christian images from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. The images include the eagle, griffin, goose, Southwest Indian Flying Serpent, bee, hand, ostrich, dove, Chinese turtle, Samoan kava bowl, the Native American Chumash man, the dolphin, the Tree of Jesse, Tai Chi, and many others. The number 40 is a mystical number in Scripture from 40 years of the Israelites wandering in the desert, Jesus' 40 days in the desert, and His ascension 40 days after Easter, among others.

Numerology played an important part in the design of the doors in abstract connotations. He considers the most important being 3 for the Trinity in the triangle shape and 4 for the Gospels, and their combination equaling 7, also an important number in Scripture.

Progressing above the ancient part of the doors are different visions of the Virgin from images that are European in origin, but have been filtered through the indigenous cultures that the Europeans brought to Christianize the New World. They include such images as the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Pietá, the Mater Dolorosa, the Virgin of Pomata, Virgin of the Rosary of Chichinquira, Divine Shepherdess, Virgin of the Cave, Virgin of the Candlestick, Virgin of Mercy, and others.

The immense outer doors, each in the shape of an inverted L, are hollow, narrowing from a yard wide at the far left and right to just inches wide in the middle. Although they weigh 25 tons, they open easily, rotating on steel posts with a sophisticated hydraulic system. The powerful motor can open either the solid inner doors or the hollow outer doors or, for maximum effect, the two pairs of doors in majestic sequence.

The doors each are scored with seven diagonal lines, perhaps suggesting the seven cardinal virtues or the seven sacraments. The lines also form various triangles evoking the Holy Trinity and leading directly to the Our Lady of the Angels' statue above.

The ornamental space above the pair of bronze doors contains the 8 foot image of Our Lady of the Angels. The modern figure is presented as a woman "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet" (Revelations 12:1). The halo shaft above her head shines God's light on her as the sun travels from east to west.

Mary does not wear the traditional veil. Her arms are bare, outstretched to welcome all. Her carriage is confident, and her hands are strong, the hands of a working woman. From the side can be seen a thick braid of hair down her back that summons thoughts of Native American or Latina women. Other characteristics, such as her eyes, lips and nose convey Asian, African and Caucasian features. Without the conventional regal trappings of jewels, crown or layers of clothing, she has a dignity that shines from within.

Originally, two bronzed angels were to be placed one on each side of Our Lady of the Angels. However, the first Spanish name for Los Angeles was El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora, Reina de los Angeles. Mary is Queen of Los Angeles, so the people in her city are her angels.

(Left Inner Door, left to right)

1. Virgin of Pomata -- This image from the Andes village comes from the late-colonial School of Cuzco. Mary wears a feathered Inca headdress and a billowing dress suggestive of Pachamama, the Inca mountain goddess.

2. Apocalyptic Virgin/Immaculate Conception - Inspired by Revelations 12, Mary is depicted with powerful wings crushing the Satanic serpent. The lily symbolizes her purity.

3. Ex Voto to Virgin of Guadalupe - As the text below the image indicates, the child was healed by the mother's prayers to the Virgin of Guadalupe. The mother has left this picture at the Guadalupe shrine as an offering, an ex voto (from the Latin "out of vow"), to thank Mary for her intercession.

4. Divine Shepherdess - Mary is depicted reclining in the field with four sheep to commemorate her appearance to a holy Spanish monk.

5. Virgin of the Candlestick with Virgins of Belén - The large image shows Mary again in a billowing dress from the School of Cuzco. She holds a blanket over her arm and cradles the infant Jesus. The small images are of Mary as she appeared in Belén, Peru.

6. Virgin of the Rosary of Chichinquira - St. Andrew flanks Mary on the right and St. Anthony on the left. St. Anthony , known as "the Christographer" is depicted with an image of Jesus on a book. Robert Graham used his mother's rosary to adorn the image.

7. Virgin of Mercy - The souls in Purgatory are protected by the Virgin's cloak as they beg for her intercession.

(Right Inner Door, left to right)

8. Virgin of Guadalupe - In remembrance of her appearance to Aztec peasant, St. Juan Diego, the image depicts the thornless roses she instructed him to pluck in the cold of winter. Mary stands on the moon, with the sun over her head (Revelations).

9. Virgin of the Cave - In the Spanish Caribbean this image of Mary was miraculously recovered from a cave and could bring about miracles.

