Sunday, November 4, 2012

Own and Play an Instrument

The advent of musical notation facilitated the creation and performance of complex music. No longer was music limited to what could be fashioned in one's head and memorized, but intricate harmonies and rhythms could be worked out, revised, and shared. Music was liberated from the mind and hands of the composer. You could now play music even if you could not compose music, at least if you could get your hands on any scores. Paper was precious, and thus so remained music.

The arrival of the printing press made music plentiful. Instead of having painstakingly to transcribe scores by hand, a process which produced not only illegibility and errors but relatively few copies, sheet music could be shared in great quantities. All that remained was the not inconsiderable task of learning to play it.

The invention of recording and replaying music at last made music cheap, and by cheap I do not mean poor, of course, but rather more precisely, costing little labor or trouble. One can now enjoy music without having either to write or to play, or even to ask or hire someone to play. You pay a modest fee and can enjoy a performance as many times as you like. Without much of an investment you can experience a massive symphonic movement or a delicate piano miniature. This ease has many virtues, the greatest of which is that one can hear performances one would otherwise never have. Likewise one can replay performances and study and compare technique and interpretation. Lastly, one can simply enjoy more music.

None of these benefits ought to be underestimated and I am not about to castigate sellers of CDs and mp3s. Yet minds starting with Plato's have considered the ill effects of putting ink to paper, wondering what is lost. Perhaps there is not much difference among the leaps to written music, then to mechanically printed music, and most recently to recorded music. The presence of written music meant that to play music one no long had to be creative, one could simply play the notes on the page. Yet this innovation seems not to have led to a decrease in composition or performative creativity. Not only did professional and semi-professional composition explode but so did amateur music writing. Likewise was it common both to write and play, but even performers who did not compose were expected to extemporize. True, few improvised like Bach and Mozart, but it was the norm for performers to have a few tricks and techniques with which to play with a theme on the fly. Mind you, it was not all excellent in concept or execution, but musical activity boomed.

Yet the popularity of recorded music has, I think, coincided with live music becoming a rarer presence, and thus music in general becoming a more passive experience. I don't mean to suggest, though, that recorded music has caused a decline in performance, only that the omnipresence of music made possible by recording has masked the decrease of live performance. Not in concert halls necessarily, has live music disappeared, but in the nooks and crannies of life. This is a rather anecdotal observation, but it seems the DJ has replaced the performer at most social gatherings, or perhaps more precisely, at gatherings at which music is not the focus. It seems harder and harder to find a space into which recorded music or worse, television, are not pumped in. Likewise informal music-making seems not so frequent. I wonder how many musicians, professional and amateur, play or sing informally in social gatherings or among small groups of friends. Is it common or acceptable at a party to begin to sing and play, or must the TV and iPod be on to entertain us?

Now recorded music is not to be regarded as an evil, but its presence reminds us that in the absence of the scarcity and struggle which necessitate certain virtues, we must cultivate them for their own sakes. In this case, although we are not forced to learn an instrument in order to enjoy music, we ought to learn the skill and cultivate the talent because making music is a meaningful and edifying activity. We will always be entertained and engaged by the virtuosi who play what we cannot dream, but there is also a place in society for casual music-making with its variety, spontaneity, happy accidents, and good humor.

So when the power went out last week and I sat in the dark listening to the charge in my iPod slowly ebb away, I realized with a new clarity that it didn't in fact house any music, but rather reproductions. Neither did the CD contain any, really, nor the sheet music. Music is someone playing, with all of the spontaneity and imperfections of the performer, the audience, and the moment, not a canned experience identically reproduced each time. So I went over to the keyboard, sat down, and promptly remembered it was electronic.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

We Are Back

So stand we returned from our unannounced and unexpected hiatus, a hiatus precipitated by a number of factors not the least of which were, first, an inordinate quantity of Latin materials I had to make for work, and second, a rather substantial blackout in NYC. I would, however, be guilty of a lie of omission if I did not mention a few other causes of my impromptu break from blogging.

Foremost among these esoteric excuses is, I say with no small amount of astonishment, a certain intellectual fullness. Indeed it is to the surprise of my philosophical self I confess this, but I have been rather content with my mental house, pleased to dwell amidst its intellectual furnishings. I haven't been perplexed or confused or infuriated about much of anything and thus I have had little to share about being, time, being and time, positive externalities, or the contrapuntal arts. Regrettably, if satiety breeds anything it breeds indolence.

Yet the wide world of APLV is not a contentious place, really, so one might wonder why satiety or indolence or such should create lacuna of no less than four weeks. I believe it is a certain restlessness which goes hand in hand with an active mind that creates. Even if he is not grumpy per se, the intellectual has some want of understanding which drives him to poke around, in contrast to the egotist, who perceives a want of being understood. An intellectual experiences, as the Philosopher noted, a desire to understand. Of course if this is so then equally it is possible my mind had been sated by pleasures, pursuits, and entertainments apart from writing. It is also possible I briefly became omniscient, or that I am not, in fact, an intellectual. I'll leave it to your powers of induction, dear reader, to consider those possibilities.

Actually, perhaps that's a point worth pursuing. It is facile observation to note how one only has so much time in a day and all mortals have wondered how, say, Bach and Shakespeare simply had time to do so much of such quality. How did they maintain such sustained interest in narrow fields? Put another way, how could one man have had so many ideas of the contrapuntal or theatrical variety? How did his mind never drift afield, or grow content simply to tend and take what had been planted? Were they not interested in their houses, hobbies, or their wives? Perhaps this is simply the dilettante, or indolent's, dilemma. Perhaps it is the prosaic concern of an earthly intellect.

