Something for the Weekend. We Three Kings of Orient Are. If ever our nation needed the hope and love brought into the world by Christ, it was in the midst of the Civil War in 1863 when this great hymn first appeared in print. Written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., a deacon of the Episcopal Church in 1875, this song captures well the longing of all Christians during Advent for Christmas, the commemoration of the birth of the Alpha and the Omega. Continue reading
I wish to live under no other government, & there is no sacrifice I am not ready to make for the preservation of the Union save that of honour. If a disruption takes place, I shall go back in sorrow to my people & share the misery of my native state, & save in her defence there will be one soldier less in the world than now. I wish for no other flag than the “Star Spangled banner” & no other air than “Hail Columbia.” I still hope that the wisdom & patriotism of the nation will yet save it.
Robert E. Lee, January 22, 1861
Something for the weekend. Hail Columbia. Composed in 1789 by Philip Phile for Washington’s first inaugural, and originally entitled The President’s March, lyrics were supplied by Joseph Hopkinson in 1798. Hail Columbia functioned as the unofficial national anthem of the United States up until the 1890s. Here is a scene from the John Adams miniseries where it is sung: Continue reading
Something for the weekend. It is a political season and so we take a look at If The Johnnies Get Into Power, a campaign song of the James Garfield campaign in the election of 1880. For a generation Republicans would “wave the bloody shirt” against Democrats, conjuring up the bogeyman of the terrible things that would happen if the Democrats, Confederate loving traitors!, elected a President. In the South Democrats would return the favor, using hatreds born of the Civil War and Reconstruction to keep the South a one party section of the nation. Not the most edifying period in the political history of our nation.
Here is a video of the great Johnny Cash singing a song about the assassination of James Garfield: Continue reading
Something for the Weekend. Liberty Song. Written by Founding Father John Dickinson in 1768, the song was sung by patriots in America to the tune of Heart of Oak. The video above is the most hilarious scene from the John Adams mini-series where a completely fish out of water John Adams gets donations for the American cause from French aristocrats as they sing the Liberty Song, led by Ben Franklin who is obviously immensely enjoying himself. It is a good song for Americans to recall, and perhaps especially so in this year of grace, 2012. Continue reading
Say to your Son that I am His.
Through Him all my sins are lost:
Forgive me, as Mary Egypt was,
Or, so they say, Theophilus,
Who by your grace was still blameless,
Though he vowed the Devil a guest.
Protect me always from like excess,
Virgin, who bore, without a cry,
Christ whom we celebrate at Mass.
In this faith let me live and die.
Something for the weekend. Song of the Vagabonds sung by the Robert Shaw chorale. Song of the Vagabonds is the showstopper song in the 1925 operetta The Vagabond King by Rudolph Friml. The operetta is an imaginative fantasy set in 15th Century Paris where Louis XI, the Spider King, makes Francois Villon, brilliant poet and petty thief, Marshal of France for a day after he criticizes Louis. Villon must defeat the Burgundian Army besieging Paris or be hanged. Villon rallies the Paris rabble, his people, and defeats the Burgundians. He wins the woman he loves and goes into exile for her. Alas, not a syllable is true to history. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. I feel in the mood for a little Irish rebel music, and nothing fits the bill better than The Rising of the Moon sung by the Clancy Brothers. 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. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. It rather astonishes me how time has flown, but in October The American Catholic will be celebrating its third anniversary which puts me in a nostalgic mood. This is one of the first of the music videos that I run on Saturdays, from October 18, 2008. Two versions of Franz Waxman’s immortal Ride to Dubno, aka Ride of the Cossacks: dueling pianists and the full Hollywood treatment in the 1962 movie Taras Bulba for which the song was composed. Great to listen to if you need an energy boost.
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. Continue reading
The Advent portions of Handel’s Messiah. The above video is the Overture.
Next we have “Comfort Ye” which is a messianic text from Isaiah 40.
“Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to
Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her
iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for
our God. ”
Some fun stuff for the weekend.
The internet is truly a wonderful invention. Without it, we’d be deprived of clips like these that make us weep for our civilization.
The first clip is a cover of the great Pink Floyd song “Comfortably Numb.” If you can make it through without weeping, you are truly made of sterner stuff than me. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. Veni, Veni Emmanuel. The words of this magnificent hymn are from the 9th century and the melody is from 15th century France.
It is Advent, so we are all hearing a lot of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, usually in English, at Mass, a song I have always loved. The version above is from Casting Crowns, a Christian Rock group that my daughter is fond of. I was stunned last year when I came across this, as I like it, and I usually refer to the music she enjoys as “animal killing music”! Continue reading
Something for the weekend. The Minstrel Boy. The patriotic Irish song was written by Thomas Moore in honor of his friends killed in the Irish rising of 1798. The video above is from the incredibly good movie Rough Riders, with some of the Rough Riders singing the song before charging up Kettle Hill on July 1, 1898.
The song is sung just after the death of Captain Bucky O’Neill who, the son of Irish immigrants, had made The Minstrel Boy the song of his company.
Theodore Roosevelt describes the death of O’Neill:
“The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. O’Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover – a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, ‘The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted.’ As O’Neill moved to and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of the sergeants said, ‘Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you.’ O’Neill took his cigarette out of his mouth, and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed and said, ‘Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn’t made that will kill me.’ A little later he discussed for a moment with one of the regular officers the direction from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he turned on his heel a bullet struck him in the mouth and came out at the back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant soul had gone out into the darkness.”
Bucky O’Neill is portrayed in the film by Sam Elliot who gives his usual fine perormance. Continue reading