6 Responses to The Gael

  • there’s a sense of “impending” in that tune, a feeling that something-big-is-about-to-happen

  • Related, in 2009 one of the PL’s at the US Army COP in Afghanistan where my son served was a graduate of St. Thomas Episcopal School, Houston, TX.. He is a graduate member of the school’s world-champion pipe band. You can see them perform on YouTube.
    Imagine hearing the pipes deep in “Indian country.”
    Excuse me while I tune in to more of the pipes. “Wha’ Saw the 42nd.”

  • That’s fantastic. I had no idea it was composed apart from the movie.

  • Credit to the composer, Dougie MacLean of Scotland.

  • During basic training one of our guys was a piper,he was told he could send home for the pipes,at the end of our day no matter how tired or dirty we were ,he piped us into our barracks area.Amazing effect.All of us straighten up and quickened our steps.We were a divers group but we all fell under the sway of the pipes


Saturday, June 25, AD 2016


Something for the weekend.  Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong team up to give an unforgettable rendition of Summertime.  Composed as an aria in 1934 by George Gershwin for the play Porgy and Bess, it always conveys to me memories of the various hot summers of my boyhood when home air conditioning was rare and a luxury.

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6 Responses to Summertime

  • Thanks Donald. Wonderful song sung by two of my very favorites.

  • ” it always conveys to me memories of the various hot summers of my boyhood when home air conditioning was rare and a luxury.”

    What’s “air conditioning” ? Is it like hair conditioner? 😉

  • Where I live Don, a British diplomat once compared its summer time temperature and humidity unfavorably with that of various tropical postings he had endured. Not all of us can live in the best climate on Earth!


    I will say one thing for Midwest weather however, if one wishes to experience almost everything that Mother Nature can throw at you, not including hurricanes, a year in the Midwest will usually accomplish that!

  • Genius, from composition to execution. Truly gifts from God, whether any of them thought about that, or cared. Wonderful share – thank you!

  • Almost 40 years ago we Saw Porgy and Bess performed as an opera. Wonderful especially Summertime. We went with another young couple and had to stand in the back as it was SRO and probably SRO was all we could afford. We still have the two record album, but alas no working phonograph. Hadn’t thought of that big city venture in years; thanks for the memories.

  • Yes Don, we are truly blessed here in Godzone.
    The ten years I spent in Australia, we lived on the coast – Wollongong NSW – where the climate was similar to ours here in the Bay of Plenty – frosts in the winter, and warm pleasant temperatures in the summer. But when those hot Nor – westers blew in from the interior – up to 43deg. C and hotter inland – I did appreciate the air conditioning. And of course, the compulsory very chilled Aussie beer after work. 🙂

You’re A Grand Old Flag

Saturday, June 18, AD 2016



Something for the weekend.  You’re A Grand Old Flag sung by James Cagney in the film biopic of George M. Cohan Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942).  Cohan wrote the song in 1906 after an encounter with a Union veteran of Gettysburg who was carrying a torn American battle flag.  The old soldier smiled at Cohan and said the flag was “A grand old rag!”


I cannot have a post that mentions the film Yankee Doodle Dandy without showing the scene of Cagney as Cohan tap dancing down the White House steps.  Cagney did the scene completely impromptu.

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2 Responses to You’re A Grand Old Flag

Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’

Saturday, May 21, AD 2016


Something for the weekend.  Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’.  A historical curiosity of 1943.  The only gospel song that I am aware of that praises Joseph Stalin, it was inspired by this remark in a speech by FDR:

The world has never seen greater devotion, determination, and self sacrifice, that have been displayed by the Russian people and their armies under the leadership of Marshall Joseph Stalin.  The song was performed a cappella by the gospel group Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet.  The song was a moderate success in 1943 and has mercifully been largely forgotten since that.  A tribute to war time tunnel vision and the delusional view of Stalin firmly embraced by President Roosevelt and many other liberal Americans, inside and outside of his administration, at the time.

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One Response to Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’

  • Tunnel vision. An apt description. May the Lord protect from a failure to discern and discriminate. Help us to see and steer clear of evil – with the twin helps of our Mother’s Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, closely available to us in Eucharist.

One Response to Simple Gifts

3 Responses to Spring

  • I’m hearing you loud and clear.
    We’re roughly three to four hundred miles North and East of you “flat landers,” and yesterday was truly our first Spring like day.

