ENDNOTES, December 2020

Ermonela Jaho, credit Wikipedia

ENDNOTES, December 2020

In this edition: opera arias sung by Ermonela Jaho, The Art of the Mandolin, choral music from Keble College, Oxford and Clifton Cathedral. Reviewed by STUART MILLSON

We bid farewell to 2020, the year of Coronavirus in which our opera houses and concert-halls have been closed – with four CDs to inspire us over whatever can be salvaged of the yuletide season. We begin, as the curtain rises across the great opera houses of Europe, with Albanian-born soprano, Ermonela Jaho, paying tribute to a fine singer of a bygone age, Rosina Storchio – star of many Puccini and Mascagni productions. Ms Jaho is accompanied by the Orquestra de la Communitat Valenciana conducted by Andrea Battistoni, who is only in his 20s, but who already has a production of La bohème to his credit.

Despite it being a studio recording, there is a real sense of public drama to the proceedings: soloist and orchestra playing as if they are before a vast concourse – with Ms Jaho building an overwhelming tide of drama and anticipation, even though we are hearing just the famous “snippets” and arias from great operas. The album is launched with the ever-spine-tingling ‘Un bel di, vedremo’ from Madama Butterfly – “One fine day, we will see arising a strand of smoke over the far horizon of the sea… And then the ship appears… Do you see it? He’s arrived…” The anticipation that Butterfly’s husband, Pinkerton, will arrive – surely? – is brilliantly conveyed here. Verdi, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Massenet – all feature on the bill, as well as names not quite so feted, but who deserve more distinction, and certainly receive performances of great commitment here – Boito, Giordano and Catalini. The Opera Rara label deserves acclaim for this recording.

To Deutsche Grammophon next, and an exploration of the The Art of the Mandolin, with Avi Avital and guest appearances by fellow mandolin-players, Aron Sariel and Sean Shibe. The glories of the Venetian baroque sparkle in radiant light, in the form of Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Mandolins in G major (RV 532) – and could Mr. Avital have wished for a more authentic accompanying band of musicians than the Venice Baroque Orchestra? There is, however, no stale reworking of the music of centuries ago: the Vivaldi is played with a bracing freshness – and a broad smile seems to come through the recording, as if the participants have congregated on one of Venice’s squares or bridges to serenade passers-by. The music of Scarlatti also appears on this album, alongside a piece by a contemporary Israeli composer, Ben-Haim – his Sonata a tre – the baroque sound meeting the 20th-century and Middle Eastern influences. All in all, an exciting and pleasing series of musical diversions – with the stamp of Deutsche’s excellent recording techniques most definitely present.

As Advent and Yuletide come upon us, what better way in which to complete the year than with a CD of choral music from Clifton Cathedral, Bristol, entitled – ‘And I saw a new Heaven’. Tavener’s The Lamb is sung with great tenderness, as is John Rutter’s The Lord is my Shepherd – and the voices also prove themselves more than equal to Bruckner’s motet, Os Justi. Clifton’s choral forces consist of 40 voices, and they manage the transition from the small-scale Bruckner, to the grand heights of Parry’s Jerusalem most convincingly – especially in the intriguing arrangement on this disc, in which the musicians of the Lochrian Ensemble provide a chamber-like adornment; their harpist giving this most noble of English hymns a feel of Celtic twilight nostalgia and fading light – or perhaps a garland of West Country spring flowers?

Finally, the echoes of the church-music tradition across the ages are celebrated in a new disc from the choristers of Keble College, Oxford – ‘Carols and music tracing the Journey from Christ the King to Epiphany.’ The plainsong Ave maris stella conjures a vision of candlelight in mediaeval churches – the stillness of a holy night – and the hymn, Lo! He comes with clouds descending will, surely, give any listener – Christian or agnostic – a sense of hope, so convincing – so heartening is the music and message. The yuletide folk-feel of The Cherry Tree Carol is a tribute to the late Sir Stephen Cleobury – associated for nearly four decades with the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge – and it is here that the listener may wish to pause the CD, walk to the kitchen and begin warming the mulled wine.

Other  composers and arrangers of our time also make an appearance, with Lullabybaby by Richard Rodney Bennett, I wonder as I wander by Swiss composer, Carl Rutti, Look up, sweet babe by Sir Lennox Berkeley – and finally, Ave Rex angelorum, an anonymous mediaeval text set by Sir John Tavener;

‘Hail, King of Angels,
Hail, King of Heaven,
Hail, Prince of the poles of the earth.’

