#MarianMay , “Monstra Te Esse Matrem”, Henri Dallier, performed on the organ of La Madeleine, Paris

Henri Dallier succeeded Gabriel Faure as organist of La Madeleine in Paris. This composition is performed by the current organist, Francois-Henri Houbart, who has been in post since 1979 – one of the great things about organ music is the intimate relation with the actual instrument and its location, and the form of apostolic succession among organists.

“Monstra te esse matrem” means “Show Thyself A Mother” and is from the Marian prayer “Ave Maris Stella”


#MarianMay , “Salve Regina” – closing scene of “Dialogue des Carmelites”, Francis Poulenc

Last year I posted a YouTube video of the magnificent setting of the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) the concludes Poulenc’s opera Dialogues des Carmelites , with the sound of the guillotine searing this into the memory. Here is another staging, from La Scala in 2004:

And from the New York Met in 1987, here is Jessye Norman and Maria Ewing inter alia in an extremely powerful scene (this guillotine seems especially loud!):



“Two keys unlock the chest of gold That’s made of ones and zeroes” Lukas Stanley’s $1000 riddle

I came across this “digital treasure hunt” created by Lukas Stanley   – apparently the following riddle contains all one needs to discover the (virtual) location of a $1000 prize.

Here is Stanley reading the riddle:

Here is the text:

Two keys unlock the chest of gold
That’s made of ones and zeroes
And the one that holds them both
Will be the thousand dollar hero

The first key is quite standard
Ten cuts, ten pins and turn
But the key is split in three
And must be put together first

Piece number one will call a place
That fits you like a glove
For nothing is as strong or fawning
As a mother’s love

The next plus two is found
Astride a treasure on its own
Spare no expense, search everywhere
Beside a bird that’s rarely thrown

The last part is a tricky one
So play it carefully:
Explode, the strongest wind
No sea legs here, a song by D.D.E.

To find the second key
You need assistance from a man
Whose fortune came as a surprise
While clearing wood upon the land

Then with your newfound knowledge
You must travel through black flame
The place where alchemy’s best is found
Will help you win this game

You need not rise up from your chair
To find what treasure’s hidden there
For each of you is equal
And the competition fair

The best of luck to all who try
For here the hunt begins
Let greed not come between you
Real treasure lies in friends

Two keys unlock the chest of gold
That’s made of ones and zeroes
And the one that holds them both
Will be the thousand dollar hero.


Apparently no special knowledge is needed for the solution; no particular knowledge of gaming or computing (the “made of ones and zeroes” simply refers to the “treasure chest” being online). Apparently, although D.D.E. are a Norwegian rock band. There is the inevitable online forum. Unless I am missing something, the riddle has yet to be solved, so perhaps one of my readers can have a go….I am trying to work out “Nothing is as strong or fawning / as a mother’s love” … and “a man whose fortune came as a surprise when clearing wood upon the land”

“Crossing the Jordan”, Matt Alberswerth


From the journal Prometheus Dreaming ,  I liked this poem by Matt Alberswerth which has strong echoes of Ted Hughes:



Crossing the Jordan

Did the fish hear me when my ankle broke the surface of the water?

They followed your steps with their glassy eyes.

What moved the branch as I walked beneath it?

It was a hungry wind.

When it touched my hair did I feel cold and scared?

Only as scared as you should. Only as cold as you were.

Were my feet cut by the creek’s rock bed?

It drank what blood there was.

Something warned me as I crossed water. What warned me?

It was a barred owl.

What warned me?

A horned grebe.

What warned me?

A fox, its belly full of stars.

At the middle of the river, the water was up to my knees. What saw me?

The fox kept watch, its belly full of stars.

How did I know?

You saw its shadow from bridge. It was cast by the moon.

What did I see?

You saw the fox was a wolf. Mother of darkness, specked with snow.

What did I see?

You saw the she-wolf drag the moon down.

What did I do when I saw the moon fall?

You dunked yourself in the water.

Did the cold water choke me?

It did and it does.

When the dark water cloaked me, did I feel cold and scared?

Only as cold as you were. Only as scared as you should.

“My Life by Water” – a found poem by M. Stone

I greatly enjoyed M Stone’s found poem “My Life By Water”, constructed using… well, you can follow the link to find out – and does it matter? It stands on its own merits as an evocative piece of writing with some interesting juxtapositions.

I rose from marsh mud.
I knew a clean man
I married
in the great snowfall.
Consider at the outset—
I am sick with the Time’s
Keen and lovely man,
alcoholic dream.
I lost you to water, summer.
Now in one year
my life is hung up.
July, waxwings
something in the water.
Along the river,
the graves—
traces of living things.

Writer M. Stone

I’m thrilled that my found poem “My Life by Water” is included in the new issue of Unlost Journal! Many thanks to the Editors.

View original post

David Owen in the New Yorker on Noise Pollution

David Owen in the New Yorker on Noise Pollution

There’s an interesting and somewhat maddening story by David Owen in the current New Yorker on noise and health (both human and animal).

Interesting because, well this is something I am interested in. I for one can hardly get enough of this kind of thing:

We stepped into an adjacent room. “Here is our acoustic laboratory,” Christophe said. He handed me one of Bruitparif’s sound-monitoring devices, which he had helped invent. It’s called Medusa. It has four microphones, which stick out at various angles, hence the name. The armature that holds the microphones is bolted to a metal box roughly the size of an American loaf of bread. Inside it is a souped-up Raspberry Pi—a tiny, inexpensive computer, which was originally intended for use in schools and developing countries but is so powerful that it has been adopted, all over the world, for myriad other uses. (You can buy one on Amazon for less than forty bucks.) Embedded in the central microphone stalk are two tiny fish-eye cameras, mounted back to back, which record a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree image each minute. Medusas are the successors of Bruitparif’s first-generation sensors, called Sonopodes, which rely on expensive components imported from Japan. Sonopodes are still in use, although they are too big to move around easily. “The Japanese system is very good, but each one costs almost thirty thousand euros, and we can’t deploy it as much as we expect,” Christophe told me. “So we built our own system, which is small and low-cost. The idea is the same.” Bruitparif has installed fifty Medusas in the metropolitan area, and will add many more this summer.

And we should all be personally concerned with this issue:

Modern sound-related health threats extend far beyond music, and they affect more than hearing. Studies have shown that people who live or work in loud environments are particularly susceptible to many alarming problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, low birth weight, and all the physical, cognitive, and emotional issues that arise from being too distracted to focus on complex tasks and from never getting enough sleep.

In February, Bruitparif, a nonprofit organization that monitors environmental-noise levels in metropolitan Paris, published a reportthat combined medical projections from the World Health Organization with “noise maps” based partly on data from its own network of acoustic sensors. It concluded, among many other things, that an average resident of any of the loudest parts of the Île-de-France—which includes Paris and its surrounding suburbs—loses “more than three healthy life-years,” in the course of a lifetime, to some combination of ailments caused or exacerbated by the din of cars, trucks, airplanes, and trains. These health effects, according to guidelines published by the W.H.O.’s European regional office last year, include tinnitus, sleep disturbance, ischemic heart disease, obesity, diabetes, adverse birth outcomes, and cognitive impairment in children. In Western Europe, the guidelines say, traffic noise results in an annual loss of “at least one million healthy years of life.
Maddening, because little of this is news. Anyone who read any of a host of books and studies could tell you this. And the solutions are not pie-in-the-sky by any means. As Owen’s article ends: