The Breakfast Club (Renaissance Man)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgSo today the Wayback Machine takes you to the sunny days of the Renaissance (well, sunny in comparison to the Dark Ages or even late Medieval Period) commonly dated to 1400 – 1600 more or less.

Now among the signal advances musically during this time period is the development of recognizably ‘modern’ musical notation, though to contemporary eyes it’s bears about the same relationship to the scores you performed in Band, Orchestra, or Choir (heh, worked in a BÖC reference there) as a First Folio does to an Annotated Complete Works.  For one thing color was used to denote duration in a variety of contradictory schemes, more to the point previously solid heads were opened in the manner of the current whole and half note because of the replacement of vellum with paper which was instrumental in making the printing press so successful.

And you thought it was just for words.

Nope, the systematized notation of music and printing of same made the spread of musical ideas philosophy, science, and theology (the latter of which was pivotal in the political struggles of the period) much easier than previously possible.

But in 1410 – 20 when John Dunstaple was active during the early Renaissance it was still all just one big happy Catholic family though those pesky theological issues would raise their ugly head soon enough.

Early Renaissance music owed much to the sacred music of the Late Medieval where most works were commissioned directly by Cathedrals and Monasteries for performance during services and were rarely exclusively instrumental.  The lyrics taken from prayers (in Latin of course).  The institutions hired or trained their own composers who hardly ever traveled or changed positions and most instruction and direction was personal and transmitted by word of mouth.  As a result musical performance and culture was very insular and idiosyncratic. Because of it’s origins in the Medieval tradition to contemporary ears the music seems droning and repetitive, soporific is the word I’d use to describe it.

Dunstaple was certainly no exception for the most part musically though he is noted for his adoption of tri-tones, thirds, and sixths in harmony, but in other respects he was quite unusual.  That he was a lay person as opposed to a priest or monk we infer by the large number of wives that predeceased him.  His influence on European music was widespread, from his native England to the remotest eastern principalities of the Holy Roman Empire though it had a particular resonance with their Burgundian rivals.  He wrote secular and instrumental music as well as sacred.

The secret of his success?  The printing press and musical notation.  It’s possible we know much of his work, but all music of the period is at best loosely attributed and much authorship disputed by scholars between him and his contemporary Leonel Power, also English.

The musical output of medieval England was prodigious, yet almost all music manuscripts were destroyed during the English Reformation, particularly as a result of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536-1540. As a result, most of Dunstaple’s work has had to be recovered from continental sources (predominantly those from northern Italy and the southern Alps).

He’s arguably the most influential English composer of all time, yet very few people today know about him.  About 50 works are definitively attributed to him with the first collection ever published in 1953, 500 years after his death, and those almost immediately subject to scholarly debate (academese for knockdown drag-out fighting).

Not disputed are a collection of 12 Motets of which 6 are easily discoverable on-line.

Quam pulcra es

Did I say soporific?  I’m sure I (yawn)…  Anyway, the other 5 as well as the Obligatories, News, and Blogs below.

All our Motets were performed by The Hilliard Ensemble and since they’re not visually very interesting I’ve shrunk them down the maximum amount, 267 width by 200 height (any smaller and I can’t get them to play for me).

Agnus Dei

Salve Regina misericordiae

Veni sancte spiritus – Veni Creator

Salve scema sanctitatis

Alma redemptoris mater


Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

I would never make fun of LaEscapee or blame PhilJD.  And I am highly organized.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

This Day in History


EU backs supply of arms to Kurdish fighters in Iraq

Julian Borger, The Guardian

Friday 15 August 2014 12.15 EDT

The EU has backed the supply of arms to Kurdish fighters to help fend off the threat of Islamic extremists in Iraq but insisted that such deliveries should be approved by the new government in Baghdad.

An emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels issued a statement on Iraq calling the country an “important partner in need of strong support” and called for urgent investigations into “atrocities and abuses of basic human rights which could be considered crimes against humanity”.

While seeking to strengthen the KRG in the face of the Isis threat, the US and western European states have been wary of boosting the cause of Kurdish separatism, which they fear would destabilise the region further.

Sunni tribal leaders offer to battle Islamic State if Baghdad makes concessions

Mitchell Prothero and Adam Ashton, Sydney Morning Herald

August 16, 2014 – 11:49AM

Leaders of Iraq’s Sunni Muslim tribes threatened on Friday to rebel against the Islamic State, the first indication that a change of government in Baghdad might allow a new prime minister to rally the country’s divided ethnic and religious groups against the Islamist extremists.

But the Sunni offer to battle the militants came with strings – possible autonomy and the withdrawal of Iraqi military forces from Sunni areas – that would be difficult for a Shiite-led government to grant, and Shiite politicians in Baghdad showed little enthusiasm.

Mr Hatem, whose Dulaim clan is the largest in Anbar province, said tens of thousands of Sunni tribesmen and other anti-government groups now supporting the Islamic State would change their loyalties if the new government in Baghdad offered something in return.

He said that the Islamic State includes thousands of non-Iraqis who could easily be defeated by Iraq’s much larger complex of Sunni tribes.

