[ by Charles Cameron — there’s this word, multi-tasking, but multi-listening would be more useful and to the point — counterpoint, that is ]
We know that in general, binocular vision allows us to see an additional depth dimension not available to a single eye — but that’s when both eyes are looking at the same object. Now — after a quick F Scott Fitzgerald refresher — this:
The F Scott Fitzgerald quote you’ll probably recognize, but the one about more “open” personalities being better able to “see” two opposing images — red shown to one eye, green to the other — merging into one more complex image is intriguing, to say the least..
We already know instinctively how to listen to several voices when we listen to music — but when two speaking voices are in conflict, or talking right past each other, or one’s going big picture and the other deviles in the details.. let alone when there are three opinions to be heard, or four, or seventeen..
Below, you’ll find Joni Mitchell singing Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter with lyrics that keep bridging gaps “between yes and no .. altitude and flesh .. some duality .. fire and rain” and summed up in the lines “the eagle and the serpent are at war in me, the serpent fighting for blind desire, the eagle for clarity”. Listening to Joni sing, we can hear her powerful voice and the poetry of her lyrics, her guitar, and at the very least underneath both the driving bass of Jaco Pastorius — three “voices” simultaneously.
Below, too, I’ve posted Bach‘s A minor Fugue, BWV 904 — with the brilliant graphical scoring of Stephen Malinowski — and again, it’s possible to follow two or even three voices, particularly with the assistance of the graphical score.
Now, at a geopolitical conference, or a discussion of Presidency and impeachment, or a board meeting — or on the inside of your skull — how many voices can you hold in tension, in counterpoint, or bring into harmony and concord?
[ by Charles Cameron — with enough joy here for all lovers of classical music, herpetology and the national pastime — but I’m stunned by one most curious herpetology-Bach crossover in particular — and more ]
Here’s a fine DoubleQuote:
I gave you the snake first, in about as amusing a context as I could find: Now here’s the serpentine windings of a Bach melody, as tracked by musical-graphics maestro Stephen Malinowski::
The music is Bach’s Cantata 140 (Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme), performed by members of the Netherlands Bach Society (s part of their All of Bach project.
I think of the vaulted arches of Hermann Hesse’shundred gated cathedral of mind as places where science / technology and the arts / humanities map closely to one another — my locus classicus being the analogy between van Gogh‘s night sky and von Karman‘s vortex street, with which by now you are likely all familiar..
Far more unexpected, yet incredibly rich, it seems to me, is this close correspondence between music and snake. Does this suggest any further explorations to anyone? Ali Minai, anything this suggests for AI? Anyone?
Ada Lovelace‘s vision of the applicability of the Jacquard loom’s punched cards to Charles Babbage‘s engine is another instance, at the apex of an arch, I think — and it’s interesting to note that Lady Lovelace speculated that Babbage‘s machine
might act upon other things besides number… the Engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent
[ by Charles Cameron — bright and dancing Bach — a cantata to give you the fresh spirit of Il Gardellino, then the great Mass in B Minor in their brilliant version ]
J.S. Bach: Cantata “Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal” BWV 146:
This recording fairly leaps out at you, it’s so crisp and dance-like! Brilliant!
And then, enthused by that magnificent cantata, here’s the B Minor Mass in all its glory, with voices that have been hidden, unheard, in all the other renderings I’ve heard — and I love the Corboz, for instance — and those inner voices, clear as bells..
And if your Sunday evening is almost gone, bookmark this post and return to it when you have time — such a fine performance of one of the three or four greatest sacred choral works in the Western tradition!
I’m tired of chasing chyrons. If I see stunners, I may bring them here, but I’ll be concentrating on other things.
I was surprised to overhear the words “perfect sacrifice” in a baseball commentary my room-mate was attendinmg to, but apparently the phrase fits in the context of bunts – what those are, I still don’t know – as well as they do in the context of the Eucharistic liturgy, often considered, eg by Pope John Paul II , as a perfect sacrifice of praise..
What can I say? My ears perked up.
Three levels of beauty for your illumination:
Lidia Ksiazkiewicz at her instrument:
Lidia Ksiazkiewicz plays Bach’s Fantasia in G major, BWV 572, on the great organ of Laon cathedral in 2012:
This one’s an almost ouroboros — Chris Matthews on Hardball:
The Democrats don’t know how to play hardball>>
From the poets — Walt Whitman:
both in and out of the game, and watching
Life, the game, yes. And Shakespeare:
The southern wind
Doth play the trumpet to his purposes,
And by his hollow whistling in the leaves
Foretells a tempest and a blustering day.
Marvelous. Those unexpected words can break through the strands of conventional thought that spin their deadly shroud about us every day.
Within a few hours of Joe Biden’s official presidential announcement, the Justice Democrats, the progressive group behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rise to power, brought out the flamethrower.
So as you see, this is the sort of amount that would have made the first quarter of a chyrons series post a couple of weeks ago, and today it’s all I’ve collected in a week or so. I’m really cutting back on this game, and will be concentrating on other areas..
