Monday, May 9, 2011

Philosophy Lesson

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:19 PM

From Lhasa de Sela.

Related material:

"Si le grain ne meurt …" (Jean  12:24) and

"In my end is my beginning" (Four Quartets ).

Monday, July 12, 2004

Monday July 12, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:16 AM
Small World

In memory of
Laurance Rockefeller,
who died yesterday at 94

"J. S. Bach's 'Goldberg Variations' is a self-contained world, immersion in which is transformative….

At the end of Variation 30, Bach writes simply 'Aria da capo.' I have written it out for the convenience of the players. This recurrence of the Aria, after its long journey through thirty variations and especially coming immediately after the exuberant Quodlibet (Variation 30), is magical. It is the same Aria, yet subtly different: transformed."

Charles Small, Harvard 1964

"In my end is my beginning."

T. S. Eliot, Harvard 1910

Sunday, February 9, 2003

Sunday February 9, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:26 PM



Yesterday's entry, "Requiem for a Queen," suggested a certain resemblance between the Jedburgh death mask of Mary Queen of Scots and the face of actress Vivien Leigh.  The following links are related to this resemblance.

  1. The first great stage success of Miss Leigh was in a play called "The Mask of Virtue," which opened on May 15, 1935.
  2. Leigh was educated for eight years at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Roehampton.
  3. A requiem mass for Miss Leigh was held at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary's, Cadogan Street, London, on 12th July 1967, at 10 o'clock. On the coffin were her favorite white roses, picked from her garden at Tickerage Mill in Sussex.

Yesterday's site music, "The Water is Wide," was suggested by T. S. Eliot's language in Four Quartets.  Whether Eliot's use of the motto of the Catholic queen Mary Stuart, "In my end is my beginning," was meant as a tribute to that monarch is debatable.  As one web forum entry points out, the motto "Ma fin est ma [sic] commencement" is the title of a rondeau by Guillaume de Machaut written some two centuries earlier, and Eliot may have taken his motto from Machaut rather than Mary.  Some evidence for this is provided by the lyrics for Machaut's rondeau, which include Eliot's phrase "in my beginning is my end" as well as the reversed version.  At any rate, Machaut and Eliot share an interest in four-part compositions — as do I and as did, apparently, the compilers of the Gospels.

A search on the phrase Machaut Eliot "four part"  yields an essay that to me seems like rainbow's-end gold:


by Joseph Dillon Ford

In honor of Ford, Eliot, Machaut, Leigh, and Stuart, today's site music is the "Kyrie" from Machaut's "Messe de Notre Dame."

Saturday, February 8, 2003

Saturday February 8, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 AM

Requiem for a Queen

On February 8, 1587, Mary Queen of Scots was executed.

Jedburgh Death Mask

“En ma Fin gît mon Commencement…”
In my End is my Beginning…”

“This is the saying which Mary embroidered on her cloth of estate whilst in prison in England and is the theme running through her life. It symbolises the eternity of life after death….”

The Marie Stuart Society

Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

— T. S. Eliot, conclusion of “East Coker” in Four Quartets

In keeping with Eliot’s words, tonight’s site music is

The Water is Wide.”

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