All the new government of the prime minister-designate must do, Mr Hatem said, is end Iraqi army and Shiite militia activities in Sunni areas, limit government and American air strikes to Islamic State targets and hold a referendum that would grant Sunnis autonomy from the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

“We will fight them once you return our rights and remove the Maliki militias,” Mr Hatem said.

Ukraine president claims Russian vehicles that crossed border have been destroyed

Shaun Walker, The Guardian

Friday 15 August 201

Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, told David Cameron by phone that his country’s armed forces had destroyed part of an armed convoy that the Guardian saw moving through a gap in a border fence on Thursday night.

There was no immediate proof, and it was impossible to establish if the Ukrainians had targeted the same convoy seen by the Guardian. The Russians categorically denied that any of their troops were even in Ukraine. But the claim marks a new escalation in the six-month confrontation over Ukraine and if verified would amount to the first confirmed military engagement between the two adversaries since the crisis began in the spring.

The Guardian and Telegraph witnessed the convoy crossing through a gap in a wire demarcation fence on Thursday night, close to the village of Severny on the Ukrainian side. The convoy had waited by the side of the road several miles away until darkness fell, and then moved towards the border. As it crossed the fenced area armed men stood guard. It was impossible to verify the destination or ultimate fate of the convoy, or monitor how long it stayed on the other side of the border.

Russia strongly denied any incursion. The FSB security service said it was in fact a mobile response team of border guards operating strictly within Russia’s borders. A spokesperson for the FSB Border Guard Service in Rostov region told Russia Today: “When residents report about cross-border shooting and fighting in the frontier zone, these teams are immediately deployed to such areas to provide the safety of the Russian state border and Russian citizens, and also to prevent armed people from crossing into the territory of the Russian Federation.”

On Thursday there was further large-scale movement of military hardware along the road between the border and Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, where a caravan of more than 200 Russian aid trucks is awaiting onward shipment to eastern Ukraine to deliver humanitarian aid.

The Guardian saw at least 50 armoured personnel carriers and dozens of trucks and troop carrying vehicles, many emblazoned with “Peacekeeping Forces” and some flying the Russian flag, on the road. They appeared to turn off before reaching the immediate vicinity of the border. Most of the support vehicles had plates that identified them as belonging mainly to the Urals Military District, while others were from the North Caucasus region.

Ebola outbreak compared to wartime by Doctors Without Borders

CBC News

Aug 15, 2014 10:45 PM ET

Joanne Liu, international president of Doctors Without Borders, spoke to reporters in Geneva after spending 10 days on the ground in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the three countries most affected by the outbreak.

“I really had the feeling that it is a wartime, in terms of fear,” Liu said. The epidemic is moving and advancing without clues, she added.

Liu called the lack of infrastructure in the West African countries struggling to contain the epidemic an “emergency within the emergency” because people don’t have access to basic health care, which creates distrust.

“My biggest concern is that we are exposing the medical staff over and over again,” she said.

There is no cure and no licensed treatment for Ebola virus disease but rumours are circulating, especially in affected areas, that certain products or practices can help prevent or cure it, WHO said in a statement on Friday.

“All rumours of any other effective products or practices are false. Their use can be dangerous. In Nigeria, for example, at least two people have died after drinking salt water, rumoured to be protective,” the UN health agency said.

Doctors and nurses focus on providing supportive care for people infected with the Ebola virus, such as maintaining patients’ blood pressure. Health-care workers, such as Brantly, are also among those who’ve been infected.

Two players die at world chess event in Norway

Esther Addley, The Guardian

Friday 15 August 2014 13.44 EDT

The most prestigious international tournament in chess, at which the world’s top players compete alongside amateurs to win honours for their country, has ended on a sombre note after two players died suddenly within hours of each other, one while he was in the middle of a match.

Hundreds of spectators attending the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromsø, Norway, and countless others watching live TV coverage on Norway’s state broadcaster, reacted with shock after Kurt Meier, 67, a Swiss-born member of the Seychelles team, collapsed on Thursday afternoon, during his final match of the marathon two-week contest. Despite immediate medical attention at the scene he died later in hospital.

Hours later, a player from Uzbekistan who has not yet been named was found dead in his hotel room in central Tromsø. Norwegian police and the event’s organisers said on Friday they were not treating the deaths as suspicious.

Meier is not the first player to die in the middle of a match; in 2000 Vladimir Bagirov, a Latvian grandmaster, had a fatal heart attack during a tournament in Finland, while in the same year, another Latvian, Aivars Gipslis, suffered a stroke while playing in Berlin from which he later died.

Tarjei J Svensen, a reporter for who attended the Olympiad, said the event had a reputation for heavy drinking. “There are two rest days during the competition, and particularly the night before the rest days there tends to be a lot of drinking,” he said.

A favourite attraction for delegates was the now-legendary “Bermuda party”, he added, hosted at each Olympiad by a member of the Bermudan delegation.

Last week the women’s team from Burundi were disqualified after failing to show up for their round six and seven matches; they remain unaccounted for, Heitmann said on Friday.

Who says Chess is not a party sport?

