17 07 2009

Okay, this was a terrible film, but the music was really good. If you like Baroque music, I would watch it.

Those interested in this rather unpleasant subject should know that the last castrato was born in 1858, and lived long enough to make a modern recording:

(Yes, that is a man.)

One of the many dirty secrets of Catholic society: if we want you to keep singing like an angel, we will, even if it means we have to maim and deform you. Who do you think hit those high notes in the Papal choir? Women?

On the abuse of ecclesiastical power

16 07 2009


Or: Things that happen when clergymen get too enthusiastic

Pope Paul IV when he was a cardinal was in charge of the Roman Inquisition: one of his first acts as a pope was to increase the powers of this institution and the penalties associated with heresy: even some cardinals were charged with heresy and Cardinal Morone was imprisoned in Castel Sant’Angelo as a hidden Lutheran. The pope imposed on the Romans a very austere lifestyle, but allowed his nephew Carlo Carafa to profit from his position to enrich himself and, according to widespread rumours, to behave badly from a moral viewpoint. He forced the Jews of the Papal State to live in two ghettos in Rome and Ancona: he built walls around an area of Rione Sant’Angelo which was subject to floods: the Jews were not allowed to live elsewhere and during the day had to go about wearing a distinctive sign… Pope Paul IV died in August 1559: the Romans reacted to the news by setting fire to the Inquisition palace and by destroying all the coats of arms of the pope: his statue in Campidoglio was beheaded and the head was rolled down the cordonata.

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Ombre de mon amant

15 05 2009

-Jean-Baptiste Lully

Easter Oratorio by J.S. Bach

12 04 2009

Marc-Antoine Charpentier

12 11 2008

Praelium Michaelis Archangeli Factum in Coelo Cum Dracone

Jean-Philippe Rameau – Platée

22 10 2008

Some Mexican culture

5 09 2008

This is by Manuel de Zumaya, an 18th century Kapelmeister of the Mexico City Cathedral, as sung by Chanticleer on their Mexican Baroque CD.