Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Bible Tweets: 1st Sunday of Advent



Farò rimarginare la loro piaga, li curerò e li risanerò; si stupiranno e fremeranno x tutto il bene e la pace che concederò loro. Jer 33:6,9

Verranno giorni nei quali farò germogliare x Davide 1 germoglio giusto, ke eserciterà il giudizio e la giustizia sulla terra. Jer 33:15

Il Signore indicherà la via da scegliere. I miei occhi sn sempre rivolti a lui, è lui ke fa uscire dalla rete il mio piede. Ps 25:12,15

Il Signore vi faccia sovrabbondare nell'amore × rendere saldi i vs ♥ e irreprensibili nella santità alla venuta del Signor ns Gesù. 1 Thessalonians 3:12–13

Dio, che vi dona il suo santo Spirito, non ci ha chiamati all'impurità, ma alla santificazione. Questa infatti è volontà di Dio. 1 Thessalonians 4:7–8,3
Lk 21:19,28
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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Saint John Chrysostom: Homilies on Saint Matthew's Gospel, no.46, 2

Our Lord next puts forward the parable of the yeast. “Just as yeast communicates its invisible force to the whole lump of dough, so will the force of the Gospel transform the whole world by means of the apostles' ministry... Don't ask me: 'What can we twelve, miserable sinners do in face of the whole world?' This is precisely the vast difference between cause and effect, between a handful of men before a crowd, which will demonstrate the stunning effect of your strength. Isn't it by mixing the yeast into the dough, by 'hiding' it as the Gospel says, that it transforms the whole lump? In the same way, apostles of mine, it is by being mixed into the great mass of peoples that you will impregnate them with your spirit and win victory over your adversaries. Even as it disappears into the mass, yeast does not lose its strength. To the contrary, it changes the whole dough's nature. In the same way, your preaching will change all peoples. Therefore, be full of confidence”...

It is Christ who grants such great strength to this yeast... So don't blame him for the small number of his disciples: it is the strength of the message that is great... A spark is enough to change a few sticks of dry wood into a blaze that will afterwards set even all the green wood at the edge on fire.
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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Bible Tweets: 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Hi!

Thought I'd do this again. Won't have much time for blogging/tweeting for a bit since my parents are popping down for a bit. They're heading to fair Verona first. That's what Shakespeare called it, so it's probably true.

Insieme alla sapienza mi sono venuti tutti i beni; mi conceda Dio di riflettere in modo degno dei doni ricevuti. Sap 7,11.15 (Wis 7:11,15)

In Cristo, il mistero di Dio, sono nascosti tutti i tesori della sapienza e della conoscenza. Col 2,2–3 (Col 2:2–3)

Prima ke il mondo fosse generato, da sempre e x sempre tu sei, o Dio; noi voliamo via. Sia su di noi la dolcezza del Signore. Sal 90,2.10.17 (Ps 90:2,10,17)

Viene la fine: ecco, viene! Getteranno l'argento per le strade e il loro oro si cambierà in immondizia. Ez 7,6.19 (Ezek 7:6,19)

Infatti la parola di Dio è viva, efficace e più tagliente di ogni spada a doppio taglio. Eb 4,12 (Heb 4:12)

Bene per me è la legge della tua bocca, più di mille pezzi d'oro e d'argento. Sal 119,72 (Ps 119:72)




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Monday, 8 October 2012

Preghiera del Corista


S. Geminiano
Pensavo di trovare questa prehiera da qualche parte sul web, ma invece no, per cui: 
(di S. Ecc. Rev.ma Bartolomeo Santo Quadri)

Padre Santo, onnipotente e misericordioso, con Gesù e lo Spirito Santo, aiutaci a ben prepararci per fare del nostro canto una espressione sempre più bella e convinta, pura e gioisa del nostro amore per Te e per tutti i Tuoi figli e nostri fratelli che ci ascoltano. Te lo chiediamo per intercessione di Maria Santissima, Madre del Tuo figlio, di Santa Cecilia e di San Geminiano, meravigliosi cantoi del Tuo amore per l’umanità.
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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Adventures in Nature


