Archive for December, 2012

Yo-Yo Ma performing Camille Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1. Not to be missed artificial harmonics around 4:00 in the second video.

Happy holidays.



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St. Matthew Passion closing sections.

Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine,
Die ich nun weiter nicht beweine,
Ruht wohl und bringt auch mich zur Ruh!
Das Grab, so euch bestimmet ist
Und ferner keine Not umschließt,
Macht mir den Himmel auf und schließt die Hölle zu.

Rest in peace, you sacred limbs,
I shall weep for you no more,
rest in peace, and bring me also to rest.
The grave that is allotted to you
and contains no further suffering,
opens heaven for me and shuts off hell.

Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein
Am letzten End die Seele mein
In Abrahams Schoß tragen,
Den Leib in seim Schlafkämmerlein
Gar sanft ohn eigne Qual und Pein
Ruhn bis am jüngsten Tage!
Alsdenn vom Tod erwecke mich,
Dass meine Augen sehen dich
In aller Freud, o Gottes Sohn,
Mein Heiland und Genadenthron!
Herr Jesu Christ, erhöre mich,
Ich will dich preisen ewiglich!

Ah Lord, let your dear angels
at my final hour carry my soul
to Abraham’s bosom,
while my body in its narrow chamber
gently without pain or torment
rests until the last day.
Wake me then from death,
so that my eyes see you
in all joy,o God’s son,
my saviour and throne of mercy
Lord Jesus Christ, hear me,
I shall praise you eternally!

Almost too hopeful a selection for reflection on the murder of more than two dozen people. Most of them in an elementary school. Most of them children.


America has yet another awful opportunity to sit with the idea that America is a violent country. Another opportunity to pose the question: What kind of country do we want to live in?

We should have that discussion, and initially at least, we should admit all answers. So those who want armed primary and secondary school teachers, concealed carry on college campuses, more guns not fewer, those are valid answers to bring to this wide-open discussion. Frankly, I disagree rather strongly with those replies, but they need to be represented in the discussion. If only so that we can also make representations about a much narrower understanding of the Second Amendment on the opposite side.

Unfortunately, I don’t see the process for working through these replies housed with Congress in the first instance. Congress has the fiscal cliff, impending cabinet nominations, and any number of well entrenched battles and animosities to work its way through at any given moment. Perhaps its my time observing at UK politics, where public inquiries and national commissions have been an even more regular part of working through national events. Some collection outside of Congress, but with greater heft than civil society’s Punch and Judy Show, to digest the entire issue. Take the whole thing, “On Violence in America”, into its orbit.

Crucially, with public hearings. Let’s hear from the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation as well as from the victims of gun violence. Let’s hear from sociologists, criminologists, psychologists, anyone willing to bring their expertise, personal or professional, to bear on the issue. We need South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission level consideration. A wide mandate, a broad remit, and a deadline for producing a report.

Put the national dialogue into an institution with a responsibility to take something forward.

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