On Tuesday, September 15, the Institute for Catholic Culture will present a lecture about the state of music in the Catholic Church in the U.S. Poet and Dante translator Professor Anthony Esolen (Magdalen College) will speak on “Music and the Corruption of Catholicism.” The event will be live-streamed starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, and registration is required. You can register here.
To get a preview of Esolen’s thinking about what’s appropriate for church music, you can check out this essay, “Why Traditional Hymns are Superior to Modern Ones,” at Crisis Magazine. (I’ve seen similar explanations of why musical instruments with secular associations do not belong in churches) that were written by Stanford Professor William Mahrt, who is President of the Church Music Association of America and publisher of the Sacred Music Journal.)
When you hear an organ, you will think of church, just as when you hear the tolling of a carillon. Other instruments recall other things. The piano recalls a smoke-filled tavern or a symphony hall or a chic restaurant. We hear a saxophone and we think of the blues. It’s idle to insist that it need not be so. . . . It’s also idle to say that we need not have the bodily reactions that we do have for certain kinds of rhythms. Some mimic the beat of the heart at rest or full of joy. Rock and roll drums mimic the thrust of the body in sexual ascent and climax. For other kinds of creatures, in another universe, it might not be so. For us, in ours, it is.”
In honor of actress Diana Rigg, who died today at the age of 82, Gregory DiPippo, Editor of New Liturgical Movement, wrote this on Facebook today, “Let Lady Diana Rigg also be remembered for her wonderful performance in the film version of one of the greatest Catholic novels ever written, In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden.” In the movie, Rigg plays a professional woman who joins a cloistered Benedictine community.
Bernardo Aparicio, Dappled Things Founder and Publisher, recommended this essay by James Matthew Willson at “The Public Discourse,” as “one of the best articles on this topic I’ve read yet.” In this essay, Wilson argues against recent attempts to cancel Flannery O’Connor.
Flannery O’Connor drew on her understanding of the evil within her in composing her brilliant fiction. Far from being the simple racist that recent attacks have made her out to be, she authored some of the most probing accounts of the psychology of racism in American literature.”
Katy Carl, Dappled Things Editor in Chief, recommends this article, in which Heather King at “Angelus News” writes about James Dickson Innes (1887-1914). Innes was a British landscape painter, whose “dying-gasp output” reminds her of some of the many other artists and writers who determinedly kept working while they were dying, including George Orwell—and Flannery O’Connor.
Anyone can tear things down. It takes a hero and possibly a saint to create, to endure, to continue creating, to finish the race — even knowing that next year, spring won’t come.”
I’m glad I didn’t use up all my free views at NYTIMES.COM this month before I saw this impressive analysis of a work by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. Hokusai is famous for his much-reproduced woodcut “Under the Wave off Kanagawa”—which is usually called “The Wave—and which was the first image in “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji”). The lesser-known woodcut being analyzed in this article for its influence in its own time and in the history of world art is “Ejiri in Suruga Province” (1830), the 10th image in “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” series.
European artists embraced Japanese art so strongly that there’s a name for that enthusiasm, Japonisme. I was wondering if this work’s influence could be traced in any way to Catholic art created since then, but then I remembered this popular Japanese image of the Mater Divinae Gratiae (Mother of Divine Grace) used by Institute of Christ the King Canon Raphael Ueda on his diaconal ordination card, whose composition and the use of solid blocks of color evokes traditional woodcuts.
Laughing Through The Apocalypse
Karen Barbre Ullo, Dappled Things Managing Editor, recommended this meme as “Great literature reimagined for our times.” In the combox at the originating Facebook page “Laughing Through The Apocalypse,” Barbara Ohlin Mackey added, “Amen. Goodnight smokey orange moon.” Mackey must live in California.