    Hoping the weather stays warm for trout opener in two weeks. If so, the Brook trout will be in abundance.

    The four seasons by Vivaldi is one of our favorites.

  • Consider giving Alan Hovhannes’ Anahid a try. It has three seasons – spring, summer, and autumn – in one 15 minute movement.

  • LOVE Vivaldi. ?❤️

1812 Overture

Saturday, February 27, AD 2016


Something for the weekend.  Tchaikovsky’s  1812 Overture.  Written in 1880 to commemorate the victory of Russia over Napoleon, its composition was due to the fact that the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, commissioned by Tsar Alexander I in thanksgiving for the victory, was nearing completion.  As it happens, Tchaikovsky did not think much of what would become his most famous piece, writing that it was noisy and lacked all artistic merit and was written by him without love.  Oddly enough, it has become associated in this country with the Fourth of July, as I have heard it performed on several Independence Day celebrations.

Although it has been endlessly parodied, “the cereal that’s shot from guns”, I have always liked it.  Listening to a great piece of music like this, I wonder if the below humor piece does not possess a rare insight:

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5 Responses to 1812 Overture

  • Love those canons!

  • Military pieces are rarely the composer’s best. Beethoven admitted that “Wellington’s Victory” was “sh*t” but that his sh*t was better than other composers best music.
    My reaction when I first heard it was, “Wut? Beethoven wrote ‘The Bear Went Over the Mountain’?”

  • If there’s a composer whose name can be mentioned in the same breath as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, it’s Tchaikovsky. He suffers from the same dilemma as Mozart: he’s often so accessible that people overlook his skill. In Mozart’s case, the more you study music, the more impressive he gets. In Tchaikovsky’s case, I think that people who study Russian music in greater depth become enchanted with later, less accessible composers.

  • “As it happens, Tchaikovsky did not think much of what would become his most famous piece, writing that it was noisy and lacked all artistic merit and was written by him without love.”

    If anyone would like to hear what Tchaikovsky considered his love, listen to his Serenade for Strings Op 48 (the 1812 Overture is Op 49, both were written in 1880). The two have similarities, but the Serenade is a very beautiful work, one of the best ever.

  • very interesting article– the “hologram” of great music seems possible ! 🙂
    I have always been drawn to pre-Soviet music, prose and poetry…that Russian spirit is also close the the heart of our blessed Mother, I think

One Response to Go Down Moses

Glory Music

Saturday, January 9, AD 2016

We bide our chance,
Unhappy, and make terms with Fate
A little more to let us wait;
He leads for aye the advance,
Hope’s forlorn-hopes that plant the desperate good
For nobler Earths and days of manlier mood;

James Russell Lowell, Memoriae Positum

Selections from the score of the movie Glory (1989), the story of the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first Union black regiments, up to their valiant assault on Fort Wagner in 1863.  A prime example of historical movies should be made, Glory performs the epic feat of bringing to life again the days of the Civil War when the fate of the nation was decided.

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Happy New Year 1958

Saturday, January 2, AD 2016

Something for the weekend.  Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians playing Auld Lang Syne.  The first year I spent on this globe was in 1957.  The above is the New Year’s Eve broadcast on CBS by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians on December 31, 1957.  Born in Canada, Lombardo became a naturalized American citizen in 1938.  For 48 years, until his death in 1977, Guy Lombardo and his band ushered in the New Year with broadcasts, first on CBS radio and then on CBS television.  The first televised broadcast was in 1956.  Guy Lombardo and his band managed the feat of remaining popular, and highly profitable, for half a century, a difficult feat in as fickle an enterprise as the entertainment industry.  Lombardo was the heart and soul of the operation, his band surviving his death only by two years.

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4 Responses to Happy New Year 1958

  • Compare a ball drop to that sweet romantic nostalgia. When the Lord creates everything new, the ball drop will be one of the things forgotten.

  • Guy Lombardo lived in Freeport, Long Island, New York, where he kept his cabin cruiser in the canal in his backyard. He often played at Jones Beach Marine Theater, which is still popular for concerts – different name. He would go to Jones Beach by boat from his home. Mr. Lombardo’s last Jones Beach production was Finian’s Rainbow in 1977.

