Music Video

Fireworks Melody

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Something for the Weekend.  I always find the Handel composition Music For the Royal Fireworks (1749) to be stirring.  It was written to celebrate the ending of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the peace of Aix-La-Chappelle in 1748.  It turned out to be merely a truce before the start of the Seven Years War, the big war of the Eighteenth Century, known as the French and Indian War in America, and initiated by a 22 year old George Washington!  Counting the fighting in America which began in 1754, it should properly be known as the Nine Years War. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Cabin Fever

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(Guest post by Don’s wife Cathy:)

Ever feel like the extreme heat & humidity this past week (across most of the USA) was driving you nuts – not to mention being cooped up (in air-conditioned splendor, but still . . .) that whole time?  Apparently this was also a problem for the intrepid-but-becalmed ship’s crew in Muppet Treasure Island!  Thankfully, by the time you see this, the temperatures will have dropped to more reasonable levels (approx. 85 degrees Fahrenheit/30 degrees Celsius) in our part of the country – although readers of this blog on the US East Coast will still have to suffer for a day or two. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Fortnight For Freedom Day 3: Chester

 

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Their blood flowed as freely (in proportion to their numbers) to cement the fabric of independence as that of any of their fellow-citizens: They concurred with perhaps greater unanimity than any other body of men, in recommending and promoting that government, from whose influence America anticipates all the blessings of justice, peace, plenty, good order and civil and religious liberty.

John Carroll, first American bishop, on American Catholics in the Revolution

Something for the weekend.  Chester,  America’s unofficial national anthem during the American Revolution.   This fits in well with the Fortnight of Freedom proclaimed by our Bishops in resistance to encroachments by government on our religious liberty.

Written by William Billings in 1770, he added new lyrics to the song in 1778 and transformed it into a battle hymn for the Patriots in their war for independence.  The song reveals the strong religious element that was ever-present on the American side of the conflict, with most Patriots viewing the war as a crusade. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

S.O.S.

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Something for the Weekend.  Some of the reactions to my post with the ABBA song Waterloo in it were so, I think the term I will use is “special”, that I decided that S.O.S. was warranted.  Don’t make me bring out Dancing Queen:)

They Will Shoot Me on Tuesday

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I die but God does not die!

Blessed Anacleto González Flores before his martyrdom, April 1, 1927

Something for the Weekend. El Martes Me Fusilaran.  (They will shoot me on Tuesday.)    A  song performed  by Vicente Fernández Gomez celebrating the fight for the Church and religious liberty by the Cristeros in Mexico in the twenties of the last century.  This seemed appropriate on the day when my family and I will be seeing For Greater Glory.  Go here to read my post on the film and the historical background on the Cristero War.  Here are the lyrics of the song translated into English: ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Eternal Father

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Something for the weekend.  Eternal Father seems very appropriate for a Memorial Day weekend, as we remember those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom we cherish.  Written in 1860 as a poem by William Whiting in England, the music to accompany the lyrics was composed by John B. Dykes in 1861.  The moving hymn has always been a favorite of those who serve in the military:

Eternal Father, strong to save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, 

Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep  

Its own appointed limits keep;  

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, 

For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard

And hushed their raging at Thy word,  

Who walkedst on the foaming deep,

And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,  

For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood

Upon the chaos dark and rude,

And bid its angry tumult cease,

And give, for wild confusion, peace;  

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,  

For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!

Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;

From rock and tempest, fire and foe, 

Protect them wheresoe’er they go;

  Thus evermore shall rise to Thee

Glad hymns of praise from land and sea. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

O Say Can You See?

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Something for the weekend.  The Star Spangled Banner.  Often assailed by critics as unsingable, too war-like and on other grounds,  I love it and I am proud that it is our National Anthem.   It is an interesting song for a national anthem in that the first stanza, the one we all attempt to sing, has an important question at the end of it:  Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?   That particular question has to be asked by each generation of Americans, ours no less than the generations who came before us.