Force of Change Evolution
© Ade McO-Campbell / www.buckleburyweb.co.uk/ade/ / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Hurrah! The Italian Co-Op is running another nature-based card-collecting thingamy, Avventure nella natura. Noemi liked the last one, with stickers, so we went so far as to buy the book to put them in this time. Trouble is that, unlike the last collection, which was a lot more international, this one is focused on Italy, so it’s harder to translate into English. Animals in other continents have names which are much easier to guess; you’d have to be a bit simple not to work out what a giraffa or an elefante is, but a picchio?

So, much to Monica’s despair, I set out to find the names for everything. It’s generally not difficult, what with wikipedia and all (you just have to keep an eye on the Latin taxonomy), but I found it quite interesting…

It’s satisfying when you can correct the dictionary; Hoepli calls a salamandra pezzata a spotted salamander, but it looks to me a lot more like a fire salamander, which is also a much more satisfying name! The libellula damigella still has me stumped though. You don’t find helpful hits for it in Google in Italian. Literally, you get “damsel/demoiselle dragonfly”. Does it just mean damselfly, generically? That’s different from a dragonfly. Anyway, there are specific ones called the beautiful demoiselle and the banded demoiselle. I can’t work it out.

I like the ones that you wouldn’t ever guess, and there are plenty of those: a colubro di riccioli is called Riccioli’s snake apparently, but also a southern smooth snake, which makes you wonder where all the rough snakes are hidden. North America and Australia, it would appear. Farnia is English oak (though oak is usually quercia) despite the fact that you can find it in most of Europe and it’s called French oak as well! Perhaps something to do with the Royal Oak. A ragno zebra should be a zebra spider, but you can see it isn’t. We reckon it looks more like a wasp. Speaking of spiders, I was surprised to learn that a water shrew in Italian is a toporagno d‘acqua, since toporagno is “spidermouse” (spidermouse, does whatever a spider… might espouse…). So why’s that then? They’ve only, “like many shrews”, got “venomous saliva, making it one of the few venomous mammals”! I never knew. Having followed the intriguing link, I shall never turn my back on a male platypus again! What goes by the name of saettone (“great big lightning bolt”) in Italian is a dignified “Aesculapian snake” in English. At some point I must work out how to pronounce that. Conversely, the humble newt (pace Gussie Fink-Nottle) is named for Triton in Italian (as are mermen) – tritone. An ofride verde–bruna (“green–brown ophrys”) is an early spider orchid round our way, because it looks like a spider. One who is early, presumably. A foca monaca mediterranea is obviously a Mediterranean monk seal, but shouldn’t it be a nun (monaca) seal? I think we should be told.

The Co-Op says there’s such a thing as a lupo appenninico, but apparently not everyone is so sure. I learnt another name for stick insects too: phasmid (and fasmidi in Italian). It’s from the Greek “φάσμα phasma, meaning an apparition or phantom”, which is a slightly more romantic notion than sticks. Putting the English name to a puma (yes, yes, I know) is harder than you might think; it has more than 40, which makes it a Guinness record-holder. I’d forgotten that there was a bird called a shag (tee hee!), but I didn’t realise that it was a kind of (crested?) cormorant (marangone [dal ciuffo]). I like cormorants. I like the fact that they stick their wings out heraldically to dry because their feathers aren’t waterproof so they can dive further into the sea. Wikipedia tells me that it was used as a symbol of the cross and reminds me (obviously I already knew – cough) that Milton’s Satan adopted the cormorant as a disguise. I also learnt of the rana pollo delle montagne: it’s a massive frog that the locals hunt for and call… a mountain chicken!

