Friday, January 29, 2016

De Profundis – Arvo Pärt

Today’s selection is Arvo Pärt’s setting of “De Profundis”. The performance is by the The Hilliard Ensemble (David James counter tenor; John Potter tenor; Paul Hillier baritone; David Bevan bass) with Christopher Bowers-Broadbent on organ & Albert Bowen on percussion.

After today, Robert Frost’s Banjo will be on hiatus through the month of February. The next post should be up on March 1st.

Thanks as always for your interest; it is much appreciated.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:The Pillars of Creation: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has revisited the famous Pillars of Creation, revealing a sharper and wider view of the structures in this visible-light image.

Astronomers combined several Hubble exposures to assemble the wider view. The towering pillars are about 5 light-years tall. The dark, finger-like feature at bottom right may be a smaller version of the giant pillars. The new image was taken with Hubble's versatile and sharp-eyed Wide Field Camera 3.

The pillars are bathed in the blistering ultraviolet light from a grouping of young, massive stars located off the top of the image. Streamers of gas can be seen bleeding off the pillars as the intense radiation heats and evaporates it into space. Denser regions of the pillars are shadowing material beneath them from the powerful radiation. Stars are being born deep inside the pillars, which are made of cold hydrogen gas laced with dust. The pillars are part of a small region of the Eagle Nebula, a vast star-forming region 6,500 light-years from Earth.

The colors in the image highlight emission from several chemical elements. Oxygen emission is blue, sulfur is orange, and hydrogen and nitrogen are green.

A number of Herbig-Haro jets lengthened noticeably (in the 20-year interval between the two Hubble images.

Object Names: M16, Eagle Nebula, NGC 6611

Published by: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

This file is in the public domain in the United States because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Nunc Dimittis

Today’s selection is the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir performing Arvo Pärt’s setting of “Nunc Dimittis”.

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

νῦν ἀπολύεις τὸν δοῦλόν σου, δέσποτα, κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου ἐν εἰρήνῃ·
ὅτι εἶδον οἱ ὀφθαλμοί μου τὸ σωτήριόν σου,
ὃ ἡτοίμασας κατὰ πρόσωπον πάντων τῶν λαῶν,
φῶς εἰς αποκάλυψιν ἐθνῶν καὶ δόξαν λαοῦ σου Ἰσραήλ.


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons
Part of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field:     September 24, 2003 - January 16, 2004
The bright galaxy is UDF 423 with an apparent magnitude of 20.
NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team
Public domain: This file is in the public domain in the United States because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

dreaming of Arvo Pärt

Arvo Pärt improvising on the pipe organ, its
ivory keys yellowed, exhaling notes that can't 

be gauged—the mauve shade drawn just now be-
tween the land of the sacred & everyday
night—& last year's blossoming jigsaw
puzzles & wheelchair & charcoal pencil all
waiting for the tintinnabulation of
next week’s waning February moon

& kids kicking a ball in the park by the brick 

firehouse under a blue blue sky streaked with one
contrail angling southwest one line of mare’s tails
angling southeast to meet at a point in in-
finite space beyond the white clapboard
cottage where an orange caged finch warbles—kids
in blue red purple gray black pink plumage, the 

grass lush from January rain & uncut though
who can tell how tomorrow will rise up east of
the viridian water tower & this
instant & eternity struggling within us

back east an actual snowfall & your breath
plain to hear as if even snowflakes failed to
absorb the sound the rib cage no longer in-
voluntary & the body's polyphony a

temple bell sounding a g note transmuted
to its natural harmonic at the guitar's
19th fret escaping the ramshackle fence col-
lapsing under wisteria & ivy & last year's

rose hips last year's hickory leaves fallen like
stars to the sidewalk—the gray stone exterior
of a Chinese restaurant named Swan Garden
blanketed in moss as if each stone dozed in
the slanting afternoon sun rays where life goes
white without a prism—tonight will be clear
but the moon wanes & just last Friday it rose
waxing aluminum white above the 20th
Avenue Bridge between the horns of a steel
cloud as if an antlered crane tomb guardian soared
from ancient Chu to your Massachusetts bedside

on Interstate a flock of seagulls swoops
counterclockwise above the light rail: gray-
white cries tracing catenaries & intersections;
to the north a pair of crows arc clockwise black 

& purple: these birds describing a figure 
8 infinity while Arvo Pärt’s hands on a chord,
feet on the pedals, raises his beatific beard,
enunciates nunc dimittis, sends it floating
floating up to the net of unblinking stars

Jack Hayes
© 2016

More music by Arvo Pärt will appear tomorrow & Friday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Salve Regina – Arvo Pärt

Today we’re featuring Arvo Pärt’s 2001 setting of “Salve Regina” for mixed choir & organ.

Image connects to its source on Wiki Commons
Essen Minster, where the work was first performed.
Photo by Wiki Commons user Gryffindor, who has released the image into the public domain worldwide.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Agnus Dei – Palestrina: “Missa Brevis”

I’ll be featuring music over the next several days—with very little if any commentary, though I will include links about the composer & the work. Today’s selection is the "Agnus Dei" from the "Missa Brevis" by the Renaissance composer Palestrina; most, however, will feature the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.

Thanks as always.

Image links to its soruce on Wiki Commons
Crozier representing a lamb, Italian art. 13th century; carved ivory
Photohraph by Marie-Lan Nguyen, who has released the image into the public domain

Sunday, January 24, 2016

lullaby in violet & green

static on a tv set broadcasting
weather from Poland Springs, that Vermont
horizon purple above the neighbors’ big
oak & the pine fringed hills to the west

you reading aloud "The King of the Golden
River" at blue dusk in a bedroom with one
open dormer window curtain floating
on the scent of lilacs blooming like twilight

can you sleep? can the train whistle sing in
harmony with the whip-poor-will in the green
night in a summer that existed once
beside a river & the brown-grey riprap?

but time doesn’t move in summer’s direction—
though it does stop: at day’s end always so much
undone & where you are it’s snowing snowing
now because you have no winter blanket

Jack Hayes
© 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

thinking of Li Bai at the edge of the sky

thinking of Li Bai at the edge of the sky

cold winds arise here at the edge of the sky;
noble friend, what news do you have to send me?

will the swan geese return in their season?
rivers & lakes swell now with the autumn rains

poetry detests the life of attainment,
& demons take their delight in those who stray

you should speak with that other wronged poet’s ghost,
cast a poem as offering into the Miluo 

based on Du Fu: 天末懷李白
tiān mò huái lĭ bái

Note: The poem is of course addressed to Du Fu’s great contemporary, Li Bai, who had been exiled (& narrowly escaped a death sentence) as a result of the turmoil caused by the An Lushan rebellion; this upheaval also had displaced Du Fu to the southern edge of the empire.

Additionally, the “other wronged poet” referred to in the final couplet is Qu Yuan, a poet from the “Warring States” period who lived during the late 4th & early 3rd centuries BCE. Like Li Bai, Qu Yuan was exiled during a period of turmoil, & finally committed ritual suicide by throwing himself into the Miluo River in Hunan province. Qu Yuan is an important mytho-historical figure, & indeed, the Dragon Boat Festival is held to commemorate him. See also the reference to Qu Yuan in Du Fu’s “deep winter”.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:

Painting (cropped) of the ancient Chinese poet Qu Yuan by the late Ming era painter Chen Hongshou.  c. 1598-1652
Public domain