Anthology of American Piano Music, Vol. 2 Music of the NIght American Nocturnes - Cover

American Nocturnes – Anthology of American Piano Music Vol. 2 (One-stop Review and Listening Approach)

American Piano Music, Atonal Music, Avant-garde Music, Classical Music, Classical Piano Music, Playlist, Review, Spotify

Anthology of American Piano Music, Vol. 2 Music of the Night American Nocturnes (DACOCD 784-783)

Anthology of American Piano Music Vol. 2 by Cecile Licad is now out. It follows her well-received, 5-star rated (by UK’s Pianist magazine) 2016 recording of four piano sonatas by American composers: Anthology of American Piano Music Vol. 1: American First Sonatas under the Danish record label Danacord.

American Nocturnes

Seductively entitled American Nocturnes (Music of the Night), it makes the American equivalent of an all-Chopin nocturne album (consists of 19 pieces, 21 if posthumous works were included, approximately 2 hrs) – at least as how I see it. As such the case is, it completely departs, program-wise, from her American First Sonatas (2016). So we hear in here a very varied repertoire.

It features 25 compositions by 16 different composers – unlike a typical recording of Chopin nocturnes limited only to Chopin. Most are not even the composer’s entire opus, but sketches that conceive an evening atmosphere taken out from their birth context to recreate another, which is this program that is American Nocturnes – like a Beethoven collection of his piano sonata adagios pulled out from their parent sonatas, pooled together, and reordered to arouse a fully different context.

Some of the pieces are straightforwardly named “Nocturnes.” Some have names associated of night. Some plainly have tunes evocative of nighttime. Yet a number of listeners might find themselves surprised by these nocturnes.

While plenty of pieces in the album are evident of European traces, there are more that sound stranger than the commonly conceived idiom of classical music. This is a serious departure from her Vol. 1, which sees American classical music still heavily dependent in the European style hardly can it be called American.

The Vol. 2 is a huge success that all of a sudden (1 hr 58 min) – when compared to generations American spirit of classical music endured to evolve to its distinctively Americanized sense – the listener is offered a diversified perspective of the genre (although constrained within “American night music”) and provided a run-through of some of the most significant American composers of classical music who dignify that their country’s piano music isn’t only rich and capable. It’s unique as well. Hence, a listener might find himself initially uncomfortable to get through the album at once. One can add to his estimates an endemic cultural flavor and/or an avant-garde ahead that to his taste may appeal or dismay.

The cover
Anthology of American Piano Music, Vol. 2 Music of the NIght American Nocturnes - Cover

The album cover is the best overview of the American Nocturnes one can get. It is the inaudible, nonverbal statement of America’s Music of the Night that tells the listener that its music are richly shaded and vastly engaging.

Before listening, I suggest the listener to avoid just looking at the cover. Stare at it instead and reflect to collect – without overthinking – his personalized overview of the rendezvous ahead.

(Eschew pretentious apprehensions if nothing comes naturally. It’s supposed to be an experience for the majority; not a study (though everybody is welcome and invited to).)

A CD album is a complete piece of art. Everything in it is meant to be intellectually and fastidiously conceptualized. Above all, everything in it must be coherent with each other – they must be able to communicate as one with the audience. American Nocturnes completes its first-rate craft with this particular regard.

The cover lays aside the artist without diminishing her importance and lends itself to the imagery of the music that it speaks for. Put before us is the music and highly-esteemed Cecile Licad is its Muse.

Cecile Licad

It takes a great musical maturity and integrity for an artist to pull an album that consists unknown piano works without surrendering to his tendency of showboating, which prolly is the surest way to sell the music and summon patrons.

Cecile Licad has pretty much veered away from this total-loss-of-control play loud, play fast for most of her recordings especially in her Cecile Licad Performs Chopin and Gaspard de la Nuit invoking only the vital overtones and gracefulness of Chopin and Ravel that to some may be read boring and to some is immaculate and music singing at its best. (I find myself belonging in the latter.) Her latest recording American Nocturnes (Anthology of American Piano Music, Vol. 2) exudes – once again – not only her maturity and integrity or her mastery of the piano, but also the divide between the ranks of skillful and talented pianists, with her belonging in the latter.

Listening Approach

Disclaimer: This isn’t a ranking. But a guide to ease a listener into the album.

Classical music isn’t an outright and immediate pleasant experience for a great number of people. Since I reckon that American Nocturnes will be more difficult to be liked – not, at least, instantly – because these works are less heard, less popular, and more unusual than their European contemporaries, I’m providing track orders that an interested listener may want to follow or warm himself up with and smoothly sail from those pieces that are intuitive and tonal to those dissonant-laden and atonal. 

But of course, it’s best to listen to the recording as it is. The playlists (Spotify) below are only alternatives for quick, convenient trysts. So if you want to delve into the genuine spirituality that permeates American Nocturnes, sign in for the default itinerary. It begins with the esoterically haunting George Crumb’s Nocturne Theme (Eine kleine Mitternachtsmusik No. 1) and gradually gets more varied and gripping until reaches its end with another George Crumb: Midnight Transformation (Eine kleine Mitternachtsmusik No. 9). 