Satisfyingly, there is one – count them, one – animal with no translation. An Italian dog called a cirneco dell’etna. Voglio dire, mica si può tradurre tutto! There’s another dog in there called a pastore maremmano–abruzzese, but that’s a Maremma sheepdog; not sure what the abruzzesi make of that…

Monica reckons I enjoy this much more than Noemi. She might be right.
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Monday, 1 October 2012

Coro


A mio avviso, c’è un aspetto della musica sacra che è stato stranamente trascurato nella Chiesa in Inghilterra e Italia, nonostante delle ottime intenzioni: la piena e attiva partecipazione di tutto il popolo. Da convertito dal protestantesimo ho sempre trovato stranissimo la mancanza di voglia di cantare alla messa. Infatti, pur riconoscendone la verità dal mio passato altrove, non ho mai sperimentato il seguente in una chiesa cattolica:
“Non c’è niente di più solenne e festoso nelle sacre celebrazioni di una assemblea che, tutta, esprime con il canto la sua pietà e la sua fede.” (Musicam Sacram 16)
“A tale piena e attiva partecipazione di tutto il popolo va dedicata una specialissima cura.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 14)
Per qualche motivo l'inglese è più forte; è “to be considered before all else” (MS (en) 16). In altri documenti ci sono riferimenti più specifici ai cori:
“Il «coro» o «cappella musicale» o «schola cantorum» […] deve infatti […] favorire la partecipazione attiva dei fedeli nel canto.” (Musicam Sacram 19)
“Tra i fedeli esercita un proprio ufficio liturgico la schola cantorum o coro, il cui compito è quello di […] promuovere la partecipazione attiva dei fedeli nel canto.” (Ordinamento Generale del Messale Romano 103)
A me pare che il metodo più diffuso per tentare di raggiungere questo obiettivo è quello di abbandonare la musica bella ma difficile per quella più accessibile. Non è ottimale, anche se è comprensibile. Comunque, siamo capaci di più:
“Con una adatta catechesi e con esercitazioni pratiche si conduca gradatamente il popolo ad una sempre più ampia, anzi fino alla piena partecipazione a tutto ciò che gli spetta.” (MS 16b)
Per me, un coro parrocchiale e tenuto a pensare all’assemblea, a condividere le proprie capacità con la gente, anche cercare di insegnare. Infatti, se non c’è un impegno dalla parte dei musicisti in questo senso, è difficile capire chi potrebbe farlo. È però importante riconoscere che si tratta di un equilibrio. Non si può semplicemente sacrificare la bellezza per la partecipazione o la partecipazione per la bellezza:
“La bellezza, pertanto, non è un fattore decorativo dell'azione liturgica; ne è piuttosto elemento costitutivo, in quanto è attributo di Dio stesso e della sua rivelazione.” (Sacramentum Caritatis 35)
“Ma non è da approvarsi l’uso di affidare per intero alla sola «schola cantorum» tutte le parti cantate del «Proprio» e dell’« Ordinario», escludendo completamente il popolo dalla partecipazione nel canto.” (MS 16c)
Per quello credo che sia importante trovare arrangiamenti di inni che sono noti, in modo che l’assemblea può entrare nel canto, oltre misure banali quale indicargli i canti. Ma credo anche che una bella iniziativa potrebbe essere definire e promuovere qualche prova aperta, per chi vorrebbe cantare meglio ma non ha voglia/tempo di far parte di un coro. Suggerirei arrangiamenti di inni o l’Ordinario della messa.