With such a recording, may be assured of a peaceful Christmas, with much hope for the New Year.

Stuart Millson is the Classical Music Editor of The Quarterly Review

CD details: Ermonela Jaho, Operatic Favourites, Opera Rara label, ORR 253; The Art of the Mandolin, DG 483 8534; And I saw a new Heaven, Hoxa Sound, HS 1036-18; Ave Rex Angelorum, Choir of Keble College, Matthew Martin – with Jeremy Filsell and Benjamin Mills, organists. CRD 3537.

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Calling all Deplorables

Ilana Mercer

Calling all Deplorables

Ilana Mercer brings a message of hope

“Republicans and Democrats have tinkered with the country’s composition and character long enough to account for Biden’s America. You know it.”—Ilana

I had written what I thought was an inspired column about “Trump Going Into Beast Mode.” It was a post-politics column. It was meant to point disappointed voters away from the crass and crooked politics of democracy, and toward that process Trump always somehow sets in motion. And that process has been Trump’s achievement. He has blown the lid off the American political system in all its corruption, in general, and, of late, he has exposed the farce that is the “democratic” integrity of the system, in particular.

Trump’s latest, unintentional victory is to unmask raw, ripe, unfettered democracy as a travesty to all, unworkable except in a territory the size of the ancient Athenian city-state, or maybe modern-day Monaco or Estonia. Democracy is when everything is up for grabs without constitutional limits. Globalism is an extension of that. Trump has exposed globalism as democracy on a world-wide scale, funded by Americans. Democracy is toxic, from both party perspectives—especially since we no longer have a republic where the central authority has clearly limited and delimited powers. Continue reading

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Transcending Woke Capitalism

Transcending Woke Capitalism

by Mark Wegierski

There is currently a debate underway about the shape and future of conservatism in both America and Canada. But what should a genuine conservatism actually consist of? Conservatism today is a bewildered philosophy, an unwieldy morass of amorphous and mutually incompatible ideas. Despite decades of internecine debate, the contemporary conservative movement in Western societies has failed, generally speaking, to provide a coherent and consistent account of itself. No viewpoint that, holus‑bolus, seeks to unite Barry Goldwater under the same banner as T. S. Eliot could be otherwise. No “vital equilibrium” could ever be that vital.

What can be described as the current malformation of  conservatism has been caused, in part, by its weak and problematic position vis‑à‑vis the modern world. The advance of left‑wing thought and praxis in modern society has compressed all competing “right‑wing” ideologies together, forcing the “fusion” of nineteenth‑century liberalism with traditional  conservatism, so that distinctions between the two have become  increasingly blurred.

This union of what were once two strongly distinct political philosophies is not only regarded as a necessary tactical alliance (as it may well might be) but as a new theoretical and philosophical “synthesis”. Post‑war American conservatism in particular has been preoccupied with sometimes ingenious rationalizations of this new philosophical outlook. George Nash, for example, in his book The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945, divided post‑war American conservatism into three main groupings:  “traditionalists”, “fusionists”, and “libertarians”. Purely on the level of theory, “fusionism”, as a “shot‑gun marriage” between two once‑opposed positions, can be seen as difficult to justify. One could also question to what extent the establishment of “fusionism” as a touchstone idea has helped or hindered the disparate groups of the American Right. Continue reading

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Baked into the System

Head of the Statue of Liberty unpacked, 1885, credit Wikipedia

Baked into the System

Ilana Mercer unmasks voter fraud

Back in 2016, when broadcaster Lars Larson attempted to find out whether one Arcan Cetin was a citizen of the US, ICE (the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) told him, “Sorry, our obligation is to protect this migrant’s privacy.” “Who,” you ask, “is Mr. Cetin”? Cetin is a contributor to the phenomenon I term “murder-by-Muslim-immigrant.” He murdered five innocents, north of Seattle. Arcan Cetin voted, reports Mr. Larson. But nobody at ICE was willing to tell a good citizen like our broadcaster if Cetin voted legally or not.