Let’s close here with this trio:
That’s the rough number.
That’s just this last week.
And here’s the exact figure, if there’s no margin of error, which seems unlikely..
I’m leaving some terrorism screen-grabs for a later post.
[ by Charles Cameron — logic, the arts, and technology offer an Easter, resurrection corrective, philosophically speaking, to the ruin of the cathedral of Notre Dame ]
For the terrible fire that consumed so much of Notre Dame de Paris this week, grief is great. Here, I wish to recall some of the ways in which the essence of the great cathedral has been saved.
Above, Piero della Francesca‘s Madonna della Misericordia. Our Lady of Mercy, for whom the cathedral was named, continues to shelter us all..
Perhaps the most extraordinary, as well as the most abstract, form of Notre Dame to survive fire, war, and the French Revolutionary idea — to replace Mary with the goddess Reason enthroned in her place — is the logic embedded in the theology that accompanied its building and — lex orandi, lex credendi — the worship within it, for which purpose it was designed and built
The American philosopher CS Peirce was among the first to propose a kinship between Gothic architecture and the logic of the Paris schoolmen:
Art felt the spirit of a new age, and there could hardly be a greater change than from the highly ornate round-arched architecture of the twelfth century to the comparatively simple Gothic of the thirteenth. Indeed, if any one wishes to know what a scholastic commentary is like, and what the tone of thought in it is, he has only to contemplate a Gothic cathedral. The first quality of either is a religious devotion, truly heroic. One feels that the men who did these works did really believe in religion as we believe in nothing. We cannot easily understand how Thomas Aquinas can speculate so much on the nature of angels, and whether ten thousand of them could dance on a needle’s point. But it was simply because he held them for real. If they are real, why are they not more interesting than the bewildering varieties of insects which naturalists study; or why should the orbits of double stars attract more attention than spiritual intelligences?
Erwin Panofsky‘s work, Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism, is the central presentation of the parallels. Pierre Bourdieu, who translated Panofsky into French, characterizes the work:
The parallelism between the development of Gothic art and the development of scholastic thought in the period between about 1130–1140 and about 1270 cannot be brought out unless one “brackets off phenomenal appearances” and seeks the hidden analogies between the principles of logical organization of Scholasticism and the principles of construction of Gothic architecture. This methodological choice is dictated by the intention of establishing more than a vague “parallelism” or discontinuous, fragmentary “influences”. Renouncing the semblances of proof which satisfy intuitionists or the reassuring but reductive circumstantial proofs which delight positivists, Panofsky is led to identify the historical convergence which provides the object of his research with a hidden principle, a habitus or “habit-forming force”.
How could Notre-Dame be burning? How could Notre-Dame, which had survived for eight centuries—survived plague and wars of religion, survived the French Revolution, survived the Nazis—be falling? Notre-Dame, the heart of Paris, not only a Catholic site but the preeminent symbol of European cultural consciousness, the heart of France, the kilometer zero from which all its farthest villages are measured—how could this majestic structure collapse so fast
— Oh, ruin, from the Latin ruere, meaning to fall.. John Milton, Paradise Lost:
Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled
Viollet-le-Duc‘s 19th century spire, in this archaic sense of the word, ruined.
Fortunately, a few years back the entire structure was mapped with ferocious accuracy by Vassar professor Andrew Tallon, using advanced laser photography to capture detail — wear and tear included, to an accuracy of a tenth of an inch:
Now, with the building having sustained untold but very substantial damage, the data that Tallon and Blaer created could be an invaluable aid to whoever is charged with rebuilding the structure. Ochsendorf described the data as “essential for capturing [the structure] as built geometry.” (He added, however, that the cathedral, no matter what happens now, “is irreplaceable, of course.”)
Tallon and Blaer’s laser data consist of 1 billion data points, structured as “point clouds,” which software can render into images of the three-dimensional space. Stitch them together, inside and out, map the photographs onto the precise 3-D models, and you have a full digital re-creation of incredible detail and resolution.
Professor Tallon died less than six months ago, in November 2018, age 49. If you’re looking for another Easter parallel, Tallon may be metaphysically resurrected with the promised rebuilding of the cathedral he so loved and diligently studied.
It appears that the great Rosace Nord (north rose window) survived the fire —
By far the greatest blessing – a miracle – is that the Rosace Nord has survived. The South and West windows were very extensively restored in the 18th and 19th century, but the North Rose Window has stood basically unchanged for 800 years, the glass is the 13th century original.
To close with a blaze..
In January of this year, Olivier Latry, titular organist of Notre Dame, made what is very likely the final recordings of music on the cathedral’s great organ, for a recording which was released in March, just weeks before the terrible fire. The organ, as built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in the nineteenth century, houses some 8,000 pipes; it seems the fire has left it largely intact, though with damage to its electrical systems and wind-chest.
Olivier Latry plays Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 on the Cavaillé-Coll organ of Notre-Dame de Paris::
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