Anthology of American Piano Music, Vol. 2 – American Nocturnes

CD 1

  1. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 1, Nocturne Theme (George Crumb)
  2. Hermit Thrush, Op. 92, No. 1: The Hermit Thrush at Eve (Amy Beach)
  3. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 2: Charade (George Crumb)
  4. Notturno for Orchestra, A. 94 (Charles Griffes)
  5. La Chute des Feuilles (Louis Moreau Gottschalk)
  6. Night Wind (Daniel Gregory Mason)
  7. Night (Ernest Bloch)
  8. 3-Tone Pictures, Op. 5, No. 3: The Night Winds (Charles Griffes)
  9. Premonition (George Crumb)
  10. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 3: Cobweb; Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 4:  Peaseblossom (Scherzo) (George Crumb)
  11. Nocturne, Op. 33 (Samuel Barber)
  12. Night Thoughts (Homeage to Ives) (Aaron Copland)
  13. Nocturne No. 2 “SO 4” (Leo Ornstein)
  14. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 5: Incantation (George Crumb)

CD 2

  1. Little Nocturne (Marc-André Hamelin)
  2. 2 Songs, F.270: No. 1, Nocturne (George Whitefield Chadwick)
  3. 4 Sketches, Op. 15, No. 3: Dreaming (Amy Beach)
  4. Nocturne (Arthur Foote)
  5. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 7: Blues in the Night (George Crumb)
  6. Deep Nocturne (Ferde Grofé)
  7. Nightingale Rag (Joseph Francis Lamb)
  8. Dawn, Op. 12 (Arthur Farwell)
  9. Hermit Thrush, Op. 92 No. 2: A Hermit Thrush at Morn (Amy Beach)
  10. Nocturne “Ragusa” (Ernest Schelling)
  11. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 9: Midnight Transformation (George Crumb)

(Note: Click on the playlist names to be redirected.)

Easy Listening (Playlist No. 1)

Out of my fervent excitement, I started with the ones I’m familiar with: the Nightingale Rag, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Amy Beach, and Marc-André Hamelin.

While I know most of the composers, I haven’t been tuned yet to their inherent musical voices. It was intrinsic to start back from the first entry and crack the sense behind the arrangement. (Because I was only listening on Spotify, I didn’t know what the blurb of the CD says about it.) Then I let each of them resonate naturally and leave an imprint in my whole world, which is a lifelong dive into music with solitude plus no more else.

The list below contains the first ones to have sung to me.  Being that they are akin or closer to the European idioms of classical music, it’s not a curious case they are easily relatable.

Cecile Licad makes them all glittering, lush, and sexy. (Possibly the best versions recorded one can hear; definitely one if not). Her pristine sensitivity, tender touch, and virtuosic competence are all over in place drawing out nothing but exalting nuances and picturesque landscapes of sound. She particularly excels in executing those delicate keyboard runs naturally without the cheap and unnecessary sentimentality most of the famous pianists today heavily rely on. 

American Nocturnes (Easy Listening) – Cecile Licad

Anthology of American Piano Music, Vol. 2 American Nocturnes (Easy Listening) - Cecile Licad. Playlist on Spotify. Included tracks: 1. Nightingale Rag; 2. La Chute des Feuilles; 3. Hermit Thrush, Op. 92, No. 1: The Hermit Thrush at Eve; 4. Hermit Thrush, Op. 92 No. 2: A Hermit Thrush at Morn; 5. 4 Sketches, Op. 15, No. 3: Dreaming; 6. 2 Songs, F.270: No. 1, Nocturne; 7. Nocturne; 8. Dawn, Op. 12; 9. Deep Nocturne; 10. Nocturne "Ragusa"; 11. 3-Tone Pictures, Op. 5, No. 3: The Night Winds.

American Nocturnes (Easy Listening) – Cecile Licad. Playlist on Spotify. Included tracks: 1. Nightingale Rag; 2. La Chute des Feuilles; 3. Hermit Thrush, Op. 92, No. 1: The Hermit Thrush at Eve; 4. Hermit Thrush, Op. 92 No. 2: A Hermit Thrush at Morn; 5. 4 Sketches, Op. 15, No. 3: Dreaming; 6. 2 Songs, F.270: No. 1, Nocturne; 7. Nocturne; 8. Dawn, Op. 12; 9. Deep Nocturne; 10. Nocturne “Ragusa”; 11. 3-Tone Pictures, Op. 5, No. 3: The Night Winds.

  1. Nightingale Rag (CD 2 No. 7)
  2. La Chute des Feuilles (CD 1 No. 5)
  3. Hermit Thrush, Op. 92, No. 1: The Hermit Thrush at Eve (CD 1 No. 2)
  4. Hermit Thrush, Op. 92 No. 2: A Hermit Thrush at Morn (CD 2 No. 9)
  5. 4 Sketches, Op. 15, No. 3: Dreaming (CD 2 No. 3)
  6. 2 Songs, F.270: No. 1, Nocturne (CD 2 No. 2)
  7. Nocturne (CD 2 No. 4)
  8. Dawn, Op. 12 (CD 2 No. 8)
  9. Deep Nocturne (CD 2 No. 6)
  10. Nocturne “Ragusa” (CD 2 No. 10)
  11. 3-Tone Pictures, Op. 5, No. 3: The Night Winds (CD 1 No. 8)
Dissonant-laden and Atonal (Playlist No. 2)

For my second playlist, the entries are more dissonant-laden. While I like them and consider full blast atonal music rapturously otherworldly, I must admit they’re not for everybody’s palate. If a listener is a sheer listener and sucker for tonal music and traditionalist classical music, hitting on the track unsuitable for what he expects – or for his taste – might get him to deride this recording as weird, foolish and nonsense.