Teoricamente dovremmo anche trovare spazio per il latino e il canto gregoriano:
“Si abbia cura però che i fedeli sappiano recitare e cantare insieme, anche in lingua latina, le parti dell'ordinario della messa che spettano ad essi.” (SC 54)
“A parità condizioni, si dia la preferenza al canto gregoriano, in quanto proprio della Liturgia romana. Gli altri generi di musica sacra, specialmente la polifonia, non sono affatto da escludere, purché rispondano allo spirito dell’azione liturgica e favoriscano la partecipazione di tutti i fedeli”. (OGMR 41)
Io credo che esiste un modo semplice e bello di rispettare questo: la Missa De Angelis. Immagino che non piace a tutti ma per me è bello, e non è neanche difficile quanto può sembrare. Il mio coro in Inghilterra lo cantava ogni mese e un corista aveva un figlio di 2 anni che la canticchiava sempre… Un fatto positivo è che si potrebbe stampare su un foglio solo! Io faccio fatica a cantare senza una partitura, non immagino che sia facile per chi vorrebbe cantare a messa e non fa parte del coro.

Sono anche a favore di cantare i salmi, entro le nostre possibilità. Si fa presto a dire… Magari dovrei contattare il mio vecchio coro; il maestro aveva trovato delle belle melodie a 4 voci (canto anglicano) per le strofe. D’altra parte, ha lavorato tanto per allinearle con i testi, e non so come ha fatto con la risposta.
“Conviene che il salmo responsoriale si esegua con il canto, almeno per quanto riguarda la risposta del popolo.” (OGMR 61)
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Friday, 21 September 2012

Wisdom, 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B


Korsfæstelsen, ca. 1506-1520,
Lucas Cranach the Elder
It's an interesting first reading coming up, from the book of Wisdom (Wis 2:12,17–20) written during the 2nd or 1st century BC, deuterocanonical for Catholics and apocryphal as far as Protestants are concerned. It was in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament in circulation among Jews at the time of Christ. The notes in the CEI online say that it was was inspired by the fourth Servant Song (Is 52:13–53:12) and reference Psalm 22:8. I’d never read it before becoming Catholic, but it evokes the passion of Christ very powerfully. I quote from the Douay–Rheims for copyright reasons, adding some references of my own:
(12) Let us therefore lie in wait for the just,
because he is not for our turn,
and he is contrary to our doings,
and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, (cf. Mk 7:9)
and divulgeth against us the sins of our way of life.

(13–16) He boasteth that he hath the knowledge of God, (cf. Mt 11:27)
and calleth himself the son of God. (cf. Mk 14:61–62)
He is become a censurer of our thoughts. (cf. Mt 5:21–22,27–28)
He is grievous unto us, even to behold: (cf. Is 53:3)
for his life is not like other men's, (cf. Jn 1:4, 8:23, 3:31)
and his ways are very different.

We are esteemed by him as triflers,
and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, (cf. Mt 23:27)
and he preferreth the latter end of the just, (cf. Mt 5:10–12)
and glorieth that he hath God for his father. (cf. Jn 10:34–38)

(17–20) Let us see then if his words be true, (cf. Mk 15:32)
and let us prove what shall happen to him,
and we shall know what his end shall be.
For if he be the true son of God, he will defend him, (cf. Ps 22:8, Mt 27:43)
and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies.

Let us examine him by outrages and tortures,
that we may know his meekness and try his patience. (cf. Is 53:7)
Let us condemn him to a most shameful death: (cf. Gal 3:13)
for there shall be respect had unto him by his words.
Mt 27:42–43
Lk 23:41–42
Ps 32:7–8 Pr 3:18 & Wis 7:29 Wis 7:22,25–26,28 Mk 9:31,34
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Friday, 14 September 2012

Bible Tweets: 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time


Well, I didn't expect to be able to fit this in this first week back from holidays, but in an atypically relaxed Friday, it seems that I can. So, related to (but not actually from) the readings for the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time:
Ps 116:7–8
Gal 5:1,16,6
1 Cor 1:20,23–24
Is 55:3,9,11
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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Sunday Mass & Other Bible Tweets


I’ve been trying to make an effort to read the readings for the forthcoming Sunday Mass recently and I’ve been tweeting particular verses (in Italian) as well, in the hope that they might stay with me that way. To the same end, I thought I’d blog what I had so far.
Is 29:13–14,24
Is 33:15–16
Pr 24:16 & Jm 5:16
Ps 70:1–2
Mic 7:18–19
1 Chr 16:9–11, 1 Chr 16:27
Mic 7:8
Jn 6:60,63
Joshua 24:13
Ps 34:5,18
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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Onwards and Upwards: Words, Numbers & Mukia


Pretty dashed quiet at work; must be time to blog.

