Sunday, May 17, 2015

Recently flowers of roses were given by the Pope

Back in Firenze, my mind drifts, and my thoughts are filled with The Dome, that of Santa Maria del Fiore, invisible from where the Empress and I are staying, but last year ever-present, sometimes inviting, sometimes forbidding, yet always breathtaking. I loved when a visitor, invited in, would talk and walk and suddenly be stopped dead at our breakfast table exclaiming what?! or, on occasion, holy Jesus fuck.

Consecrated on the 25th of March 1436 by Pope Eugenius IV, who presented (as popes do quite often - did you know?) a mystical and rare rose of gold, representing satiety, joy and love, and even I would think that one can never have enough joy or love, popes have different opinions, and they are known to concern themselves with all sorts of limitations, eschewing the modern dictum of do what thou willst being the whole of religious law. But that rose also represented the rod of Jesse falling on his foot and the fruit bearing forth and, along with the lion lying with the lamb, and the child leading them all.

So now, let's have another gelato, and while we do, let us listen to the work that accompanied the consecration of that Cathedral, titled by the act of the rose recently given, written by Dufay:

It's a incredibly well-structured piece, and thrilling to music theorists and historians and intuitionists alike. Historians as it sits at the inflection point between the isorhythmic style that preceded and the freer polyphony that followed; theorists as it is chock full of rhythmic devices, including the 6:4:2:3 integrally changing mensuration, not quite diminishing; intuitionists as the work is immensely satisfying as it accelerates to its pretty end. It's hard to imagine that, with such a powerful and affecting work, Mr. Dufay didn't find the pope, or at least one or two of the members of the choir, deigning to consecrate him, like the cathedral, by their sacred hands and holy liquors, this being the reason we composers do what we do. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Magical Thinking

There is no logical line of reasoning which would lead one to choose a career in the arts. It is a hopeless endeavor, guaranteeing only such anxiety, ridicule, disfavor and failure as to bring one to an early death. Even worse is to have additionally ordered, out of the menu of life's idiocies, a soup├žon of great expectations sprinkled over top, as these will lend even a bitterer taste, that of a bright future tragically unmet. Yet every day, we see bags of newly-minted and fresh-faced young folks unloaded off the trucks arriving in the Big Art City, fresh from the farm, dreaming of the stardom that they so deserve and so clearly must achieve that they can hear its metallic clang ringing just off in the distance.

We feel the specialness of us in ourselves, we understand that we are the ones who will be chosen, if we just believe, if we just work hard, if we just climb hand over hand without stopping nor questioning. Studiousness and perseverance are our tools, and we set our faces determinedly toward the sun. But, someday, we will have to scratch the sparkling silver foil from off the lottery ticket, and see revealed all the possibilities left unfulfilled: two out of three liberty bells, mismatched dollar amounts, a not-quite diagonal bingo line. We try to get back to the 7-Eleven® to buy another, but they are there no longer, replaced long ago by a Chinese restaurant now out of business, fortune cookies crumbling on the sidewalk, their enclosed slips of paper blown away or so faded they can no longer be read.

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