Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day 2017


One year ago in this space I complained about what I called "the fairly tedious aspects
of the start of the New Year," namely all the blather about "New Year's Resolutions." I'm still not keen on the idea of making lists of things to fail at in the coming year
(or making lists of any kind, really), but I think I did okay on the handful of personal goals I mentioned here last year. I believe each of those "resolutions" merits another year's worth of effort.

"Your performance wasn't egregios, but it was dece."
Last year I resolved "to try to be
the best version of myself I can manage, to try to justify my existence in whatever small ways
I can, to serve the dialectic (the search for truth) as best I can, and to celebrate excellence in its many forms." Noble aspirations all.

To that list I will add trying more seriously to conquer my various physical infirmities.

And, of course, I will still not suffer fools gladly (or at all, actually).

What can I say? I have to have some fun in life, after all...

Feast Day

Madonna and Child, Pacecco De Rosa
On January 1 Catholics celebrate not only New Year's Day but also the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. This is the feast day celebrating Mary's unique role as mother of Jesus, and it is always observed on the Octave of Christmastide (8th day after Christmas Eve).

This Solemnity is one of just
six holy days of obligation
(on which Catholics are required to attend Mass) in the United States under canon law 1246. There will not be another such until Ascension Thursday, which falls on May 25 this year.

Important Step

1863 print copy of Lincoln's proclamation

On January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order which conferred freedom to slaves being held in 11 states which were then in rebellion at the time it was issued.

Historians still debate the practical importance of Lincoln's order, but
there can be no denying its symbolic importance regarding the issue of slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment
to the Constitution formally abolished slavery in the United States just two years later.

They Grow Up So Fast

From the wry comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

There is of course no shortage of traditional Catholic music devoted to Mary, with musical settings of the "Ave Maria" prayer being particularly popular with composers
for several centuries now. Among other hymns, the 8th century "Ave Maris Stella" also enjoys widespread popularity with vocal groups thanks to composers like Palestrina, William Byrd, Edvard Grieg, and Franz Liszt, all of whom produced stirring musical settings for the hymn.

The popular English choir and period orchestra The Sixteen has recorded several albums of this sort of material, in keeping with their mission of preserving and performing early English polyphony, Renaissance, and Baroque choral music.

In January 2011 the group released Hail, Mother of the Redeemer,
a collection of traditional hymns and prayers to Mary set to music
by the renowned 16th century composer Tomás Luis de Victoria.

Included on the album were Marian classics such as "Salve Regina," "Magnificat," and "Regina Cæli."
As usual, the ensemble performs brilliantly under the direction of founder and musical director Harry Christophers, and offers a reminder of why Victoria remains a star among composers of choral music.

Today's send-off is their transcendent performance of "Ave Maris Stella." Enjoy...

No comments:

Post a Comment