Children are amazing: everyone who’s had had on knows this, and if I say that it’s incredible how quickly Noemi is developing and learning, well, it’s kind of a given really. But just now, she keeps on making all these unexpected leaps and taking us by surprise with a certain regularity. “How the hell did she pick that up? Did you tell her that?”

Yesterday she said “sorry” after she poked me in the chest a few times and I said “ow”. It rather took me aback; I know plenty of people who haven’t learned to say sorry as adults, so I couldn’t help but feel rather proud. We’ve been teaching her a bit of counting on staircases, up to about ten (and dieci) and she’s picking that up pretty quick. She’s known about 0–3 for a long time thanks to the lift. I‘ve been trying to teach her that she has two hands, feet, eyes etc. but she’s labouring under the delusion that she has “two” noses as well.

And she’s clearly been listening to everything, which again is something that everyone knows, but when she comes out spontaneously with all these things that we haven’t been trying to teach her it still takes us aback. She asks what things are now (“Z’at?”) and has – mercifully – taken some small steps into the world of appreciating a lie down despite her eyes being open: just like Mummy and Daddy!

I already said that she knows the words of songs before. She likes doing the ends of lines with Mummy. I was sort of surprised that she hadn’t started singing a bit – we’ve been singing to her for ages and she’s really talkative – but apparently now she’s started singing la-la-la in the shower. I guess it was because the idea of singing actual words was a bit daunting. She likes it when Daddy sings choir-style vocal warm-ups for the high notes. She’s always liked having music (“Mukia!”) on, and now she makes requests (unfortunately generally for the one song, I due liocorni, in which Noah gathers the animals together for the flood but somehow omits to rescue the unicorns); she’s generally happy with Abba (18 Hits), The Beatles (1) or Queen (Greatest Hits). In fact, the other day, as soon as she woke up she decided to list the Beatles at me (though poor George always gets left out).
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Thursday, 9 August 2012

Snake Dance



Green whip snake, called a magnano in the area round Modena*

You may remember that a while back I translated an Italian nursery rhyme that I liked into English. About a chap called Tommaso who was having fly issues.

I found myself doing the same thing spontaneously the other day with a different song, so I thought I’d post it:
Questa è la danza del serpente
che viene giù dal monte,
per ritrovare la sua coda
ch’a perso un dì.

serpente
Ma dimmi un po', sei forse tu, quel pezzettin del mio codin?
bambino
Sì!
This is the dance that the snake does;
he came down from the mountain,
hoping to come across the tail that
he lost one day.

snake
How do you do? Could it be you? Are you my missing piece of tail?
child
Yes!
So there you are, and here's an MP3! Noemi knows the words in Italian; Monica lets her finish the ends of the lines. I’ve only been listening to it (Noemi wants mummy to sing to her a lot these days, so it’s nursery rhymes by day and psalms at bedtime) but Monica tells me that the point is that you do a conga line adding children to the tail each time.

* And Patty says that magnani will actually whip you, but the last time she did, Luca took the piss out of her something chronic. I believe we may remain sceptical on this point.
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Thursday, 2 August 2012

African Dragons

Ra slays Apep


African elephants, yeah. Even African rhinoceroses. But I didn't know about African dragons. Here the heatwaves have names, like hurricanes (am I inadvertently rapping?), and after Scipio, MinosCharon and various other troublemakers, it's time for the drago africano to take a pop at us, a little breeze from Algeria.

Aaaaargh!

We are looking forward to the end of this...