Here is a superb video giving the historical back ground behind the writing of The Star Spangled Banner:

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Come Cheer Up My Lads

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Something for the weekend.  Heart of Oak.  Written by actor David Garrick in 1759, with music by Dr. William Boyce, the song is a rousing tribute to the Royal Navy.  Garrick penned the song during the Annus Mirabilis of 1759 when Church bells in Great Britain and America were constantly ringing in celebration of British victories, including the taking of Quebec, on land and sea.  The song was an immediate hit both in Great Britain and its colonies.

The video clip above is taken from That Hamilton Woman (1941) starring Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier.  In many ways simply a historical pot boiler common for films during the period, the film also celebrates British resistance to the tyranny of Napoleon which of course strongly resonated with British audiences in 1941.  It was Churchill’s favorite movie and he would frequently show it to guests during the War.

The playing of Heart of Oak at the beginning of the clip is not a conceit of the film.  When British ships of the line were sailing into battle the bands of the ship would strike up Heart of Oak, always a favorite of the sailors on board.  Serving in miserable conditions, sometimes pressed (“compulsorily volunteered” was the phrase), the song did reflect how the sailors perceived themselves.  They were almost all ardent patriots, as they demonstrated during the fleet mutinies at Spithead and the Nore in 1797, when the mutineers turned over to the government French agents who attempted to make common cause with them.  The leaders of the mutineers told the authorities that they were entirely loyal to England, and they simply wanted redress for their grievances, which the Admiralty eventually granted.  Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar, where he smashed the combined French and Spanish fleets and established British naval supremacy for a century, understood the patriotism of the common seaman, which is why he sent the fleet the message, “England expects every man to do his duty” prior to sailing into the fight.

Nelson in the film is shown as saying of the decorations that he wore in the engagement, “I won them in battle?  Then I’ll wear them in battle.” although he of course realized that this made him a prime target for French snipers.  Nelson had previously lost a right arm and a right eye in prior engagements.  At Trafalgar his luck ran out and he was killed by a French sharpshooter.  However, his stance was not foolhardy.  To direct a fleet action in the early Nineteenth Century an admiral needed to be on deck, and Nelson understood that the attribute prized above all others by the men he led was physical courage.  Nelson was a complete cad in his personal life, but he had in abundance that quality.  The men would fight much harder if they saw their officers coolly displaying complete contempt for death in action, and therefore it was necessary for Nelson to do so.  Additionally, throughout his career he had struggled for better conditions for the men under his command, and they fought their hardest when led by him. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The High Chapparal

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Something for the weekend.  The theme song to my favorite television western of the Sixties, The High Chapparal.  Broadcast on NBC from 1967-1971.  Set in the Arizona territory in the 1870’s the series was well acted by regulars Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell, Mark Slade, Linda Cristal and Henry Darrow.  The scripts were literate with a more realistic feel than was common at the time.  Here is a longer rendition of the theme song:

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Captain Buffalo

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Something for the weekend.  The song Captain Buffalo from the 1960 movie Sergeant Rutledge (1960), John Ford’s salute to the regular army black soldiers who fought in the West in post Civil War America.  Called Buffalo Soldiers, the black troops made up the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments.  While confronting the extreme prejudice of that time, the troops earned accolades for their courage and professionalism. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Holy Mother Russia

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Something for the weekend.  Although I have almost as little sympathy for the tsars as I did for their communist successors, I have always thought that the instrumental  version of God Save the Tsar is one of the most stirring of national anthems.  Below is a fine rendition sung by a choir: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Witchita Lineman

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Something for the weekend.  Witchita Lineman, the signature song of Glen Campbell, written by Jimmy Webb.  If you were alive in 1968 in the United States it was impossible not to have heard this song played endlessly.  I would not say that I like or dislike the song, but rather that it became imprinted upon my 11 year old unconscious that year and has stayed with me ever since.  However, the real reason that I am posting it is due to the classic filksong parody, which I have always been very fond of: ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

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Something for the weekend.  The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot.  I have featured this song before in one of my Saturday posts, but the superb video above that melds the song with information about the sinking of SS Edmund Fitzgerald compelled me to post it again.  Besides we can never have too much Gordon Lightfoot, one of the few musical brightspots in that vast musical wasteland of the last century known as the Seventies.

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