As it turned out, a sigh of relief was in order. The stellar Mr. Cetin, who, like most Muslim immigrants, voted Democrat, violated the Sixth Commandment five times, but, thank God, did not appear to have violated the commandment against voter fraud. Rumor has it that the murderer had been awarded citizenship, although it’s impossible to ascertain.

You can rest assured. Voter fraud is as rampant in the US as any banana republic—and not only because Americans are barred from checking whether a murderer is a fellow-citizen. But, rather, because the progressive, globalist left has fought down-and-dirty to bar any proof of citizenship at the time of voting. Yes, the law requires, in my state, as in most of these United States, that you be a citizen, as well as a resident of the state in which you’re voting. But you don’t have to provide proof of citizenship, when voting. To vote in Washington State, as in most states, all that’s needed is a driver’s license or a current State ID card. Essentially, the American voting system, thanks to the triumph of left-liberalism, is based on an honor system. Continue reading

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Suburbs in the Country

English Village Scene

Suburbs in the Country

“Bungalow Bill” reports

A recent news report described how the Housing Minister intends to use an algorithm to decide on planning decisions, based on projected population increase and affordability of homes. Planning in our overcrowded island is often a contentious issue. This is especially the case when government intends to relax regulations to increase the pace of development. It would seem that the algorithmic approach is intended to speed up the leisurely pace of local planning decisions. Interestingly, this method appears designed to leap frog what is already in place. Every local authority was required to put in place a structure plan, a device beloved of central government. An algorithm is a sign that whilst civil servants might be satisfied, ministers aren’t so all that effort in creating a plan will be largely time wasted. Incidentally you would look in vain on local authority websites for anything entitled, ‘Progress on Achieving the Plan’.

Building new houses in a town can be somewhat easier if there are brownfield sites which can be used. Villages seldom have these. Added to which their growth over hundreds of years has been organic with odd parcels of land being used for house building by individuals. In the North of England some of the first changes to this date back to the nineteenth century. The coal barons of County Durham simply appropriated common green spaces in villages, to build houses for their miners. Then, in the last century during the inter war years, an agricultural depression saw the eviction of farm workers from tied cottages. As a consequence many villages in rural Yorkshire acquired some council houses. Continue reading

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Pandemonium

Valley of the Shadow of Death, Roger Fenton, credit Wikipedia

Pandemonium

 Covid-19, Dr A. Kneen digs deep

On the 11th of June 2009, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic in relation to Swine Flu (H1N1). In spring of 2009,WHO had altered the definition of what constitutes ‘a pandemic’. In April 2009 the definition had read:

An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.

However, by May 2009 the definition had become:

A disease epidemic occurs when there are more cases of that disease than normal. A pandemic is a worldwide epidemic of a disease. An influenza pandemic may occur when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity.[1]

Large pharmaceutical companies will profit massively from the declaration of a global pandemic through the sale of medical products – drugs, testing equipment, vaccines, etc. It was discovered that a number of WHO advisors had financial links to some of the relevant pharmaceutical companies.

…some experts advising WHO on the pandemic had declarable financial ties with drug companies that were producing antivirals and influenza vaccines […] e.g. WHO’s guidance on the use of antivirals in a pandemic was authored by an influenza expert who at the same time was receiving payments from Roche[2] [..]. Although most of the experts consulted by WHO made no secret of their industry ties …[3]

Continue reading

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The Donald’s Parallel Presidency

William Blake, The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun, Credit Wikipedia

The Donald’s Parallel Presidency

by Ilana Mercer

It was November 7. Fox News had just called the election for ‘sleepy’ Joe Biden. A fellow was waxing fat about his flawless campaign and how his lily-white daughters were all aflutter about Kamala. The delirious faces of network distaff were plastered all over the idiot’s lantern, as they plugged the idea that a glorious election outcome was underway.

The truth is that the fucked-up Biden campaign worked because it targeted a coalition of weepy white women—including those with the Y Chromosome—and the rest of tribal, Third-World America. Joe and Kamala won the un-American, anti-American vote, which is now a majority. The images of the vote-counters proliferating on the Internet mirrored the same constituency: minorities, white men with sunken chests and that angry, radical-professor, ANTIFA demeanor, joined by mountainous women with the signature tumbleweed hair. Pictures are not proof of misconduct, but Trump’s America seems scarce or nowhere apparent in the country’s vote-counting covens.