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Monday, 30 July 2012

Palagano & Baby Boom


Well, the relations departed Saturday, so the house suddenly feels very empty. Noemi’s been a bit strange; it probably has something to do with that, but the heat came back too. It’s taking another break now but is due to attack again on Thursday.



I was very glad to be able to go to Palagano: unfortunately it was a very difficult day and night for Monica, after Lorenzo had gone, so I didn’t get to enjoy myself guilt-free. Anyway, we get on very well at work, so swanning around with my colleagues was a welcome change. The landscape in Italy rather dictates a somewhat windy quality to their roads, especially if you go up into the hills, where Palagano is. We don’t have a car so I’m not used to being driven, and I get a bit carsick in general, so these excursions can be a bit strenuous, but it went fine. One of the villages on the way decided to have a competition making scarecrows (sparrows), so we had a look at those as well. They were pretty good and plentiful too considering that it was the first year they’d done it. Alessia’s favourite was a little old lady waiting for the bus.

We went, among other things, to eat ciacci (like borlenghi, but definitely different or they kick you out of the village). It’s a sort of health food; you fill them with flavoured lard. They set up the ciacci stand in the same piazza as the birreria, so I got to try a few beers of Germanic origin as well, in the most pub-like atmosphere I’ve experienced for some time. Despite having food and four drinks, I hardly paid for anything: I have generous colleagues, and I even had a beer on Alessia’s moroso (local term for boyfriend, not “morose”, oddly), Gianpi (not sure how you spell it), despite the fact that we’d never met and we didn’t speak a huge deal.

There’s been a whole lot of maternity going on at Omnia: three translators and one project manager are at various stages. I already mentioned Patty and her daugher Giulia. Lovely to see her and Giulia up there. At three months, she’s very small! It seems like an age ago that Noemi was that size. Very calm too. Not much eyelid batting going on there. This morning we heard that Manu had given birth on Saturday as well, to Viola. Everything tickety boo apparently. Alessandra has been at home a while now, and Linda a bit more recently. The saga continues.

Yesterday Monica was very good and made an attempt to watch Alien, even though she doesn’t do horror. Or sci-fi. But since I said that I really liked it (and Aliens; I picked them both up at our local bookshop the other week) she decided to give it a go. She’s not impressed so far (bored, doesn’t care about characters), but said she’ll give it another go because it’s due to kick off in another 5 mins, at least according to comentary by Ridley Scott.

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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Generic Update


You might have noticed that I’ve been fiddling with the comments system. This naturally led me to the reflection that no-one has anything to actually comment on, so I thought I’d better redress the issue, and I shall try to blog a bit more (heard that one before).

I understand you’ve all been inundated with rain; opposite problem here, weeks and weeks of tiring heat and humidity. The heatwave has decided to take a break, but it’ll be back to work at the weekend.

We have some visitors at the moment. There’s my sister-in-law Vane (Monica’s sister), my niece Bea(trice), who’s just learnt to call me “zio” and my mother-in-law Gabriella. There was my brother-in-law Lorenzo as well, but he’s just cleared off with the Protezione Civile to help in the area affected by the earthquakes. The house is a bit chaotic, but it’s nice to see everyone.

I’m taking the opportunity afforded by my relations to clear off into the hills with some people from work to see Patty, a colleague of mine who’s on maternity leave; I’ve never met Giulia, her daughter, so I’m looking forward to that as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to grab some good beer as well, since there’s some kind of festa going in in her village.

That, apparently, will have to do. Work calls. Funny how the really important translations are always the last to arrive…

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Monday, 2 July 2012

Salve Regina for Night Prayer


Hi there.

I was labouring for some time under the delusion that Night Prayer includes the Lord’s Prayer, and was thinking about blogging a musical setting of that. Then I looked, and found that this was not the case. What do feature in Night Prayer are the Marian anthems, which I must admit I’ve never included, probably because you have to go to another page, and I find it always seems a bit late to turn to another page at that stage – I expect my canonisation is in the post.