In the previous, if Licad is a painter in the personification of a pianist, in the following (including the George Crumb playlist), she becomes a sorceress performing a ritual with a majestic Steinway piano and reciting spells through music. The listener is forced to keep silent so as not to interrupt the sanctity.

American Nocturnes (Dissonant-laden and Atonal) – Cecile Licad

Anthology of American Piano Music, Vol. 2 Music of the Night American Nocturnes - Cecile Licad (Danacord). American Nocturnes (Dissonant-laden and Atonal) - Cecile Licad. Playlist on Spotify. Included tracks: 1. Night Wind; 2. Nocturne, Op. 33; 3. Night; 4. Notturno for Orchestra, A. 94; 5. Little Nocturne; 6. Night Thoughts (Homeage to Ives); 7. Nocturne No. 2 "SO 4".

American Nocturnes (Dissonant-laden and Atonal) – Cecile Licad. Playlist on Spotify. Included tracks: 1. Night Wind; 2. Nocturne, Op. 33; 3. Night; 4. Notturno for Orchestra, A. 94; 5. Little Nocturne; 6. Night Thoughts (Homeage to Ives); 7. Nocturne No. 2 “SO 4”.

  1. Night Wind (CD 1 No. 6)
  2. Nocturne, Op. 33 (CD 1 No. 11)
  3. Night (CD 1 No. 7)
  4. Notturno for Orchestra, A. 94 (CD 1 No. 4)
  5. Little Nocturne (CD 2 No. 1)
  6. Night Thoughts (Homeage to Ives) (CD 1 No. 12)
  7. Nocturne No. 2 “SO 4” (CD 1 No. 13)
George Crumb (Playlist No. 3)

If the listener is enjoying himself so far, he may want to cap his rare American Nocturne rewarding journey with a completely disparate league: an all-George Crumb, for a new, fresh perspective of another possibility piano can be used in making music.

These Crumb inclusions are in my reading the  best treats of American Nocturnes because listeners (and musicians) are introduced to extended techniques of piano music and performance. Second, it’s a rare circumstance to have a first rank pianist tackle such works and drift away from the mainstream that we are able to hear a truly class A and authoritative musical understanding of these avant-garde music fearless of any criticism. 

 American Nocturnes (George Crumb) – Cecile Licad

American Nocturnes (George Crumb) - Cecile Licad. Playlist on Spotify. Included tracks: 1. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 1, Nocturne Theme; 2. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 2: Charade; 3. Premonition; 4. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 3: Cobweb; Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 4:  Peaseblossom (Scherzo); 5. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 5: Incantation; 6. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 7: Blues in the Night; 7. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 9: Midnight Transformation. Anthology of American Piano Music, Vol. 2 Music of the Night American Nocturnes - Cecile Licad (Danacord)

American Nocturnes (George Crumb) – Cecile Licad. Playlist on Spotify. Included tracks: 1. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 1, Nocturne Theme; 2. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 2: Charade; 3. Premonition; 4. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 3: Cobweb; Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 4:  Peaseblossom (Scherzo); 5. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 5: Incantation; 6. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 7: Blues in the Night; 7. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 9: Midnight Transformation.

  1. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 1, Nocturne Theme (CD 1 No. 1)
  2. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 2: Charade (CD 1 No. 3)
  3. Premonition (CD 1 No. 9)
  4. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 3: Cobweb; Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 4:  Peaseblossom (Scherzo) (CD 1 No. 10)
  5. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 5: Incantation (CD 1 No. 14)
  6. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 7: Blues in the Night (CD 2 No. 5)
  7. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 9: Midnight Transformation (CD 2 No. 11)

Ah, oh, needless to say, but Cecile Licad personally met with George Crumb for the recording.

ABOUT

The composers

The composers, in their birth chronological order, and their works that are featured in the Anthology of American Piano Music Vol. 2 (2017):

Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869)

Gottschalk was a piano virtuoso and composer who according to Frédéric Chopin was set to become one of the foremost pianists of the century.

  • CD 1: 5. La chûte des feuilles, Nocturne, Op. 42
Arthur Foote (1853-1937)

Arthur Foote was said to be the first American classical composer who was trained entirely in the US. A graduate of Harvard, he was one of the Boston Six, a group of classical music composers in the New England during the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were pivotal in the development of distinctive American sound of classical music.

  • CD 2: 4. Nocturne Op. 6 No. 2
George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931)

George Whitefield Chadwick was also one of the Boston Six. His works, in addition to being considered particularly American, were inspired by the American Realism movement in the arts, which depicts the daily life of the lower classes of the society.

  • CD 2: 2. Songs, F.270: No. 1, Nocturne
Amy Beach (1867-1944)

Amy Beach as a composer was the first female American to have a success in the discipline. As a child prodigy, she began composing waltzes at the age of five. Although part of the Boston Six, a group of composers pivotal to the American sense of classical music, her compositions were essentially in Romantic idiom and could compare to the works of Rachmaninoff and Brahms. Apart from being a composer, she was also a successful concert pianist.