10. Virgin of Montserrat -One of the "Black Madonnas" of Europe, Mary holds a black Jesus in this image from Catalonia.

11. Pietá - Depicted often in historic works of art, this is the image of Mary embracing her crucified Son.

12. Chalice with Sheep - The sheep of Christ's flock drink His blood, which spurts from His pierced hand into the chalice, reminding of the Eucharist.

13. Mater Dolorosa, the Sorrowful Mother - At the top of Mary's image are the tools of the Crucifixion.

14. La Mano Todopodereosa, the All-Powerful Hand -Anna, Mary, Jesus, Joseph, Joachim are depicted on the five fingers. Anna and Joachim were Mary's parents.

15. Virgin of Loreto with Litany of Loreto - Mary is depicted with angels. Excerpts from the Litany of Loreto fill in the background, including "Queen of Poland" in honor of Pope John Paul II.

Left Inner Door, beginning first row on left, top to bottom)

1. Goose
2. Southwest Indian Flying Serpent
3. Chumash Man
4. Peacock Barge
5. Griffin
6. Chinese Turtle
7. Ibis
8. Griffin
9. Fish
10. Hand of God
11. Eagle (St. John the Evangelist)
12. Dove
13. Bee
14. Celtic Serpents
15. Stag
16. Croatian Cross
17. Chumash Condor
18. Peacock
19. Falling Man
20. Tree of Jesse

(Right Inner Door, beginning first row, top to bottom)

21. Energy (soul)
22. Lion
23. Water
24. Lamb
25. Hand (listening symbol)
26. Chinese/Japanese Heaven Symbol
27. Pair of Ostriches
28. Rooster
29. Bull (St. Luke the Evangelist)
30. Trefoil (Celtic Trinity)
31. Dog
32. Sicilian Legs (regeneration symbol)
33. Bull
34. Serpent/Dragon
35. I Ching/Ti Chi
36. Samoan Kava Bowl
37. Foot
38. Celtic Monster
39. Raven Eating Man's Liver
40. Dolphin

(c) Copyright controlled text from Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels web-site. 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tristis est anima mea

"During the whole period of the Renaissance, then, the very theme which like none other was fraught with pathos failed to find commensurate expression for reasons other than artistic, yet not for want of masterly minds."

Leo Shrade Tragedy In The Art of Music 1964 [Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard University in 1962-63]

watercolor on paper
22 x 15

Image credit: (c) Joachim Bandau and Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco, United States. 2008. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. With thanks.




[Music at 9/11 noon addendum:

In lieu of one minute of silence, one could listen to Schoenberg’s “Sehr langsam” concluding movement from the Sechs kleine Klavierstuck Opus 19 (perhaps in Allessandro Palazzani’s recent orchestration); or for those willing to listen for a little more than one minute, Webern’s grieving ‘Marcia Funebre’ from his Six Pieces Opus 6.]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Universe's 'Big Bang' Very Tentatively Found To Be 'Rounded With A Sleep'

"Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."

Photo credit: Associated Press.

Science And Arts Update

"International scientists working at an underground complex started up a huge particle-smashing machine on Wednesday aiming to recreate the conditions of the "Big Bang" that created the universe.

Experts say it is the largest scientific experiment in human history and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the biggest and most complex machine ever made.

The test by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), conducted inside the tightly-sealed chamber buried under the Swiss-French border, could unlock many secrets of modern physics and answer questions about the universe and its origins." ...

Reuters "Scientists Send First Beam Round Particle - Smasher" New York Times September 10, 2008


"Ever wanted to see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra prepare for a concert? Now is your chance—and it's free! In association with Free Fall Baltimore, the BSO will present a free open rehearsal on Thursday, October 2 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly will lead the BSO in their last rehearsal before the Orchestra's weekend performances of The Music of Billy Joel. Featured on the program is Tony-nominated vocalist and pianist Michael Cavanaugh, singing Billy Joel chart toppers including "Uptown Girl" and "Piano Man." Cavanaugh most recently starred in Movin' Out, the hit Broadway musical depicting American youth in the 1960s and featuring the music of Billy Joel. Staying true to Joel's rock and pop anthems, a live rock band will also join the BSO for this program." ...

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Free Open Rehearsal as Part of Free Fall Baltimore 2008


Header photos: University of California historic atom smasher; and two images of the Metallica heavy-metal rock band, which has appeared live in concert and recorded public television specials, CDs, and DVDs with the San Francisco Symphony.