Anyway, I can remedy that if I commit an anthem to memory, as I’m trying to do with the psalm tones, so I shall. There are four anthems, for various periods of the year, but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, so I was planning on learning the one which seems to correspond to the most “ordinary” liturgical period (first Vespers of Trinity Sunday until None of the Saturday before Advent!), the Salve Regina.

An mp3 (no. 545) is available courtesy of the Adoremus Hymnal site.

I intend to memorise some of the psalms in Italian, since my daughter is Italian (100% British, 100% Italian – a bit like the hypostatic union) and I shall have a go at learning this in the Latin original. In fact, loads of people here seem to know it off by heart already, and it might be the same for English Catholics for all I know. Well, I don’t know the words, what they mean, or the melody! Here’s the chant notation, with the Latin, and a literal translation that I lifted and modified:
Hail, Queen, merciful Mother,
[our] life, [our] sweetness, and our hope, hail.
To you we cry, exiles, children of Eve,
to you we sigh, mourning and weeping
in this vale of tears.
O, therefore, our advocate,
turn your merciful eyes toward us;
and Jesus, blessed fruit of your womb,
to us, after this exile, show.
O kind, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Now, here's a thing I've done for my own benefit, a learning module for MemoryLifter. I like plugging MemoryLifter, since it helped me to learn a lot of Italian vocabulary despite my lousy memory. Anyway, my module has the text broken down as above: you try to remember the next line. I've also inlcluded the literal translation, audio and the notation above. With any luck it should all trickle into my brain together, and since I made it for myself I've put it here too.

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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Praise In Summer


I had a go at listening to Father Z's – ahem – podcazt the other day and was surprised, but pleased to find him reading poetry! Here is one that I liked so much I thought I’d blog it:

Ferdinand von Wright - Sommerlandschaft

"Praise In Summer" - Richard Wilbur
Obscurely yet most surely called to praise,
As sometimes summer calls us all, I said
The hills are heavens full of branching ways
Where star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead;
I said the trees are mines in air, I said
See how the sparrow burrows in the sky!
And then I wondered why this mad instead
Perverts our praise to uncreation, why
Such savour's in this wrenching things awry.
Does sense so stale that it must needs derange
The world to know it?  To a praiseful eye
Should it not be enough of fresh and strange
That trees grow green, and moles can course
     in clay,
And sparrows sweep the ceiling of our day?
Wonderful stuff; reminds me of Chesterton thematically, but then, he covered a lot of ground did G.K. I miss reading poetry; press releases from Italian car manufacturers don’t quite hit the same spot…


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Monday, 25 June 2012

Psalm Tones for Night Prayer: Psalm 87(88) - Tone V

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
     make many to be accounted righteous,
     and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
     and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.
- Isaiah 53:11-12

We're getting there with learning the tones for night prayer; this would be the penultimate one:

Day
Tone
Tone for 2nd Psalm
Nunc Dimittis
Sunday 1
VIII
VIII
IIIAt last, all-powerful Master...
Sunday 2
VIIIHe who dwells in the shelter of the Most High...

III
Monday
II
Turn your ear, O Lord, and give answer...

III
Tuesday
VIII

III
Wednesday
I
VIII
III
Thursday
IPreserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

III
Friday
V
Lord my God, I call for help by day;

III

All the MP3s are here, and this is a one-page PDF summary of all the tones.

This is tone V. It only comes in one flavour apparently, which simplifies my posting it. The first stress mark is for the flex, so you can see that it's based on a pattern of one stress for the mediant and two stresses for the termination:

Some verses from the psalm for Friday, marked with the stresses that we need to bear in mind and with part of another psalm because there'd be no flex otherwise.
Lord my God, I call for help by dáy;*
I cry at níght befóre you.
Let my prayer come into your présence.*
O turn your éar to my crý.