  • CD 1: 2. Hermit Thrush Op. 92 No. 1: A Hermit Thrush at Eve
  • CD 2: 3. 4 Sketches, Op. 15 No. 3: Dreaming
  • CD 2: 9. Hermit Thrush Op. 92 No. 2: A Hermit Thrush at Morn
Arthur Farwell(1872-1952)

Arthur Farwell was one of the America’s most influential composers who was once educated as electrical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before pursuing studies in music. His initial interests were directed to different areas including astrology, numerology and photography.

  • CD 2: 8. Dawn, Op. 12
Daniel Gregory Mason (1873-1953)

Daniel Gregory Mason was an American composer who came from a family of notable musicians. He was educated at Harvard and in Paris later on with Vincent d’Indy. He admired Brahms, disliked Impressionism and ignored Modernism. As a result, most of his compositions mirrored the Romanticism.

  • CD 1: 6. Night Wind From Country Pictures, Op. 9 No. 6
Ernest Schelling (1876-1939)

Ernest Schelling was, at 7, the youngest to have ever been admitted to Paris Conservatoire where he studied with the leading performers and pedagogues at the time. Upon hearing Schelling, piano virtuoso, composer and once the Prime minister of Poland Ignaz Jan Paderewski took him as his only student for three years, from 1898 to 1902.

  • CD 2: 10. Nocturne “Ragusa”
Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)

Ernest Block was originally from Switzerland. As a violinist, he was educated at Brussels Conservatory. As a composer, he was educated in Frankfurt’s Hoch Conservatory.

  • CD 1: 7. In the Night – A Love Poem
Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884-1920)

Charles Tomlinson Griffes was considered the most famous representative of America to European Impressionism movement. He held great fascination to the French Impressionism which was reflected in his Tone Pictures, Op. 5.

  • CD 1: 4. Notturno for Orchestra, A.94
  • CD 1: 8. 3 Tone Pictures, Op. 5 No. 3: The Night Winds
Joseph Francis Lamb (1887-1960)

For ragtime music lovers (I am one), Joseph Lamb is a household name. Along with Scott Joplin and James Scott, he’s the most important ragtime composer. All three of them were collectively classified as America’s Big Three.

  • CD 2: 7. Nightingale Rag
Ferde Grofé (1892-1972)

Ferde Grofé was a multi-instrumentalist composer who came from a family of musicians. He was hailed in 1932 by The New York Times as the “Prime Minister of Jazz.”

  • CD 2: 6. Deep Nocturne
Leo Ornstein (1895-2002)

Leo Ornstein wasn’t a US native. He was born in Ukraine and studied composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatory before expatriating in US to escape pogroms. He studied in New York’s Institute of Musical Arts, now the Juilliard. Due to his shocking compositions that employed techniques that hadn’t been known yet such as tone clusters and polyrhythm, he was a frequent cause célèbre.

  • CD 1: 13. Nocturne No. 2 “SO 4”
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

Aaron Copland was respected as the Dean of American Composer. He was one of the most important composers of American classical music. He innovated classical music and turned it into what considered today American by combining both the jazz and folk music.

  • CD 1: 12. Night Thoughts (Homage to Ives)
Samuel Barber (1910-1981)

Samuel Barber was the most celebrated American composer of his time. At the Curtis Institute of Music, he studied singing and conducting in addition to piano and composition. After his graduation, he devoted himself to composing and went on to be regarded as the frontrunner of 20th century lyricism and romanticism.

  • CD 1: Nocturne, Op. 33 (Homeage to John Field)
George Crumb (1929)

George Crumb is an avant-garde, award-winning composer. He is a known explorer of unusual timbers who according to Ross Lee Finney, Jr. – his teacher at the University of Michigan – is an “American tinkerer” for experimenting with the combinations of various instruments and sound. Two years after receiving his master’s degree from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1953, he headed to Berlin Hochschule für Music as a Fulbright scholar.

  • CD 1: 1. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 1: Nocturnal Theme ()
  • CD 1: 3. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 2: Charade 
  • CD 1: 9. Premonition
  • CD 1: 10. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 3: Cobweb; Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 4:  Peaseblossom (Scherzo) 
  • CD 1: 14. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 5: Incantation 
  • CD 2: 5. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 7: Blues in the Night
  • CD 2: 11. Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik No. 9: Midnight Transformation
Marc-André Hamelin (1961)

Okay, Marc-André Hamelin based on: how I know him as a contemporary of Cecile Licad, being a classical pianist who also has a perfect pitch; his recording of the complete demonically difficult Chopin-Godowsky études; and as another diabolical composer of piano études is Canadian.

  • CD 2: 1. Little Nocturne

The pianist

Cecile Licad (1961)

Cecile Licad is a Curtis-trained classical pianist who in 1981 was awarded a gold medal by the Leventritt Competition. In 1985, her recording of Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 with André Previn conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra was awarded Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin. As a Steinway artist, she performed six Rachmaninoff Songs with tenor Ben Heppner in the Steinway Piano Sesquicentennial Celebration at Carnegie Hall. She has recorded for CBS Masterworks (now Sony Classical), EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, MusicMasters, Naxos, Hyperion and Danacord.

The record label

Danacord (1979)

Danacord is a Danish record label that caters for the recordings of less-often-heard music.

