Recently I came across a movie covering an event that I apparently missed in my history classes. The flick came out in 2012 and recounts a decisive battle that took place on September 11th of 1683. Like the infamous Sept. 11th, 2001 that so many of us remember, this battle was also begun by Muslims in the name of Allah. The Day of the Siege is the name of this historical drama that remembers the Muslim army of over 300,000 soldiers from the Ottoman Empire with the intent to conquer Vienna and ultimately Rome thereby turning the Vatican into a mosque. The main character in the piece was a humble Catholic Monk named Marco d’Aviano who lived from 1631 to 1699. It was Marco who encouraged and united the western forces which ultimately led to the defeat of the Ottoman army. (more…)
I was a romantic this Christmas and took Deb to the Houston Symphony’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. As you might imagine Deb was thrilled with the evening and I have to say that I was quite impressed myself. Like many people I had heard parts of Messiah before. One of the most famous movements of the work is the Hallelujah Chorus which draws the audience to their feet like the coronation of British royalty. I wasn’t aware of the unofficial rise of the audience beforehand, but quickly connected it to a respect for Christ the King.
I also didn’t know before the performance that Handel had crafted the entire symphonic work around direct quotations from scripture. That’s it. Every word sung by the soloists and chorus were direct quotes from either the Old or New Testament recounting the life, mission, and glory of Christ. I have some music appreciation and background myself (no; I’m not as barbaric as I might seem at times) so I was able to appreciate the talent and time investment of every piece of the performance from the strings to the soloists and combined vocal chorus to the few brass and wind instruments as they combined into a profound musical and maybe even spiritual experience. It was indeed a great evening. Not to mention I got to sit next to the hottest lady in the building. (more…)