Music and Scenes from the “Desert”

One of the better known monasteries in Russian history is the Valaam monastery. Taken over by government authorities during the time of the Communists and used for other purposes, it has been returned today to the Church and is growing into a full-functioning, thriving monastery, one of the “deserts” where spiritual warfare on behalf of the world is unceasing. The music is a development of the “Valaam Chant” that has its own…

Akathist Hymn: Glory to God for All Things

I have seen several translations of this hymn. This one comes from the site of St. John the Baptist Cathedral (ROCOR) in Washington, D.C. I have edited it only typographically. It was composed by Metropolitan Tryphon (Prince Boris Petrovich Turkestanov) +1934  – but frequently attributed to Father Gregory Petrov, who died in a Soviet prison camp. It continues to grow in its popularity within the Orthodox Church. In my parish’s usage, we…

Where Have You Seen Beauty?

Within the bounds of propriety I will pose the following question: Where have you encountered Beauty and how did it relate to God? I’m just interested in hearing some stories. Be reasonable about length. But bear witness to what you have seen. I’ve written about “music from another room,” my first encounter with Rachmaninov’s Vespers. I could add to that my first encounter with a couple of famous icons. In each case,…

Music from Another Room

In the 1998 Jude Law film Music from Another Room, the lead character makes an argument for love, describing it as being like “music from another room.” Whether you saw the film or liked it, there is something in the metaphor of music from another room that has stayed with me. There is something about our relationship with God that is like music from another room. In this case I do not…

Ars Gratia Artis

This is for my daughter – who is a young artist and in the Governor’s School for the Arts this summer. I say this is for her – though I’m not sure she reads the blog everyday – and, of course, I’m letting the rest of you thousand or two people read it, too, so I guess this is for all of us. The question: what is art? I watched a wonderful…

Now Lay Aside All Earthly Cares

This youtube video has the music of Tchaikovsky’s Cherubimic Hymn. Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim and sing the thrice holy hymn to life-creating Trinity, now lay aside all earthly cares that we may receive the King of All who comes mystically upborne by the angelic hosts. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.