 

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Ray Donovan “Exsuscito” (Season 3-12) confession scene is sickening and emotionally charging

Drama, Reaction, Showtime TV series, TV Characters, TV Series

I went through the scene three times (more if I count the replay in my head) where Ray Donovan is in the cramped bleak confessional to ask pardon for his brother Terry. First take on it, it was already deeply troubling hearing from Ray when asked by the Father Thomas Romero why he killed Father Danny O’Connor. It is hard to believe Ray was breaking down. But it is a lot more emotionally unsettling to have him before our eyes dealing and renewing his childhood trauma from being raped by O’Connor. From there, we are able to pull out the reason behind his cold, tough-as-ice exterior as we hear him say:

I see the fucking pictures in my head every fucking day! Every night! When I hug my kids, I see these fucking pictures.

It is a very visceral depiction of a rape sans rape. 

Just as much Ray Donovan’s pent up trauma resurfaces and pain grinds through him, we get to wonder why again does he have to go through that horror. Any rape account is brazenly difficult, unimaginable, sickening and tormenting – and it’s even made more detestable by far immeasurable degree when the perpetrator is in power and uses it as a leeway to execute it.

Yet Father Thomas Romero is too intruding he badly and nosily needs to know why Ray murdered his colleague O’Connor. (Give him a break, priest.)

The details give no graphic illustration (and thank God), but the context of being taken advantage at the height of vulnerability is vividly and palpably presented it makes us too suffer and elicit hatred directed to Romero.

Ray Donovan: He told me I was smart. All right? He took me places. Bought me things.

Fr. Romero: And no one else in your life was doing that?

Ray Donovan: When he started in me, he said I was special. He said he saw something in me. The things he did. After a while, I stopped fighting him.

The confession is not about his redemption. He is there for his brother Terry, whose life is at the brink of the end. Yet for Romero’s conviction of Ray Donovan’s apparent selflessness – who now seems a bully God sent to impose his upper-hand – it’s should be about Ray. Then he goes on to be more appalling condescendingly claiming he knows how it feels for Ray when he says he stopped fighting O’Connor:

Ray Donovan: After a while, I stopped fighting him.

Fr. Romero: Of course you did. I know how that feels. You wanted to please him.

Those three sentences are a real nightmare. It looks that after all his gentle, strong-willed front, he belongs to the clandestine rank of pseudo-omniscient, lunatic religious leaders who are either thieves, or sex offenders, or unthinking hypocrites. He could have said nothing to maintain his credibility. Or he could have said something that is humble. And again, best nothing at all.

Ray Donovan is special. No one can’t see it. As it is, it turns out that his understandings are more poetic and far outweigh than those of Romero. Just as most (note: not all) religious ministers trained to see a one side, most of them are close-minded. Romero is deeply embedded into this “most.”

For Ray, it wasn’t to please O’Connor; it was because he cares for him:

Fr. Romero: Of course you did. I know how that feels. You wanted to please him.

Ray Donovan: No. It was more than that. I cared for him. I did it because I care for him.

Romero’s reading of Ray is arguable. It might insinuate that for him Ray was selling himself to O’Connor. But Ray’s submission (if we consider it when he stopped fighting O’Connor’s rape) to the abuse was filled with suffering and helplessness. He didn’t want it, not in any single way it ever resembles that he did. He was torn to be caught up in the turmoil of having someone who he trusts, who he respects, and who he cares for – a parent figure takes advantage of his personal vulnerability for personal gain and carnal pleasure. It was pure abomination.

As Ray breaks down, the priest’s already-hollow head empties further. Exactly at this point he makes himself a paragon of an unintellectual, callous catholic clergy. Trying hard to conjure a sympathy, he gets on:

He shouldn’t have done that to you, Ray. You were just a boy.

COME ON!

He shouldn’t have done that for many reasons. Among the least of them was Ray being just a boy.

First, second, third, fourth and forth, he shouldn’t have done that for humanity’s sake. He shouldn’t have done that not because he’s a priest or Ray was just a boy. He shouldn’t have done that because it violates a human being.

Watching that scene is a hell lot of an ordeal

I found myself weeping thrice (more if I count the replay in my head and while sieving my reaction). It wasn’t only for Ray Donovan. The abuse to him in the series happens all the time and manifests differently. Majority of them are left forever as haunting injustices due to power misused and abused.

The psychological charge it lends to its audience is reminiscent of Jodie Foster’s 1989 The Accused. Both performances equally give justice to their characters. Congratulations to Liev Schreiber. 

Exsuscito

The title is a latin first person present active indicative conjugation of the verb “exsuscitare,”  which means to awaken. The title “Exsuscito” then translates to: I awaken.

(I know a bit of Latin – enough to crack “exsuscito.” :))

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami

How to create this box/cube origami (Illustrated guide)

Cube/Box Origami, How-to, Origami, Paper

Heads up!

There are 12 figures provided in this post which contain two or more images. You can jump directly to them and skip the explanations, which are only deemed needed in such case what’s happening in the images isn’t clear.

What you need (only essential materials):

  • 6 square sheets to be folded as individual modules, which will be assembled to create the cube. Each module represents the side of the cube.

Average time it takes:

  • ~10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 1. The origami sheets should be square. Designate the front and the back.

If you have a differently colored back-to-back sheet, you’re free to choose for the front and the back. (There’s not much of an option if you have a single-colored, adjacent-sided sheet, is there?) The front side will be the exterior side of the cube once it is assembled.

The size doesn’t matter, as long as it’s square. For this box/cube, the length of the sides of the square sheet is 15 centimeter.

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 2. Fold the sheet into half. Unfold, then fold the two halves into half.

