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I have been listening in the car, over the last couple of days, to Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. And I think it is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. (And the best version I have found is by New Trinity Baroque, downloadable here (MP3, 5MB). Not th eonly one, by any shot, but high up there in an exalted list.

It is Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's (1710-1736) setting of a Latin poem, but uses only three lines:
Stabat mater, dolorosa
iuxta crucem, lacrimosa
dum pendebat filius
which translates as
The mother stood, in grief,
Beside a cross, weeping,
where hung her son.

This doesn't tell a story: it shows an image, a lightning flash illuminating one moment. It's like a haiku: a flash around which the rest of the story must be inferred, and is felt more strongly therefore.

And all the more poignantly, while the image is about Christ, it isn't about Christ: it is about Jesus' mother, and describing her feelings, watching he son dying slowly and horribly, and unable to do anything about it. Unable to comfort him, or make it better. Unable to leave. This isn't about the Passion, this is about a mother's love and grief.

And it is superlatively powerful for it, not needing any hint of Christian piety for it to touch you. It comes close to being universal.

And the music plays all this off perfectly. Two voices play around each other (canonically soprano and alto, but it seems to be common to use sop. and countertenor, as in the NTB version I've linked to), closely and loosely, trading off the first two lines back and forth in various permutations, but always coming together for ‘filius’. I don't have the technical knowledge of what Pergolesi was doing, but I do know that it works perfectly. Only having one voice would not give the opportunity for interplay, more voices would be too much. (I wonder what it would sound like with a baritone or bass voice... although I can see why Pergolesi didn't: it simply doesn't need one.) It is a small, intimate piece, perfectly suiting the depiction of one intensely private moment.

But I'm just going on and on, as I tend to do with any subject which interests me.
I just needed to say something about this, and share it with others, in the hope that you would get as much from it as I have.


Aug. 4th, 2006 05:11 pm
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The Good

There was a second-hand CD stall in the Union today. I now own a copy of KLF's The White Room.
This is what The KLF is about
Also known as The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu,
Furthermore known as The Jams...

The only (to my knowledge) Discordian Dance outfit. w00t!1

The Bad

Two links about what (non-Lebanese) arabs think of Israel's 'justified retaliation'.

Riverbend doesn't like it, and for some reason, she sees it in a wider context.

Meanwhile, in Jordan, another educated Muslim woman quotes one who cogitates on 'Media Bias'. They come up with different conclusions than Erudito (amongst others) has.

The Ugly

You may have seen this post of mine, and assorted bits of verbiage, especially in comments to [ profile] erudito. I don't think I have been writing too well for the last week. From trying to read what I've written afterwards, I've found it disjointed, complex and verbose, while not actually expressing well what I've been trying to say. At times I've been so confused, not only by what I myself have written, but also by the misunderstandings others have made of my point (whether justified or egregious) that I have found myself arguing for (or against) propositions while wondering why the hell I was doing so.

In my defence, I have been busy, and more than usually non-linear this week past. And part of it can, I think, also be attributed to a mild case of mania. I had noticed that while thoughts were coming thick and fast, they weren't always staying around until I had finished the sentence.

Hopefully I've calmed down now, and even more hopefully it doesn't indicate any foreshadowings of a canine visit. Mania means that you do more, but not that you achieve more, it seems.

Hail Eris

May. 19th, 2006 02:27 pm
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I've just got my hands on Tool's latest album, 10,000 days. Where Lateralus had FAAIP DE OAID, which is Enochian for 'Voice of God', one track title on this album leaped out at me:

Viginti Tres.

All hail Discordia, baby.

(Although 'Rosetta Stoned' has promise also. I have yet to listen to any of it. I expect to Squee muchly, but that's just because I'm a Tool fanboi.)

MORE: I've just looked through the stereoscope pictures. For most people, the pictures will be weird. For me, well...

They had Golden Dawn tarot decks strewn about. G∴D∴ images of the Tree of Life on the walls. Magickal parephenalia. Images which describe, if you know what you're looking at, in intimate detail the workings and practice of High Ritual Magick.

Hmmm... shiny. These guys are magickians, and they know what they're talking about.

For the record, I have visited the town where Maynard lives: Sedona, AZ. It's a beautiful place, halfway between the snow and forests of Flagstaff, and the heat and desert of The Rest Of Arizona -- it's a borderland. It's a bit touristy, but it's New Age Touristy. And its other claim to fame is that it is where arguably the greatest student of Aleister Crowley -- Israel Regardie -- lived the last years of his life. Not that I've made any study of any of this.


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