One Solitary Life

Sunday, December 25, AD 2016

All the armies that have ever marched All the navies that have ever sailed All the parliaments that have ever sat All the kings that ever reigned put together Have not affected the life of mankind on earth As powerfully as that one solitary life

From One Solitary Life

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

H. G. Wells

O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem

Exsultet, Easter Vigil

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One Response to One Solitary Life

  • For the many years that I was a sworn Police Officer, on the Evansville, Indiana Police Department, ( finally retired as a Sergeant ) I often witnessed things that either tested my Faith, or confirmed it.
    I belonged to a Gym called “The Pit”. And The Pit was owned and run by a devoutly Christian gentleman named Dick Connors. Connors was himself a sworn Police Officer and he did not allow any “swearing” or otherwise bawdy talk or activity in his Gym. He had signs on a couple of walls that displayed Biblical quotes in an effort to encourage a following of his wishes. But he continued to have occasional problems, UNTIL he put up a sign that quoted the anonymous “One Solitary Life”.
    After he put up that sign, things got a lot calmer, PEACEFUL !
    Timothy R

14 Responses to 10,000 Japanese Singing Ode to Joy Open Thread

  • What a joy! Always a joy.
    Think of all those phalanxes of guardian angels crowded in there singing along!

  • Thank you for this masterpiece and music – a breath of fresh air.
    Isn’t this what the height of civilisation and culture is meant to achieve?
    Anyway, happy springtime and renewal.

    Cannot resist saying that this is a moment of in with the good and out with the bad – air … . Joy and sorrow need one another. It’s even on the conductor’s face.

  • Greatest piece of music ever written. Hope it’s performed in Heaven.

  • Finally…multiculturalism has a positive message!

  • This is truly SO very beautiful!! I wish I had the soundtrack for this so I could save it into my music library:)

  • Considering how disjointed the Japanese culture is this is probably good for the Japanese people to listen to.

  • What a joy to see and listen to that. Like Christine, I wish I had the sound track but now that I know where I can find it, I’ll be back.

    By the way, I found this by searching for Kipling’s “the ‘eathen” and happened upon ‘The American Catholic’ and was drawn to the explanation of the poem as much as to the poem itself (I first read a snippet of that great poem in Heinlein’s “Starship Trooper” some decades ago).

    I’ve a question related to ‘the eathen’, that being the phrase “‘e draf’s from Gawd knows where”. What does Kipling mean by that?

    Thanks much for this Mr. McClarey.

  • To me the 9th is simply the greatest piece of music ever composed, and there’s not really anything in its proximity. If you expand on the youtube video there is a link to the great scene in Immortal Beloved featuring the Ode to Joy, and it was watching that scene some 16 years ago late on a summer night that turned me onto that piece.

  • Thank you Dale. The Kipling phrase refers to the fact that the subject of the poem was part of a group of recruits, referred to as a draft in the parlance of the time although they were volunteers for the regiment. Kipling was taking a dig at the failure of the Cardwell reforms of 1872 which had tied regimental recruiting in the Royal Army to specific local areas. When there was a shortage of recruits from that area numbers had to be made up by drafts of recruits from other regimental areas and they were always likely to be the least promising of those available. At the time of the writing of the poem, summer 1895, there was much opposition to the Cardwell system in Britain.

    Here is a link to the post that Dale is referring to:

  • My father (RIP) had a book named “Kipling’s Army.” Next time I go over the house, I’ll look it up. Years ago, I skimmed some of it. Before the reforms (I think) the Saxon’s army was put together of regiments raised locally by the local peerages. Sounds kind of feudal (90 days batchelor service). In those days, I guess the crown reimbursed them for expenses that they couldn’t defray by looting and rapine.

    PS: Number-2 Son is stationed in Japan with the US Army. Big, blond, blue-eyed Adonis kind of sticks out over there. He plays prop on a rugger team of foreigners “downtown.”

    No Godzilla sighting, yet.

  • THank you so much for sharing this! I discovered this piece in college over 30 years ago–it is so lovely to hear it again.

  • T.Shaw
    In those days, I guess the crown reimbursed them for expenses that they couldn’t defray by looting and rapine.

    I wonder what sort of reimbursement they got from rapine – the mind boggles. 😆

    Your No. 2 son in Japan playing rugby there may well have run into a few kiwis there playing rugby. There are quite a number of pro. rugby players there, some maybe not good enough for the All Blacks, or retired from the AllBlacks, or provincial players from the franchise teams, playing out their rugby days in Japan because the money is so good – huge in relation to what they earn here.

