A country's sharpest weapons cannot be displayed


To collect, first scatter.
To weaken, first strengthen.
To abolish, first establish.
To conclude, first initiate.

This is called subtle illumination.

Soft and weak overcome stiff and strong.
Fish cannot escape the deep pool.
A country's sharpest weapons
Cannot be displayed.
That wisdom is from a translation of Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching. My recent rewarding listening has included Azahar (orange blossom in Spanish) from Simon-Pierre Bestion's vocal and instrumental ensemble La Tempête. This new release from burgeoning independent label Outhere Music takes listeners beyond their comfort zones by presenting performances of Guillaume de Machaut's Messe de Notre Dame, Igor Stravinsky's Mass, Alfonso X El Sabio's Cantigas de Santa Maria and Maurice Ohana's Cantigas with the sections of the four works juxtaposed instead of being programmed sequentially. As well as challenging accepted programming conventions this new CD is notable for showcasing Maurice Ohana's Cantigas, which he considered to occupy "a crucial position" in his output. A video sample is below, and my appreciation of yet another neglected 20th century composer was published under the title 'Unlocking the music of Maurice Ohana'. I took the header photo in the souk of Rabat, Morocco recently, and Maurice Ohana was born not far away in Casablanca in 1913.



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