    I live about 30 minutes away from Freeport. Have been there many times over the years. It’s waterfront is known for seafood restaurants and pleasure boating.

  • In Kentucky in the ’50s my cousins, a few acres away, were crazy about Guy Lombardo, and everything he played, especially a song about some Mounties capturing Dangerous Dan McGrew. Since I loved Mounties I felt kindly toward The Royal Canadians but at the age of ten I was already hooked on Beethoven and Toscanini. But this did sound rather velvety today, to ears dinted by years of other hideous sounds which can in no way be called music.

  • Kmbold calls to my mind something I had wrong in the first place. I’ll tell it with a dutiful correction at the end. My father’s best friend’s father had in his youth an infatuation with opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink. He would leave flowers by her dressing room door at the Met. That is doubtless true but I thought it was Toscanini who said to a rehearsing orchestra,” Louder! Louder! I can still hear the Heink.” A bit of fact checking corrects me that it was actually Richard Strauss who said that. Now, how did I get that wrong? Perhaps Toscanini engaged in a little playful plagiarism.

Handel’s Advent Messiah: For Unto Us A Son Is Given

Thursday, December 24, AD 2015

The culmination of the Advent portions of Handel’s Advent Messiah.  Go here to listen to the earlier portions.


Handel heralds the coming of Christ with the immortal words of Isaiah Chapter 9, verse 6:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

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One Response to Handel’s Advent Messiah: For Unto Us A Son Is Given

  • A beautiful rendition by the unmistakable Helen Watts of “Oh Thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,” but it brings back memories to me of Kathleen Ferrier in 1950.

    One of my earliest clear memories (earlier memories are mere snatches) is of the Messiah, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult in 1950. My parents took me to London for it – I was five -and this it is this passage that stands out so clearly in my memory.

    Also burnt into my youthful memory is the sound of some 5,000 seats in the Royal Albert Hall, flipping up, as the audience stood, according to the British custom, for the Hallelujah Corus. So far from being a distraction, it was a strangely appropriate and impressive introduction.

Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming

Saturday, December 12, AD 2015

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Something for the weekend.  Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.  Written by the ever prolific composer Anonymous in 16th century Germany, it quickly became a favorite hymn of both Catholics and Protestants in that time and land of religious strife, and that is a good message for Christmas.

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Veni Veni Emmanuel

Saturday, December 5, AD 2015



Something for the weekend before Christmas.  Veni, Veni Emmanuel.  The words of this magnificent hymn are from the 9th century and the melody is from 15th century France.  It is more familiar these days in its English translation.  Below is a powerful version that has great meaning for me.  After the death of my son Larry on Pentecost Sunday 2013 I found it of immense comfort.  Christ is Our Way, Our Truth and Our Everlasting Life.


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2 Responses to Veni Veni Emmanuel

  • Dad was bedridden for the last weeks in November of 2013. I would kneel at his bedside and sing hymn’s from his red Christian Prayers booklet. In the back of the booklet forty or so hymn’s were ready for the novice or well seasoned singer. Fitting the former class of singer I gently sang to him.
    He was paralyzed on his right side and couldn’t speak, due to a third stroke he suffered. He smiled the best he could as I sang many hymn’s. Oh Come Emmanuel was one of his favorite’s. Mine too. Forever I will hold dear these last days of his life within my heart. I did give him what I could…song for the journey. He died on Dec. 4th 2013…yesterday and two years.

  • O come, Adonai, Lord of might,
    Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
    In ancient times didst give the law
    In cloud and majesty and awe.

    How can priests and theologians spend their minds in denial, taking so many away from the Lord of might to enter Satan’s tyranny?

    As they hear these beautiful words year after year …

Turkey in the Straw

Saturday, November 21, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  Turkey in the Straw seems appropriate for the weekend before Thanksgiving.  The spirited rendition above is by the Skillet Lickers, a Georgia band of the twenties and thirties of the last century. Part time musicians, they made up in enthusiasm and faithfulness to the traditional music they played, what they may have lacked in technical skill.

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One Response to Turkey in the Straw

  • Can you only email articles to one recipient at a time?
    Seems so unless I’m missing something. Tried separating with commas as usual, or with a space between, to no avail. Window pops up: ‘recipient email invalid’, even though they could be sent one-by-one.
    I love this website and like to send articles individually, not just link to the entire website.
    Any tips?