  • Thanks, Donald for your response to my question above. I’m surprised, though perhaps I shouldn’t be, that my comment spurred a bit of a discussion on Kipling here. I plan (and I hope the others will as well) to explore your first three examinations of Kiplings poetry.


  • We have a fair number of Kipling afficianados on this blog Dale!


Saturday, July 16, AD 2011







Something for the weekend.  Erocia (Heroic) by Beethoven.  Beethoven originally had dedictated Eroica to Napoleon.  When he heard that Napoleon had crowned himself Emperor here was his reaction according to one of this pupils:

I was the first to tell him the news that Buonaparte had declared himself Emperor, whereupon he broke into a rage and exclaimed, “So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!”

Beethoven ripped the dediction to Napoleon from the title page of Eroica.  This post has videos for the first two movements.

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21 Responses to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

  • My favorite instrumental work, unsurpassed in all of music. Leonard Bernstein’s conducting of the 9th in 1988 with the Berlin Philharmonic after the Wall came down was truly memorable. Ever see the film, Immortal Beloved, Don? A pretty good biopic of the greatest German composer (although there are days I’d give that honor to Mozart).

  • Correction. It was the Vienna and here is the vid link:

  • and a wonderful clip from the movie:

  • I haven’t seen Immortal Beloved Joe, but I’ll try and view it sometime. In regard to Beethoven and Mozart it is too bad we have very little documentation as to their one meeting. (Whether they met at all has been subject to controversy, although I suspect they did.)

  • The clip I posted will whet your whistle for sure. Amazing scene. Mozart, supposedly after meeting a young Beethoven, is reported to have said, “Some day we’ll hear more from this young man.” (paraphrasing.) Thank you, Don, for the starting this thread. Perhaps you might put up Mozart’s Requiem some time. Absolutely stunning.

  • This is my favorite piece of music as well. Absolute perfection. And it was watching Immortal Beloved that prompted me to start listening to Beethoven.

  • Paul, the slow movement (second) from his “Emperor” Concerto is perhaps the most sublime piece of piano music you’ll ever hear.
    Here is Glenn Gould playing it:

  • I like Cliburn’s better, though. Gould was better at Bach.

  • You knew this was coming:

    “I have watched greatness touch you in another way. I have seen you sit, uninvited and unforced, listening in complete silence to the third movement of the Ninth Symphony. I thought you understood, as much as children can, when I told you that that music was the moment at which Beethoven finally passed beyond the suffering of his life on earth and reached for the hand of God, as God reaches for the hand of Adam in Michelangelo’s version of creation.” – Whittaker Chambers, “Witness”

  • BLARG!

    The baroque has yet to be transcended.

  • Pretty hard to hum Bach except for his lullaby and Gesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. As for Wagner, as Twain said: “His music is not as bad as it sounds.”

    My favorite compose is Giuseppe Verdi, which is no surprise given my screen name. : )

  • Meant Brahm’s lullaby, of course. Think before you type. I gotta remember that.

  • Brahms’

    There I go again. apostrophe transposed.

  • Do see “Immortal Beloved,” Don–Joe is right, it is a great film. Talented actors given superb material is too rare a combination.

    Sometimes laugh out loud funny, too: After Jeroen Krabbe’s Schindler has learned that Beethoven spurned Isabella Rossellini’s Anna Erdody, the flabbergasted Schindler blurts out “He was a *fool*!” to the flattered Erdody.

    I agreed wholeheartedly with Schindler–I’ve always been enchanted by Rossellini.

  • My favorite compose is Giuseppe Verdi, which is no surprise given my screen name.

    Joe, it’s good to see a man of such distinguished musical tastes. As you might have guessed from my name I do have a special place in my heart for Italian artists.

  • Figured that, Paul. I am an opera lover first and foremost. Any composer whose name ends in a vowel usually is OK by me. : )

  • Dale, agree. Isabella was and remains a beautiful woman and she and Gary Oldman did a great job in that flick.

  • Bernstein conducting the finale from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde:

    It is truly sublime.

  • Beethoven wrote the Missa Solemnis at the same time as the 9th Symphony. If you want to truly have your doors blown off, try the opening bars of the piece (the Kyrie), the entire Gloria, or the solo violin at the top of its register representing the Holy Spirit during the Sanctus/Benedictus. For the Gloria and the Sanctus, the tempi on the Robert Shaw/Atlanta recording is tough to beat. If you want the quality soloists, the Klemperer recording is phenomenal.

  • Great piece of music, and is the tune to a popular hymn we sing.

    I hang my head and confess to being a phillistine from the outer fringes of civilisation 😉 and hate to admit I didn’t know it was composed by Beethoven. I promise to do penance for my culpable ignorance – sack-cloth and ashes for 7 days.