Tuesday, February 16, 2010

`Some Secret Part of Our Heart'

From my brother comes this perfect alignment of composer, performer and setting: Mstislav Rostropovich playing the Prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, in the Basilique Sainte Madeleine, V├ęzelay, Yonne, France, in 1991. It compliments something I read last night in F.H. Buckley’s The Morality of Laughter (The University of Michigan Press, 2003):

“The spirit of the age is journalistic, and journalism flattens life down to the merely political. Conservatives bemoan the retreat from high culture but misdiagnose the cause. It is not so much that the canon has been abandoned, but that we no longer share the sense of transcendence that inspired Donne and Crashaw, Tallis and Bach, Bellini and Carpaccio, or makes them comprehensible to us. The anguished passion that finds its resolution through a mystical unity, the communion with those who speak to some secret part of our heart, the reverence for things that are hidden, all these inform our high culture; but for those without a sense of sanctity they are like a foreign language for which we lack the code.”

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