Southern Soldier

Saturday, November 14, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  A rousing rendition of Southern Soldier by the 2nd South Carolina String Band, a group dedicated to bringing to modern audiences Civil War music played on period instruments.  Southern Soldier was immensely popular among Confederate troops during the latter part of the War and was one of their favorite marching tunes.

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One Response to Southern Soldier

Salve Regina and Hermann the Cripple

Saturday, October 10, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  Salve Regina.  Christopher Columbus was nearing the end of his voyage across the Atlantic 523 years ago.  He had a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary.  Each night he would assemble the crew on his ship to sing the Salve Regina.  The hymn was written in the eleventh century by Blessed Hermann the Cripple, a truly fascinating figure.

Born on July 18, 1013, he was a son of Wolverad II, Earl of Altshausen.  He entered this world with maladies that would be considered overwhelming in our time and in the eleventh century entirely beyond hope: a cleft palate and cerebral palsy and spina bifida, or perhaps  Lou Gehrig’s disease or spinal muscular atrophy.  In any event he could barely move, and could hardly speak.  He was placed in a monastery at age 7, no doubt his parents fearing that all that would occur for their son for the remainder of his time in this vale of tears was that he would be made as comfortable as possible until his afflicted life came to an end.

Among the monks he flourished.   At twenty he took his vows as a Benedictine monk. He spent most of his life at the Abbey of Reichenau.  He quickly demonstrated that a keen mind, as well as a beautiful soul, inhabited his wreck of a body. He mastered several languages including Latin, Arabic and Greek.  His genius was catholic in its scope:  he wrote a treatise on the science of music, several works on geometry, mathematics and astronomy, a chronicle of events from the Crucifixion to his time and composed religious poetry.  He built musical instruments and astronomical devices.  Students flocked to him throughout Europe, drawn not only by his learning but also by his sweet demeanor.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of his role in the scientific renaissance sweeping through Europe in the eleventh century.

Going blind in his later years, he became a noted composer of hymns, including the Salve Regina.  Dying in 1054 at age 40, he was beatified by Pio Nono in 1863.

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5 Responses to Salve Regina and Hermann the Cripple

  • Pingback: Blessed Herman the Cripple | CatholicSaints.Info
  • Beautiful story.
    Thanks again for your teaching.

    How many Hermann the cripple’s would of brightened our world if they weren’t diagnosed within their mother’s womb, and prompted to abort at the suggestion of their “doctor?”
    How many? God doesn’t make mistakes when souls are created and conception is achieved.

    In these, our dark ages, please continue to pray. Please consider joining ten’s of thousands of Prayer partners in public prayer.
    We will be in front of today’s Auschwitz’.
    Join us. Please. Hermann the cripple pray for us.

  • I too am heartened by the life of Herman of Richenau! Thank you for this post.
    Imagine being immobile – dependent – but on a beautiful island in the beautiful Lake Constance under the care of the noted abbot Benno in that wonderful brilliant century!
    + some belief that the refrain ” o clement,oh sweet…” Etc was added by Bernard of Clairvaux

  • “O Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to Thee.”
    “Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
    That we may made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

    “I fly to you O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother.”
    “To you do I come; before you I stand sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, . . . ”
    I think of Mary and my wonderful mother (RIP).

  • Pingback: Pope Francis Challenges Us to Live The Joy of the Gospel - BP

Rising of the Moon

Saturday, September 26, AD 2015


Something for the weekend.  I am in a disgusted mood at the papal events of this week, and when I am in such a mood it is time for a little Irish rebel music, and nothing fits the bill better than The Rising of the Moon.  The song, written around 1865, celebrates the Irish rising of 1798, when Protestant and Catholic Irishmen, with the help of a small French invasion force, launched a rebellion, probably the largest and most hard fought revolt against English rule in the history of Ireland.  Like all such Irish revolts, except for the last one, it was defeated and drowned in blood.  However, the Irish have ever celebrated their defeats even more than their victories, and The Rising of the Moon is a fitting tribute.

Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Tell me why you hurry so?”

 “Hush ma bouchal, hush and listen”, And his cheeks were all a-glow.