As expected in the Kamala Harris Administration, Kamala opened the victory celebrations. Parsed, here is the vice President elect’s victory speech: Blacks, Browns, Latinas, people of color, my mother, minorities, me, myself and I. (My white husband? Nope!) Racism everywhere. Systemic. Continue reading

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Combating Critical Race Theory

Florida freshwater swamp, credit Wikipedia

Combating Critical Race Theory

by Ilana Mercer

Critical Race Theory is what Americans will be hearing day in and day out from a Biden- Harris Administration. You might as well familiarize yourselves with its fundamental, farcical pitfalls. Watch these two explanatory videos.

Racism Is A Thought ‘Crime.’ Thought Crimes Are The Prerogative Of A Free People:

https://youtu.be/CVyBLLmXVBk

Critical Race Theory Rapes And Loots Reality:  

https://youtu.be/FXL0NgDSW1Q

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s currently on Gab, YouTube, Twitter & LinkedIn, but has been banned by Facebook.

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ENDNOTES, November 2020

Francis Frith, The Great Pyramid and the Great Sphinx, Google Art Project

ENDNOTES, November 2020

In this edition: Saint-Saëns and Henrique Oswald, Piano Concertos; Piano music by contemporary Iranian composers, Farhat and Tafreshipour, reviewed by STUART MILLSON

A stream of elegant, late-romantic melody this month, courtesy of the SOMM label – which brings listeners a beautifully-recorded programme of piano concertos by Saint-Saëns (his Fifth, “The Egyptian”) and his contemporary, Henrique José Maria Carlos Luis Oswald. The name of Oswald is – I confess – new to me; and he seems to be one of many highly-gifted late-19th-century romantics (such as Litolff and Pierne) overshadowed and obscured by the greater names of the canon. Oswald was born in Brazil in 1852, came to Europe at the age of 16 and studied successfully in Italy – later earning plaudits from Saint-Saëns, to whose style he comes very close. The traditional three-movement (op. 10) concerto is given a light-of-touch, charismatic performance by soloist, Clelia Iruzun, accompanied by the silky-toned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jac van Steen. Throughout its roughly half-an-hour-long course, the work creates a feeling of ever-deeper warmth – of soft-summer garden colours, Chopin-like longing, and yet with the tuneful boldness of Saint-Saëns urging things along – so that despite the dreamy romanticism, there is energy and structure – and real form. Continue reading

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Victory in the West, 1940: Accident or Design?

Traversée des Ardennes, credit Wikipedia

Victory in the West, 1940:
Accident or Design?

BY MILITARY HISTORIAN DR FRANK ELLIS

And when we come to examine their actions and lives [Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, Theseus, and others like them], they do not seem to have had from fortune anything other than opportunity. Fortune, as it were, provided the matter but they gave it its form; without opportunity their prowess would have been extinguished and without such prowess the opportunity would have come in vain.

         Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

Der Gedanke war allerdings kühn, fast zu kühn. Aber ohne Wagemut und Kühnheit sind im Kriege selten große Erfolge zu erzielen.

         Ernst Schmidt, Schlachten des Weltkrieges, Argonnen (1927)

  1. Introduction
  2. Heinz Guderian and his Contribution to Blitzkrieg Doctrine
  3. Hitler’s Denkschrift (9th October 1939) for the Conduct of the War in the West
  4. Incipient Blitzkrieg (Poland, September 1939) and Blitzkrieg complete (France, May-June 1940)
  5. Reliance on Zufall cannot explain German Success in May-June 1940
  6. Conclusion. Blitzkrieg by Name and Blitzkrieg in Action: the German Offensive in the West (10th May 1940)
  1. Introduction

In Blitzkrieg-Legende: Der Westfeldzug 1940 (The Blitzkrieg Myth: The Campaign in the West 1940, 1995), the German historian Karl Heinz-Frieser  argues that the German victory over the Anglo-French forces in May-June 1940 was not planned as a Blitzkrieg since, according to him, there was no formulated Blitzkrieg doctrine. Further, he maintains that the use of the word Blitzkrieg was applied retrospectively by NS-propaganda and that the concept has been uncritically accepted by historians. Frieser believes that Blitzkrieg was a consequence of the German victory in the West in 1940 not its cause. In this article the author challenges the Frieser thesis, arguing that there was a Blitzkrieg doctrine and that its essential components had been formulated by May 1940. Continue reading

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