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In Brief: Damn Musical Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.

  • Polish composer Henryk Górecki, who died on November 12, was sent off in musical style: at his funeral, musical selections included Karol Szymanowski’s setting of the Stabat Mater and Gorecki’s own Amen, performed by two choirs conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki. A solemn procession accompanied the body to its final resting place. Archbishop Damian Zimon said that Górecki's music was "the materialization of the great mystery of existence." [News from Poland]

  • The Florentines have temporarily placed a full-scale fiberglass reproduction of Michelangelo's legendary sculpture of David in the place where it was first intended to be seen, on one of the buttresses of Brunelleschi's duomo of Florence Cathedral. In a plan conceived by art historian Sergio Risaliti, who conceived the installation, part of "Florens 2010: The International Week of Cultural and Environmental Heritage," the David reproduction will appear sequentially in all the places discussed as possible locations for Michelangelo's controversial statue. [Discovery News]

  • Jessa Crispin drew my attention to a startling detail of the conflict between the German and American armies in Florence during World War II. The two sides agreed to spare the city's legendary Ponte Vecchio because it was the location of one of the few encounters between Dante and his beloved Beatrice. According to a book by Robert Johnson, "The bridge was spared, in a modern, ruthless war, because Beatrice had stood upon it." [Bookslut]

  • As rumored a few weeks ago, Virginia Opera has fired Peter Mark after 36 years as the company's founding artistic director. [Washington Post]

  • American grand master Larry Melvyn Evans died on Monday: Lubomir Kavalek has a remembrance, including a notation of Evans's 1954 match against the Russian Mark Taimanov, annotated with Evans's remarks on the match. [Huffington Post]

  • Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, was created a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church yesterday. By tradition, each cardinal is assigned a titular church in Rome, with the expectation that the cardinal will help raise money for the building's upkeep. Cardinal Wuerl's titulus is one of my favorite churches in Rome, San Pietro in Vincoli. As titular of this church, where Michelangelo sculpted the tomb of Julius II (including the famous statue of Moses), Wuerl succeeds the late Cardinal Pio Laghi, the much-beloved apostolic nuncio to the United States. [L'Osservatore Romano]

  • Video of the consistory, where the new cardinals received the hat. [KTO]

  • Matthew Guerrieri offers a great way for organ nerds to procrastinate: a collection of free online recordings of all of J. S. Bach's organ music. [Soho the Dog]

1 comment:

Mark J. said...

The birthplace of Johannes Kepler (Wiel-der-Stadt) was spared from bombardment in WWII by the allies because someone happened to remember it was his birthplace.

Kepler has an interesting connection to music in that his work "The Harmony of the Spheres" looks at the orbits of the planets and assigns them musical intervals based on the ratio between their speeds at the fastest and slowest portions of their orbits. It turns out that the values are very close to regular simple ratios, and by including ratios between different planets produces a complete scale.

Thus the planets are 'singing' polyphony all the time.

Here's a nice article about it:

My favorite part is that the orbits of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (none of which were discovered in Kepler's lifetime) also correspond to harmonic ratios. Ha!