“I bear ordhers from the captain, Get you ready quick and soon,

For the pikes must be together At the risin’ of the moon”.

At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

For the pikes must be together at the risin’ of the moon.

“Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Where the gatherin’ is to be?”

“In the ould spot by the river, Right well known to you and me.

 One word more—for signal token Whistle up the marchin’ tune,

 With your pike upon your shoulder, By the risin’ of the moon”.

 By the risin’ of the moon, by the risin’ of the moon,

With your pike upon your shoulder, by the risin’ of the moon.

Out from many a mudwall cabin Eyes were watching thro’ that night,

 Many a manly chest was throbbing For the blessed warning light.

 Murmurs passed along the valleys Like the banshee’s lonely croon,

 And a thousand blades were flashing At the risin’ of the moon.

At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

And a thousand blades were flashing at the risin’ of the moon.

There beside the singing river That dark mass of men was seen,

Far above the shining weapons Hung their own beloved green.

 “Death to ev’ry foe and traitor! Forward! strike the marchin’ tune,

 And hurrah, my boys, for freedom! ‘T is the risin’ of the moon”.

 ‘T is the risin’ of the moon, ‘t is the risin’ of the moon,

 And hurrah my boys for freedom! ‘t is the risin’ of the moon.

Well they fought for poor old Ireland, And full bitter was their fate

(Oh! what glorious pride and sorrow Fill the name of Ninety-Eight).

Yet, thank God, e’en still are beating Hearts in manhood’s burning noon,

Who would follow in their footsteps, At the risin’ of the moon!

 At the rising of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,

Who would follow in their footsteps, at the risin’ of the moon.

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8 Responses to Rising of the Moon

  • Donald,
    I would imagine that a majority of orthodox devout Catholics are as disgusted as you. But God wins in the end. Why He has permitted this man Jorge Bergoglio to occupy the Papal Seat we may never know in this life. But God’s sovereign will will always be accomplished. As for the occupier of the Papal Seat, Ezekiel 34:1-10 comes to mind.

  • Young men know in their heart and soul the truth about freedom.

  • One of my favorite songs arising from the ’98 rising tells the story of Fr. John Murphy who led a local uprising in the West and was brutally executed for his troubles.

    At Boolavogue, as the sun was setting
    O’er the bright May meadows of Shelmalier,
    A rebel hand set the heather blazing
    And brought the neighbours from far and near.
    Then Father Murphy, from old Kilcormack,
    Spurred up the rocks with a warning cry;
    “Arm! Arm!” he cried, “For I’ve come to lead you,
    For Ireland’s freedom we fight or die.”

    He led us on against the coming soldiers,
    And the cowardly Yeomen we put to flight;
    ‘Twas at the Harrow the boys of Wexford
    Showed Booky’s Regiment how men could fight.
    Look out for hirelings, King George of England,
    Search ev’ry kingdom where breathes a slave,
    For Father Murphy of the County Wexford
    Sweeps o’er the land like a mighty wave.

    We took Camolin and Enniscorthy,
    And Wexford storming drove out our foes;
    ‘Twas at Sliabh Coillte our pikes were reeking
    With the crimson stream of the beaten Yeos.
    At Tubberneering and Ballyellis
    Full many a Hessian lay in his gore;
    Ah, Father Murphy, had aid come over
    The green flag floated from shore to shore!

    At Vinegar Hill, o’er the pleasant Slaney,
    Our heroes vainly stood back to back,
    And the Yeos at Tullow took Father Murphy
    And burned his body upon the rack.
    God grant you glory, brave Father Murphy
    And open heaven to all your men;
    The cause that called you may call tomorrow
    In another fight for the Green again.

  • I love both songs, and the Clancys perform both on the great double album, Irish Songs of Whiskey and Rebellion.

    More Clancy Brothers, please.

  • Great Irish rebel song, here’s another:

    I was born on a Dublin street where the Royal drums do beat
    And the loving English feet they tramped all over us,
    And each and every night when me father’d come home tight
    He’d invite the neighbors outside with this chorus:

    Oh, come out ye Black and Tans,
    Come out and fight me like a man
    Show your wives how you won medals down in Flanders
    Tell them how the IRA made you run like hell away,
    From the green and lovely lanes in Killashandra.

  • Beautiful rendition of The Foggy Dew: