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Here is some music for a pre-election Sunday. Listen to Michael Praetorius’s Der Tag vertreibt die finster Nacht, a motet in four parts, from the Muses of Zion (Musae Sioniae), pt viii (1610), here in a performance by the Huelgas Ensemble, directed by Paul van Nevel. The text, beginning “Day dispels the dark night” is derived from Psalm 139. It is a work of stark but deceptive simplicity, crafted according to what Praetorius called the principle of varietas, or differentiation. Each stanza assumes a different tonality suited to its specific sacred sense, the variations are both in voice and instrumentation. The spirit of the piece is filled with pious and attentive awakening as the darkness of a period of sadness and failure gives rise to a new day filled with hope.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Hours per day that a death-row inmate in China wears hand and ankle restraints:
A multidisciplinary team detected cardiac arrhythmia in the works of Beethoven.
There was a run on cases of 5.56mm M855 green-tip rifle bullets, after the White House moved to ban their manufacture and sale because they can pierce police armor.
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”