Two Things

It is a rainy, cool morning in Buffalo.  We had a big storm last night ahead of the cold front from Canada that tore through the Great Lakes.  The weather is a welcome respite from yesterday’s wet, lethargic ninety degrees.  More brown leaves steeped in rain stain the sidewalks.  Time passes, etc.  August, the worst month, is mercifully ended.  Something about August drives me insane.  Watching everyone prepare to go back to school, either to work or to learn, and knowing that I would not be joining them made this year especially difficult.

I fell asleep last night listening to Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World.  It is an all-time favorite of mine.  Friends, especially friends from college, tended to think the New World Symphony was overplayed, which is certainly true.  I have a predilection for immensely popular classical music like this, though.  There is a reason everyone enjoys listening to it.  It is a perfect realization of Dvořák’s harmonics and aesthetics.  The prominence of the pentatonic scale, which Dvořák noted was common to the “the music of the negroes and of the Indians,” produces strong, memorable melodies that give the entire symphony a satisfying, comforting, lyrical character.  This is the main strength that I appreciate in his music: the melodic line.  The melody is similarly prominent in most Romantic music, but there is something ineffable and different about Dvořák’s work.  “Heart-rending” comes to mind.

I have had sitting in a tab in my web browser the following photograph for a couple of months now.  The minute I saw it I was completely taken aback.

Armor of the Dauphin Henri, the future King Henry II, Musee de l'Armee, Paris

Armor of the Dauphin Henri, the future King Henry II, Musee de l’Armee, Paris

The detail is extraordinary, especially when you consider the age of the suit of armor.  Something also about the biohazard symbol on the right shoulder.  It is actually a triquetra, a Norse/Celtic religious symbol that was later used in Christianity to represent the trinity.  But it gives the suit a sort of ancient/modern character that makes it seem anachronistic in any time period.  Something also about a helmet with no eyes visible behind the visor.  More soon.

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