I call to you, Lord, all the day lóng,*
to you I strétch out my hánds.
Will you work your wonders for the déad?*
Will the shades stánd and práise you?

Will your love be told in the gráve*
or your faithfulness amóng the déad?
Will your wonders be known in the dárk*
or your justice in the lánd of oblívion?

In the day of my distress I sought the Lórd.†
My hands were raised at night without céasing;*
my soul refúsed to be consóled.
I remembered my God and I gróaned.*
I pondered and my spírit fáinted.

This is my version of it: MP3. As usual, I've had to adapt it a little to fit the English, but it's the same kind of stuff as before, so I don't think I need to go into it. It has a plaintive feel which goes well with the text; those Lutherans don't miss a trick.


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Friday, 1 June 2012

Earthquake



Image courtesy of the
U.S. Geological Survey
Apparently all it takes to stop me blogging about #twitterangelus is a 5.8 earthquake.

It makes sense for me to blog about it, but to be honest, I'm probably not the best person to fill you in on what's happening. As a sojourner in a strange land who also has a 1.5 year-old daughter to worry about, living at a bit of a distance from any kind of family, many of life's little details, including important ones, pass me by: I shall do my best.

So, at the beginning of the year, when there was still a world of snow about, there were some earthquakes here, and now we have a repeat performance. The epicentre was in the same province as us, about 25 miles away. What we experienced was nothing like what's going on at San Felice, but it is too close for comfort. San Felice is in the north whereas we're in the south just before the plain turns into mountains. Immediately to the north of us is the city of Modena, where most of my colleagues work; no damage there that I'm aware of, but they're feeling enough tremors to keep their nerves on edge.

We were just settling down to work in my office when it arrived; oddly I didn't feel anything myself, but I took my cue from my colleagues who were hastening out of the door. I didn't feel anything the second time either. I haven't felt anything for a while now, but there was night when there seemed to be a little quake every 5 minutes; then again, it's hard to tell how much earthquake you're inventing out of nervousness.

All this seismic activity has caught the region on a back foot; the last big event was a medieval one, and though Italy as a country is very much prone to earthquakes, the Emilia-Romagna was considered low-risk until now. A lot of seismologists have been interviewed recently, for obvious reasons, but the best news you will ever hear from an Italian seismologist is "We can't rule out the possibility of further quakes"; unfortunately, that's the peninsula you're dealing with. What's worse is that the quakes at the beginning of the year and these ones don't seem to have the same cause. The earth is busy adjusting itself underneath us, and there's not really any way of telling how it will pan out; the best case scenario is a series of little quakes (many earthquakes aren't even felt) which discharge the latent energy that needs discharging. The fear is that we have another more dramatic event. The region will undoubtedly receive a new risk rating and consequently building requirements; not a lot of help in the short term unfortunately. Monica's Dad however (who does know something about these things; he's been coordinating volunteers from the Province of Ancona from our bedroom - her parents happened to be visiting)

Anyway, here in Sassuolo, we're fine but nervous. Schools have been closed, and our church, San Giorgio, seems to have developed some cracks. You will have seen the something about the worst hit areas elsewhere; besides which, I'm struggling to keep up with events. What I do know is that some are some real bastards about. People, not without reason, don't want to leave their homes, for fear of thieves. Some especially foul people have been impersonating the Protezione Civile (a voluntary emergency relief force, among other things) and telling people to evacuate their homes because of an imminent quake (impossible to predict, btw), specifically so that they can steal from them. Monica's Dad is pretty scandalised by how they're responding here. He read about one village where the parish priest was organising the relief, but it's absurd that the Protezione Civile could allow such a situation to be necessary (he was among the first group of volunteers to arrive, but coming from le Marche, the next region down).

Monica's pretty nervous, especially about the idea of being at home alone with Noemi when her parents leave, so her Mum is prolonging her stay, and we'll be going down to Offagna for a week (I'll be working remotely).


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