- Mister Rogers was an ordained minister but he never talked about God on his program. He didn’t need to. [Tom Brokaw]
Fred Rogers is the personification of gentle affirmation. Through his example, presented on the Public Broadcasting System for thirty-three years, he set an unmatched ethical, moral and spiritual example for generations of children and adults.
- Fred Rogers, The World According to Mr. Rogers: Important Things to Remember (Hyperion, 2003).
- Fred Rogers, Life's Journeys According to Mr. Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way (Hyperion, 2005).
- Fred Rogers, You Are Special: Words of Wisdom for All Ages from a Beloved Neighbor (Penguin, 1995).
- Fred Rogers, You are Special: Neighborly Wisdom from Mr. Rogers (Running Press, 2002).
- Fred Rogers, Many Ways to Say I Love You: Wisdom for Parents and Children from Mr. Rogers (Hyperion, 2006).
- Fred Rogers, Making Friends: First Experiences (Turtleback, 1996).
- Tim Madigan, I'm Proud of You: Life Lessons from My Friend Fred Rogers (Gotham Press reprint, 2007).
- Amy Hollingsworth, The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers: Spiritual Insights from the World's Most Beloved Neighbor (Ingegrity Publishing, 2005).
Fred Rogers was part of a larger cultural movement, which changed children’s education and thereby, we hope, the future:
- David Kamp, Sunny Days: The Children’s Television Revolution That Changed America (Simon & Schuster, 2020): “From 1969 through the late 1970s, our notion of how to communicate with young children was upended . . ."
Technical and Analytical Readings
- Wassily Kandinsky, Softened Construction (1927)
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet No. 12 in E-flat major, Op. 127 (1825) (approx. 37-41 minutes), is Beethoven’s ode to the gentleness that seems to have come over his spirit. “As we venture into the transcendental world of String Quartet No. 12, the personal worldly struggles of Beethoven become irrelevant. (These included lonely isolation, financial difficulties, a legal battle regarding his nephew Karl, declining health, and total deafness).” “. . . we find a spiraling inwards, a refutation of earlier models of drama and struggle. There is an omnipresent sense of dissolving into acceptance and clarity, and for Beethoven it is an uncommonly tender and introverted work.” “. . . something special happens at the end, one of so many magical moments throughout the late quartets. Beethoven writes a coda changing the key, meter, tempo and thereby the fundamental character of the music in a transcendent miracle of variation.” Great performances are by Alban Berg Quartet in concert, Budapest String Quartet in 1952, Budapest String Quartet in 1961, Alban Berg Quartet in 1982, Amadeus Quartet in 1982, Takács Quartet in 2005, Artemis Quartet in 2010, Quatuor Mosaïques in 2019, and Dover Quartet in 2022.
Haydn, String Quartets, Opus 17 (1771):
- Quartet No. 17 in F major, Op. 17, No. 2, FHE No. 2, Hob. III:26
- Quartet No. 18 in E major, Op. 17, No. 1, FHE No. 1, Hob. III:25
- Quartet No. 19 in C minor, Op. 17, No. 4, FHE No. 4, Hob. III:28
- Quartet No. 20 in D major, Op. 17, No. 6, FHE No. 6, Hob. III:30
- Quartet No. 21 In E♭major, Op. 17, No. 3, FHE No. 3, Hob. III:27
- Quartet No. 22 in G major, Op. 17, No. 5, FHE No. 5, Hob. III:29
Jean-Marie Leclair’s Violin Sonatas, are music of gentle congeniality. They consist of Op. 1 (Sonatas 1-4; 5-8; 9-12); Op. 2; (Sonatas 1-5 & 8; 6-7 and 9-12); Op. 5 (Sonatas 1-4; 5-8; 9-12); and Op. 3; (Sonatas 1-4; 5-8; 9-12).
- Ireland, Sextet for Clarinet, French Horn and String Quartet (1898): six voices together, without a cross word among them.
- Hummel, 3 String Quartets, Op. 30 (1808): No. 1 in C Major; No. 2 in G Major; No. 3 in E-flat Major
- Wolf-Ferrari, Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor, Op. 1
- Gibbons: choral and organ music
Gentle sounds from African guitarists:
Speak gently! – It is better far
To rule by love, than fear –
Speak gently – let not harsh words mar
The good we might do here!
Speak gently! – Love doth whisper low
The vows that true hearts bind;
And gently Friendship's accents flow;
Affection's voice is kind.
Speak gently to the little child!
Its love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild: –
It may not long remain.
Speak gently to the young, for they
Will have enough to bear –
Pass through this life as best they may,
'T is full of anxious care!
Speak gently to the aged one,
Grieve not the care-worn heart;
The sands of life are nearly run,
Let such in peace depart!
Speak gently, kindly, to the poor;
Let no harsh tone be heard;
They have enough they must endure,
Without an unkind word!
Speak gently to the erring – know,
They may have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
Oh, win them back again!
Speak gently! – He who gave his life
To bend man's stubborn will,
When elements were in fierce strife,
Said to them, 'Peace, be still.'
[from David Bates, “Speak Gently”]