U.S. lawmakers want to end transfers of military equipment to police

By Susan Cornwell, Reuters

August 15, 2014 4:32pm

U.S. lawmakers alarmed by the aggressive police response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, are pushing for Congress to limit the Pentagon’s ability to provide civilian police departments with military equipment such as armored vehicles designed for the battlefield.

Georgia Democrat Hank Johnson wrote colleagues in the House of Representatives this week seeking support for legislation to curtail a program that passes surplus equipment from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to municipal U.S. police forces, free of charge.

Three other Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee wrote to Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, to ask for a committee hearing on “recent incidents of local law enforcement using excessive force.” They pointed to events in Ferguson, where demonstrators have protested the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by police, and elsewhere.

The “brutal force” used against the Ferguson demonstrators, including the use of riot gear, armored vehicles, and tear gas and rubber bullets, raised concerns that “local law enforcement is out of control,” the lawmakers said. The letter was written by Representatives John Conyers, Steve Cohen and Bobby Scott.

Rick Perry: Texas governor indicted for abuse of power allegations

Associated Press

Saturday 16 August 2014 05.36 EDT

The potential Republican candidate for president in 2016 is accused of abusing his official powers by publicly promising to veto $7.5m for the state public integrity unit at the Travis County district attorney’s office.

He was indicted by an Austin grand jury on Friday on felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Maximum punishment on the first charge is five to 99 years in prison. The second is two to 10 years.

“I took into account the fact that we’re talking about a governor of a state and a governor of the state of Texas, which we all love,” said Michael McCrum, the San Antonio-based special prosecutor. “Obviously that carries a lot of importance. But when it gets down to it, the law is the law.”

The indictment is the first of its kind since 1917, when James “Pa” Ferguson was indicted on charges stemming from his veto of state funding to the University of Texas in an effort to unseat faculty and staff members he objected to. Ferguson was eventually impeached, then resigned before being convicted, allowing his wife, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, to take over the governorship.

Mo’ne Davis Dominates at Little League World Series

The New York Times

AUG. 15, 2014

Mo’ne Davis was on the mound for the first time since her suffocating performance in the Mid-Atlantic Regional championship, when she shut out Delaware-Newark National to lead Taney Youth Baseball Association of Philadelphia to the Series. Most of the announced 15,648 in attendance recognized the potential for something historic to unfold.

Davis pitched six innings, gave up a pair infield hits and struck out eight in a 4-0 victory over Nashville. By the end of fifth inning, with her Tennessee counterpart at the 85-pitch limit, Davis had thrown just 44.

Out of the nearly 9,000 players who have participated in the Little League World Series, only 18 were girls. Davis is the fourth American girl, and with Emma March of Canada also playing, this is the third time in the tournament’s 68-year history that two girls are competing at the same time.

Major League Baseball has a new pope – but can it fight off the MLS heretics?

David Lengel, The Guardian

Friday 15 August 2014 09.30 EDT

The lords of baseball, executives from its 30 clubs, shacked up in a hotel and played the role of the cardinals (not St Louis), remaining on the grounds until they elected a new leader. And after a full day of back-room maneuvering that included one of the three candidates, MLB VP of business Tim Brosnan, dropping off the ballot, baseball fans finally saw white smoke in the early evening – MLB’s chief operating officer, Rob Manfred, defeated the Boston Red Sox executive Tom Werner and will succeed Bud Selig in the role he held for 22 years after getting at least the 23 votes (the last reportedly coming from Washington) necessary for him to become one of the most powerful men in sports today.

Not that any of the owners asked for your opinion, but if you’re a fan of the status quo this is probably it. Selig will continue to have an advisory role after retiring in January with his handpicked successor running the show. There were a host of issues throughout Selig’s term, including but not limited to the 1994-1995 players strike which cancelled the World Series and multiple performance-enhancing drugs scandals. But if you’re an owner, you know that the No1 job of the commissioner is to make you money and that has happened, currently to the tune of some $9bn in annual revenues.

Television ratings are down, and the baseball being played is getting slower and slower, which may be just fine for the older people that watch but not for the kids who don’t. This may sound crazy, but with each passing day, Major League Soccer, which shares part of sporting calendar with the baseball season, becomes more and more of a long term threat to MLB, never mind what happens when the NFL kicks off in September. When you turn MLS on, there are reasonably full stadiums featuring colorful crowds that sing, chant and play drums while following the action, which is constant and wrapped up in roughly two hours. It looks good and it sounds good, and when you consider the progress MLS has made in just 18 seasons, competitors should be taking it extremely seriously.

Net Neutrality Period Extended by FCC

Posted by: Jose Technology, Angle Chronicle

August 15, 2014

Just now, the FCC or Federal Communications Commission revealed that the deadline on the commenting period on net neutrality has been extended until September 15.

The original deadline was supposed to be July 15. However, plagued by website issues, the FCC extended the deadline. This extension is the last glimpse of hope of those who are opposed to the idea that allows broadband companies to charge websites in exchange for being placed in faster service lanes. The very thought, most would argue, could end the democratic Internet.


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