Photo credits: University of California; Boston.com; and SFgate.com. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Pan Cogito Reflects That Perhaps He Should Have Studied Urban Folk Music [Rock] In College Rather Than Music History, Theory, Analysis, Score Reading

And the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Life-time Achievement in the Arts winners are:

Morgan Freeman, George Jones, Barbra Streisand, Twyla Tharp, and Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend of The Who!!!

Alexander Calder "Hawk for Peace" 1968 Berkeley, California.

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Photo credit: U.C. Bill and Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.


Mario Joseph Ciampi designed the University of California Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Art Museum in the mid to late 1960s, at the same time that Pietro Belluschi was designing the Juilliard School in New York City, in a similar concrete "brutalist" architectural style.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On 20th And 21st Century Classical Music And Opera: Readers' Listening/Studying Choice

Choose two pieces of 20th or 21st century classical music of similar length and characteristic; preferably works using texts. Listen to the two works very carefully and try to study their texts [and the translations of the texts] and their musical scores while listening. Then write a five page essay comparing your findings, impressions, and feelings about the two works.

For example, compare Pierre Boulez's Pli Selon Pli and Henryck Gorecki's Symphony #3 [Symfonia pieśni żałosnych]-- both of which are about an hour long and feature an orchestra and a soprano soloist singing poetic texts.

[Readers who don't yet respond to classical music with texts can compare two works such as Igor Stravinky's Vesna svjaščennaja and Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Earth Dances.]


A famous composer is reported to have described Pli selon pli as "pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty". Do you know who it was?

A contemporary American critic/composer had similarly unkind words about the popular Gorecki symphony. Do you happen to know who it was?


[Awaiting (better late than never):

The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory (The Cambridge History of Music)

Music Theory and the Exploration of the Past [Paperback] by Christopher Hatch]


Header images: Joan Miro "Red Sun" of 1948; Stephen DeStaebler "Wing-Arm Woman" of 1992; and Magdalena Abakanowicz "Winged Brother" of 2005-06.

Photo credits: (c) Copyright controlled by the artists and image publishers. Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Stephen DeStaebler and Andy Brumer; and Magdalena Abakanowicz and Galerie Patrice Trigano via Artnet.com. All rights reserved. With thanks.


[Answers: Igor Stravinsky and Greg Sandow]

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Beyond And Toward 'Budowalam Barykade' -- The Beginnings Of The Twenty-First Century's Belated Non-Militaristic "Marshall Plan" For Eastern Europe?

... "Georgia's population is 4.6 million, and the first phase of the new [$1 billion total U.S. economic] package would total more than $100 per capita by the end of next fiscal year. In contrast, Ukraine, with a population of 47 million, was slated to receive $83 million in 2008 assistance, or the equivalent of $1.76 per capita. Azerbaijan, with 8 million people, received $26.8 million, or $3.35 per capita." ...

Tara Bahrampour, Karen DeYoung and Howard Schneider "Cheney, in Tbilisi, Slams Russian Actions Against Georgia" Washington Post September 4, 2008


Of poetry reading and song-cycles:

Building the Barricades (Budowalam Barykade), Swirszczynska 'Swir', Anna

0:53 - Against the Machine Guns
0:28 - Brat
0:52 - Building Barricade
1:17 - Conversation with Mothers
0:16 - Last Drop Air
0:20 - Said Major
0:25 - Shooting at Me
0:26 - The Planes
0:30 - Waiting to be Shot

Open Source Audio > Building the Barricades (Budowalam Barykade), Anna Swir

Internet Archive



We were afraid as we built the barricade
under fire.

The tavern-keeper, the jeweler's mistress, the barber,
all of us cowards.
The servant-girl fell to the ground
as she lugged a paving stone, we were terribly afraid
all of us cowards --
the janitor, the market-woman, the pensioner.

The pharmacist fell to the ground
as he dragged the door of a toilet,
we were even more afraid, the smuggler-woman,
the dressmaker, the streetcar driver,
all of us cowards.

A kid from reform school fell
as he dragged a sandbag,
you see we were really

Though no one forced us,
we did build the barricade
under fire.

-- Anna Swir
translated by Magnus J. Krynski
and Robert A. Maguire


I slept under the same blanket with corpses,
apologizing to the corpses
for still being alive.

That was tactless. They forgave me.
That was poor judgment. They were surprised.
after all was so very dangerous then.

-- Anna Swir
translated by Magnus J. Krynski
and Robert A. Maguire

(c) Copyrighted material via Azul Editions. All rights reserved. 2008

Photo credit: Copyright controlled via Azul Editions. With thanks.