Fold the sheet into half (either crosswise or lengthwise). Here, it’s crosswise.

Unfold, so you see the crease in the middle that divides the sheet into upper and lower halves.

Fold the two halves into their halves by bringing the top and the bottom edges aligned with the crease in the middle. This makes the sheet horizontally divided into fourths with three horizontal creases cutting through.

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 3. Fold diagonally the lower left-hand side and the upper right-hand side.

At this time, there are three horizontal creases. Let’s call them the top, the middle, and the bottom.

On the left-hand side of Fig. 3:

  • From the left-hand end of the top crease, fold diagonally the lower left-hand vertical edge until it overlaps with the top crease. Do not extend the fold beyond the bottom crease.

One right-hand side of no. 3:

  • From the right-hand end of the bottom crease, fold diagonally the upper right-hand vertical edge until it overlaps with the bottom crease. Do not extend the fold beyond the top crease.
How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 4. Fold the the sheet as the creases suggest.

On the left-hand side of Fig. 4:

  • First, look at the top (upper left-hand side) and bottom (lower right-hand side) creases, and the middle vertical gap.
  • Bring down the flaps that make the vertical gap so you fully reveal the white-colored side of the sheet (as in the right-hand side of no. 4).
  • While bringing down the vertical flaps, fold the the flaps of the top (upper left-hand side) and the bottom creases (lower right-hand side). Doing this hides the white surface.
How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 5. Now you have  your first module, a rhomboid.

Turn the module over (referring to the first image, on the upper left-hand side). See those white surfaces, fold them against the red surface following the edge (see third image, on the lower left-hand side). Turn it over again and see now the rhomboid with a slit in the middle of the left and right diagonal edges.

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 6. Create vertical creases to turn the module into a square, which will be the side of the cube.

Turn the module as in the first image (leftmost, hand-wise). Fold the right triangle appendages so you create a square-shaped surface.

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 7. Six modules are needed. Each of them makes a side of the cube.

Repeat Figs. 1-6 five more times to complete 6 modules that will each be a side of the box/cube.

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 8. Assemble the modules together. Start with the four (not included the top and the bottom sides).

Insert the right triangles into the slits of the modules (i.e. yellow modules into the red modules here in the image). Right triangles as appendages serve as connectors. Slits serve as locks.

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 9. Secure the insertions.

Fully insert the modules into one another.

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 10. Four-side cube framework.

In Fig 9, the second image sees the assembled module turned over horizontally. This is to bring the red module (leftmost, no. 9 second image) atop (no. 10 first image) to enable the yellow module be inserted into its slit (no. 10, second image).

At this point, two modules are still left untouched. They will be used for the top and bottom sides.

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 11. Seal the top side with one of the two modules left. (In this image, the last yellow module.

Looking at the first image as top view, there are now front, back, left and right sides of the origami cube.

We seal the top with the last yellow module available. On the second image, the red is inserted into the slit of the yellow module. The same thing is done with the fourth image. The slit of the yellow module serves as the lock.

How to create box/cube origami. Step-by-step guide on creating a box/cube origami. Detailed with pictures.

Fig. 12. Seal the bottom side and lock everything in place.

In the first and second images:

  • Let’s put the bottom of Fig. 11 to top view, and use the only remaining module (which if you followed this tutorial exactly including the colors used, should be red). We do the same as done in Fig. 11 to end up with what is shown in the second image.

In the third and fourth images:

  • After finishing off the last two sides, it’s time to lock in the rest of the connectors that haven’t been inserted into their respective slits yet. This might be a little difficult, but it’s the same process. Once it’s done you now have a paper cube.

Where can you use it?

I  usually do origami to make something out of the paper pieces I have no more use or I have nothing to use for from the get go. Say, leaves of outmoded planners (that are not mine, since they do not work for me), coffee shop brochures, or classy newspapers.

But this cube, I once used it for a class project. There were six questions to be answered about a blind date we were asked to sign in. Because the instructor asked they be presented creatively – and I’m not artsy creative –  and I hated the activity of being put up in a date with someone I didn’t know, I inscribed each of my answers to each side of the origami cube. While dislodging the modules is easy to crack, it sure still gave my instructor a knack.

He was trying to dissect it in class and he almost tore the whole thing apart. I wanted him to, so he would never have got to read my account. But he decided to put it off until later when I can neither confirm nor deny his success in his attempt to peer through my thoughts about that blind date terror.

 

 

 

 

Wish granted: Eric O’Bannon died in a gunshot but… I’m not satisfied

Drama, Netflix, Netflix Series, Opinion, TV Characters, TV Series
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Source: Netflix

I did hanker for a sumptuous Eric O’Bannon death, but after having it served, only a fraction of me says: “You deserve it.” I was wanting more piercing. I wished him pain and guilt – stacks of emotional torture that he never got, in addition to the same thing Danny ducked out from, repentance. Death, apparently, for him was a convenient resort untimely bestowed. 

To the end he was the same douchebag since the beginning of Bloodline. There hardly was a maturity for him. He was stagnant corrupting people throughout the series. His sister, his mom and Danny and Rayburns.

We were able to see drastic character shifts with all the Rayburns, being frazzled with dilemmas they had to deal with to protect their family’s and personal status quo. Danny, however, was an exception and the development was least seen with Kevin who both got themselves entangled with drug syndicates being accessories.

