1. The video above features Leonard Bernstein conducting Mozart’s Ave Verum , one of the hymns the church choir sang when Colm Toibin was growing up in Ireland.  It’s quite beautiful. 

    Author Colm Toibin on his formative experiences in the Catholic Church:

    “The cathedral, both in my boarding school — the church — and the cathedral in my town were both designed by Pugin, which was a great English 19th-century neo-gothic architect, and he created really beautiful spaces … [S]o I suppose [that was] my first connection with beauty, of seeing stained glass, of seeing soaring architecture, came from the church and also the choir in Enniscorthy where I’m from, they would have always sung Mozart’s Ave Verum, so that the idea from a very early age [of] hearing religious music, and also the smell of incense and the vestments of the priests and the fact that the priests themselves were figures that people had enormous respect for. So yes, all of that was so much a part of life that you never even thought about it.”

  2. On beauty

    author interviews

    colm toibin

    The Testament of Mary

    Fresh Air

    Leonard Bernstein