O magnum pietátis opus: mors mórtua tunc est, in ligno quando mórtua Vita fuit...

Today being the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, it is a good occasion to pause to read the Dream of the Rood, in translation (most of us, anyway), both in veneration of the Life-giving Tree and to remind ourselves that the deepest roots of our own culture are in the fertile soil of Christian history (there are an increasing number of academic mediaevalists who are driven mad by such a reminder: but that is down to them, not us). Dr Eleanor Parker points out in her occasional letter yesterday (her work is at A Clerk of Oxford and on Patreon, and she is writing, at least once in a while, in the pages of the Catholic Herald-- I'm not a subscriber, not since it went monthly, so I don't know if Dr Parker is a regular essayist now or occasional):

... The language in this opening passage enhances the sense of a shifting vision, something hard to pin down, by exploiting verbal ambiguity in a manner reminiscent of the Old English riddles. The poem deliberately avoids the usual word for cross, rod, leaving that until later; instead the object is repeatedly called a treow ('tree') and a beacen ('beacon'), a sign which points beyond itself, a signalling blaze of light. It's also called beama beorhtost, 'brightest of beams', and in this phrase 'beam' bears a double meaning (as in Modern English): both a shaft of light and a pillar of wood, a piece of timber. The cross is both these things at the same time. There's a dream-like quality to the strangeness of it all: it's a moving image, not a static one, but as the cross changes its appearance, everything and everyone else remains still, gazing in adoration. Nothing happens; time is paused, until the cross itself begins to speak....



O magnum pietatis opus is the first antiphon at Lauds: 'O what a work of love was that when Life and death together died upon the Tree'. 

Fog again this morning (if anyone cares to tell me why the Red Guard still have an article from yesterday in the headliner's position on their front page, I'd be happy to hear the explanation) and smoke, although I think the smell of smoke is somewhat diminished, Deo gratias. The weather mages have been going on about the possibility of rain for today ever since last Tuesday or Wednesday; the apps I look at have been noting a 5% chance of it for each of these last two or three days. Today is marked at... 10%. Am not holding my breath. Just returned from taking out some recyclable stuff-- am skipping my morning spatiamentum-- and the fact is that it smells, outside, just as smoky as it has these last couple of days.

The Bayreuth Baroque Festival is livestreaming today's concert of Froberger, Marais, Bach, and other composers by Hespèrion XXI with Maestro Jordi Savall, Andrew Lawrence-King et alii later on, again on its Facebook page. 1830 GMT, which is 1130 here (Facebook did the calculation for me).

Il Giardino Armonico is performing a concert of Andrea Gabrieli, Vivaldi et alii at Milan later on also, broadcast live on RAI Radio 3. 1900 GMT.

And the exceptionally fine Estonian Radio is broadcasting a recording of the concert in September 1977 when Arvo Pärt's Tabula rasa was premiered; Bach, Schubert, and Schnittke were also on the program. Gidon Kremer and Tatjana Grindenko were the violinists. 1905, local time, which perhaps an hour or two off GMT. This has begun, 0905. They have two hours set aside for this daily program 'Concert of the Day' (that's how I'm reading Kontserdisaalis). I will use the machinae. Kontserdisaalis is 'In the Concert Hall' or 'Concert Hall'. The one translation machina I use doesn't deal with Estonian. 

It appears that yet again I will have to make a choice, alas; I'm not very good at making choices. The Savall and the Pärt, if I can, I reckon.

From the Klassikaraadio page. I'm touching up the machina's work.

The concert became a historic turning point. In addition to the works of Bach, Schubert and Schnittke, Pärt's Tabula rasa-- a work dedicated to Kremer, Grindenko and Klas-- was premiered. It was [said] that the people in the hall [had] their understanding of music changed, and they can proudly recall that they witnessed a historic moment.

The rehearsal period preceding this concert was recalled by the participants as an extremely nervous time; the cancellation of the first performance was also considered. However, the concert became a major event and a turning point in Pärt's creative path and in the entire world of contemporary music. Tabula rasa overshadowed everything with its specialness, and none of those present dared to start with applause at that time. Eh; I suppose that someone began, eventually.

Gidon Kremer has described the work as a declaration of silence, a manifesto focusing on important things, and acknowledged that it changed his life.



Totally forgot that Saint-Eugène is livestreaming Holy Mass, tsk. A missa cantata, as we would say. Perhaps I'll find the Schnittke on Spotify. 

The fantasy of Mr Trump and Mr Biden on Joe Rogan's show-- all four hours of it-- is vastly amusing on a Monday morning. Mr Trump has agreed to do it! 

I've never seen more than two minutes of the Joe Rogan Experience, that trivial excerpt being thanks to or due to one of Dr Althouse's posts. All I know otherwise about the fellow is that he was an actor (NewsRadio), appears to have or to have had a post-acting career doing MMA fights announcing, or something like that, and is quite public about his recreational use of marijuana.