We’ve been first surprised with John and Meg being a police and a lawyer to connive and clear free the Rayburn premises the drugs covertly stashed by Danny. It was a tragic, no-return tipping point that, however multiplied conflicts, offered a temporary resolve: the clan maintained its reputation as a respectable local figure.

Illicit as it may be, but it can’t be denied that their choices and actions were effective given that they were able to vindicate themselves of legal sanctions and veil their crimes. How was this able to happen was because their ceaseless tenacity to keep their reputation hard pressed them to take necessary heavy lifts – even if they transgressed morality and laws – which is a vital framework for any drastic change that leads to either development or destruction. 

For Danny and Eric, was there ever any time they significantly took off from a part of themselves that was keeping their footing? They never tried to wring free from their (godforsaken) values.

It’s always easier to linger in comfort zones, so it’s often those folks who don’t hop over hurdles don’t get displaced until their last breath, case on point for the two pity wretched souls.

They may have had suffered throughout their lifetimes, but they barely paid for the harm they tossed out to others, particularly to their families. Their deaths were conclusions of their lifelong self-oppression and not as tokens for the lives they ruined excluding theirs. Even if they, too, were victims, I maintain nothing less of the repulsion that had accreted on how they festered individuals trying to make sense out of their lives, despite not being circumstantially clean at all.

The conspiracy behind Danny’s injury was not enough of an excuse for the Danny’s perilous and sordid fate that followed; so was for the falling apart of the rest of the Rayburns.

On a subcutaneous level of looking at him for his resentment to his family, one might see how awful of a human being he innately was. Every other Rayburns took part in preserving their name esteemed by reframing the truth behind his shoulder injury. No way it was right, and sure as hell, it was difficult for everyone to get their heads wrapped around all the lies. But each grappled with their morality for something that they look up at to greater than themselves – the family.

For Danny, it was abandonment. Why? Because his gaze stops at himself. Was it being egocentric? For me, yes. In fact, it could have been his singular fair share of contribution to his family.

Why don’t they deserve death after all?

Death was a passport to escape. It doesn’t only end, but does absolve everything of the dead including the suffering, guilt and remorse that should have been made as a huddle payment to others who had been unfairly troubled by Danny and Eric.

I was hoping for that kind of development because I wanted them to be stabbed, punched and flogged over and over by what I think they deserve and – of course – to be deeply apologetic. But as reality slaps, some will rather die than feel horribly sorry to keep their pathetic figment of pride.

Refreshing dose of Ravel (by a highly-esteemed, world-renowned pianist you probably may not have heard of yet)

20th Century, Classical Music, Classical Piano Music, Female Pianists, French Composers, Piano Concertos

Ravel Piano Concerto in G major: Presto performed by Cecile Licad

Ravel G major Piano Concerto is a short prominent piece in the piano repertoire. An almost staple diet for every amateur and pro pianist, it’s not surprising to hear it in a thousand more readings. Most are exciting, some are outlandish, but it rarely comes as simple and as instinctive as the one posted. Not much quirks or shades -just the substance. You need a red or a white, you get just it. And when you get tired listening to all other unique, excellent performances, whose top-rank musical ideas blow away, this one is the to-go-for. It feels the same when you relish a five-star hotel suite, but at the end of that brief sublime encounter, all you want is to be at home. Unfortunately, we’re only given the third leg of this concerto performance by pianist Cecile Licad – yet enough refreshing dose of Ravel. Refreshing enough we’d be left pining for the piquant first movement and the divine middle movement by the artist.

Cecile Licad is a Curtis-trained, Leventritt gold-medalist classical pianist who in 1985 was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin in Warsaw, Poland for her Chopin Second Concerto recording with André Previn and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Interestingly she also made a recording of Rachmaninoff Second Concerto in 1982, when she was 21 years old, with Claudio Abbado and Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the CBS Masterworks Records, now Sony Classical Records, just as Yuja Wang – one of today’s young leading pianists – who is another Curtis-trained, with the same conductor and Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the Deutsche Grammophon. She was 22.

For anyone who liked the performance, I’ll scour for more of her great, no-nonsense takings on music. She also has a recording of Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, Le tombeau de Couperin, and Sonatina which startlingly the Gramophone magazine said of her a miscast for Ravel, when in otherwise the Classic CD not only gave it two thumbs up, but also awarded it as their Classic CD Choice.

One of my upcoming posts will be about that album. I will exercise my best to let whoever is interested hear some of them and be the judge himself especially if her Ravel has refreshened his sense of possibilities Ravel could be played. Let me know; hurl out a comment down and stay tuned.

Bloodline’s Eric O’Bannon should be granted a horrible death

Drama, Netflix, Netflix Series, Opinion, TV Characters, TV Series

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 6.09.34 PM

Source: Netflix

What is the most fulfilling takeaway of Bloodline Season 2? I can’t vouch for when Marco is brutally beaten to a gory death. Although he is annoying, he’s never nearly as festering as Eric O’Bannon which is why I wonder how come he is left nearly unscathed in the second season?

I can’t see why won’t he just shut up, pack up and abscond from the Florida Keys?

Let’s not forget that although Danny will never be replaced as the most hated character in the Bloodline, it is that scumbag Eric O’Bannon who opened the pit for Danny into the drug trafficking industry. While Danny is the sole take out on for being slaughtered by his own brother John, Eric was that false best man who never let Danny become a compassionate human being.

