A vow is an intention. When I looked again at the titles for today and for this Wednesday, the placement of Beethoven’s and Mozart’s most solemn masses under commitment fidelity, not under sacred vows, struck me as peculiar: surely their masses are the finest expressions of the sacred. I admit that this reflects a bias for these two musical giants over the fine choral works of the Russian churches. Then I thought again: a vow is incomplete until it is carried out faithfully.
So we begin the week with an homage to sacred intent. We will exercise that muscle of the soul today, before turning to its fulfillment two days hence.
Bill Clinton's mother recounted that when her son returned from meeting President Kennedy, "I never saw such a look in a man's eyes." Thereafter and throughout his adult life, Clinton dedicated himself to mastering political affairs and politics. In my lifetime, no one in or out of public life has displayed such a combination of breadth and depth of political understanding, both in policy and in the art of politics. He is among those rare persons who arise from modest backgrounds to attain high station. This all began with a vow of devotion.
- Bill Clinton, My Life: The Early Years (Volume 1) and The Presidential Years (Volume 2) (Knopf, 2004).
- Michael Takiff, A Complicated Man: The Life of Bill Clinton as Told by Those Who Know Him (Yale University Press, 2010).
- Nigel Hamilton, Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency (Public Affairs, 2007).
- John F. Harris, The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House (Random House, 2005).
- David Maraniss, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton (Touchstone, 1995).
- Bill Clinton, Public Papers of William J. Clinton: Volume 1 and Volume 2 (National Archives and Records Administration).
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
This week we hear music devoted to the sacred ideal of serving humanity and other living beings. In this music, we hear hope, a longing for the good and profound sincerity. This Russian choral music, with its broad dynamic range and prominent basso voices, speaks to the core of sacred intent.
- Sacred Treasures: Choral Masterworks from Russia
- Sacred Treasures II: Choral Masterworks from the Sistine Chapel
- Sacred Treasures III: Choral Masterworks from Russia and Beyond
- Sacred Treasures IV – Choral Masterworks: Quiet Prayers
- Tchaikovsky, Liturgy of St. John Chrysostum
- Russian Orthodox Choir, chants
- Russian Orthodox cathedral music
- Compilation of Russian choral music from Tchaikovsky, Rachmanonoff and others
- Valaam Monastery Choir: Chants from Valaam