He is a sociopath who exploits out of all Danny’s vulnerabilities. Definitely, he’s not the kind of best mate anyone would wish anybody to have.

At the aftermath of the Rayburn family tragedy

After Sarah’s death, Danny has been severely alienated to his family for being blamed for his sister’s death. He’s gone despicably miscreant after his own family conspired of his father’s unduly assault on him which ensued an improperly healed shoulder injury, pain killer dependence and miserably shaped adulthood.

It’s right to think that for a decent buddy, instead to exacerbate the familial gap and scald further the searing relationship such as with between Danny and his family, he will at least keep silent and do nothing. But, Eric O’Bannon, proclaiming himself as a savior, resents too the rest of the Rayburns.

It makes me gloat that with Danny’s and Eric’s cynic-dripping mindsets, all they have fetched for themselves were nothing but rotten fruits of miseries.

The enraging part

There couldn’t be more upsetting when you look at how the Rayburns were doing fine before Danny comes back and desecrates their picturesque beachside property – which epitomes the Rayburns as a close-knit, ideal family –  by using it as a stopover-slash-shelter for trafficking drugs.

His three siblings John, Meg, and Kevin touchingly and reasonably, albeit twistedly, are forced to conspire – once again – from the authorities and smuggled those sacks of drugs off the Rayburn property to keep ensuing scandal away that will irreparably collapse the Rayburn’s respected reputation in Florida Keys.

At the point, all you want for Danny is to die. It feels as if Danny raped his own family. Especially when you think about his mom Sally whose demeanor is so demure and immaculate.

On a second opposing thought, you will root for the lawfully “right” thing. Turn their brother in and let legal actions takes in-charge even if the family will never recover. After all, they’ve built careers for themselves. Kevin owns a boatyard. Meg is a lawyer. And John is a police. Even if their name falls down, they will not.

Somewhere in between, you will pin it down to Sally, for being too soft and weak toward her, uh, (you’re free to fill it in) son. Maybe she deserves it.

But, is the Rayburn downfall warranted just because Danny was a self-serving a-hole?

Their family business will never recover if the DEA finds out that the inn was being used to stash and traffic drugs. Their name will be permanently mudded.

It was all Danny’s failing; why shall the rest of the family take the toll? Not fair!

Danny is troubled, but not an excuse

John Rayburn (on brother Danny Rayburn):

Even before Sarah’s death he was always a problematic child.

Meg Rayburn (on brother Danny Rayburn):

A lot have had family issues but not all of them turned into Danny.

Sarah’s death preludes the Rayburns’ tragedy; Eric replaces her – alongside with the whole family – in Danny’s heart

Flashback to the day of Sarah’s death.

When Danny was taking Sarah to go on a boat ride, John stopped them telling him they’re not allowed without an adult. Danny took Sarah with him nevertheless and the ride went south.

Danny following the tragedy found a family at the company of Eric. It’s not hard to picture how it happened. When Danny pisses you off, mainly as the man he turned out to be, you will not help but be pissed off too by Eric. But since the first season treated us – with aplomb – with John’s murder of his brother Danny, there’s only Eric left to get heated up from.

In the second season, he bulks up with a lot more disdainful notoriety. He was the sturdiest root of the three Rayburns’ scrambling of hiding the truth behind their brother’s death.

While they committed crimes that are gravely punishable by the law, I will personally decree them acquittal. But it’s so deeply unsettling that getting away isn’t an easy job because there is Eric.

Danny’s death doesn’t mean he’s not alive

Danny may have been inhumanely, yet satisfyingly, incinerated and abandoned for decay, but his presence still strongly troubles the Keys. Through the willfulness of Eric O’Banon, he persistently haunts John, Meg and Kevin.

What’s even more contemptible is why won’t he look at himself and measure his own culpabilities (or contributions) and stop for a while pointing finger at the hardworking, responsible, self-righteous Rayburns, who are, however, not entirely white.

For both of them, they were both undeservedly oppressed by the Rayburns.

Danny has a redemption; what is Eric’s?

Danny has a son. He used to have a wife. He used to have a family. He used to run a restaurant. He used to have a career. He used to have a life. While Danny was showing signs of doing well, where was Eric O’Bannon? Looks like just messing around and trashing himself.

Eric has always been on Danny’s side. While he gave Danny a staunch sense of belongingness, he was never instrumental to making Danny be closer to his family. He tugged him away from where he supposedly belonged. Then he planted him into the drug trafficking quagmire. Danny died and now he won’t let the three, already shattered Rayburns get away.

From the beginning, he has always been a f*cked up, and he never let himself be alone on board. He wants the rest come along.

In real life, the kind of Danny and Eric is the kind that pollutes the world. If they aspire to be perpetually corrupted, they should please do so at the expense of themselves and not to the extent of having to pull down ones who are either already bad or good, and those in between.

One gets a second chance when he commits an inhumane act to himself, but when that act has been directed towards others, in my personal opinion, apology and forgiveness can’t  simply cover for it. It’s not about the perpetrator becoming a better or worse version of himself. It’s about people who do not deserve be done something bad.

Danny has had his fair share of sentence. Eric O’Bannon – who as Danny called his only one real brother –  for causing a lofty magnitude of disturbance to the Rayburns (to his family: sister and mother as well) should be granted a horrible death equally or more gravely as that of his late best friend-slash-pseudo-brother.