In any event I'm back to my curious, gregarious, and fussy self. Blogging resumes forthwith. Thank you for your patience.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Movie Review: Taken 2

Directed by Olivier Megaton. 2012.

It is with great disappointment I report that Taken 2 does not work. At all. Yes, Liam Neeson thwacking and outmaneuvering hoodlum assassins provides a good deal of entertainment, but these scenes run few and are stitched together so routinely that they don't take on any importance. Worst of all, the stitches constitute the majority of the movie.

Taken 2 picks up where its predecessor left off with the family members of the criminals that Bryan (Liam Neeson) slew in pursuit of his daughter, seeking revenge. How will they find and take him? Well while they figure that out we sit and wait. And wait. For about a half hour we wait while the characters themselves wait to go somewhere something can happen. While we wait we watch Bryan console his ex-wife Leonore (Famke Janssen) whose new marriage is ending, and keep tabs on their daughter's driving lessons and new boyfriend. Hooray.

At last, by a swoosh of the pen, everyone is in Istanbul, where we wait. We wait as the assassins keep tabs on Bryan's family as they talk on the ferry and talk in the car and swim by the pool and please let something happen. As you can see the biggest problem with Taken 2 is that precious little of what happens in its 97 minutes is significant.

Finally the assassins make their move and I'll tell you for a movie titled Taken, the next few scenes spend an awful lot of time trying to prevent getting taken. This of course is necessary to some degree, Bryan can't be a pushover especially when his daughter had already been taken once before, but the scenes go on and on. The original Taken did not linger over the kidnapping and used its suddenness and the fact that Bryan couldn't prevent it to deliver a single blow. Taken held us in suspense by putting Bryan on a timetable and throwing obstacles in his path. This sequel seems to have ignored the problem that it can't add suspense by making us wonder whether someone will be taken, but only who will be taken.

spoilers hereafter

So it turns out that this time around Bryan and his wife are kidnapped and I would like to add that he was not entirely helpful in avoiding this situation. You see when Brian realizes their car is being followed he gives Leonore some instructions for getting to the U.S. Embassy. I tell you I couldn't follow his instructions and I was just sitting in the theater drinking my soda, unlike poor Leonore who was being chased through Istanbul.

After the slur of stock material that is the first hour, we have some potential for excitement. Unfortunately what we get is Bryan's daughter running over Istanbul rooftops setting off grenades so he can use the sounds of the explosions to calculate where he is held. Then she drives circles around a fleet of police cars, albeit with her father's help, before neatly plopping down in the middle of the embassy.

Absurdity aside, the pacing at this point is so unsure I assumed the movie had concluded and that Bryan would rescue his wife in the final installment. Reenforcing this sense were the subsequent shots, any of which could reasonably have ended the picture. This blunder of pacing and tone makes the finale seem a hasty, unnecessary coda. Worse still, the finale cuts so many times to shots of his wife looking potentially deceased and then turning out not to be, that any drop suspense dissipates straightaway.

The final confrontation between Bryan and the father organizing these vengeance kidnappings is competent, but not totally satisfying. While we admire Bryan for trusting the father at his word to end the violence, there is no discussion at all of motives, vengeance, justice, or any ideas which could lend significance to what we see. Likewise this sequel neither acknowledges nor develops the social and political dimensions of Bryan's confrontations in Taken and thus this scene doesn't resound any themes beyond the personal conflict.

Taken 2 concludes with an off-putting disconnect as Kim's lanky hipster boyfriend sits down across from Bryan, this loving father who did terrible violence for his family. The only way this scene could have worked would have been to strike the tone that Bryan was willing to protect him too. Unfortunately, Taken 2 is entirely indifferent to ideas and the scene is played for a laugh on the old theme of the father reluctantly accepting the boyfriend. Ha ha.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Top Ten: Libertarians I Would Like to See Debate the Candidates

The failures of the recent Presidential debate and the "Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium" got me thinking about just whom I would like to see debate the 2012 candidates. Here is my list of individuals I think would hold candidates' feet to the fire and articulate the philosophy of liberty.

10. John Ziegler
  • From 2004-2007 on his KFI radio show Ziegler demonstrated a powerful ability, part perspicacity and part research, to observe events over a long period of time, noting many overlooked details, and then stitch them together to nail an opponent. I think any debate with Ziegler would demonstrate the saying that a liar ought to have a good memory.
9. Richard Epstein
  • I would love to see Obama and Romney debate Epstein's breadth of legal understanding, seemingly instant recall of cases, and the sheer speed of his delivery.
8. TIE: Penn JilletteJohn Stossell
  • Jillette and Stossell are both today's great libertarian "everyman." No other well known libertarians can convey so purely the sentiments, "What more do you want from me?" and "Why can't you just leave me alone?" Against either Obama and Romney would look pushy and authoritarian. 
7. Peter Schiff
  • Neither Obama nor Romney could compete with how Schiff can quickly paint the result of a given course of action. 
6. Nick Gillespie
  • Gillespie is simply tops at demonstrating how the answer for some people is always, "more governmental power." His opponent would instantly become the "Moar Cowbell!" candidate

Review: Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium

I don't like Bill O' Reilly or Jon Stewart. I don't find them particularly wise or informed, or articulate or funny. Both have a talent for interviewing, Stewart teasing out inconsistencies and O' Reilly holding someone to a single point, yet neither can be considered an intellectual by any stretch of the imagination.

Furthermore it is this general ignorance of the law, history, economics, political science, and philosophy, coupled with an inability or unwillingness to think systematically, which wafts the odor of pandering from their million-dollar studios.

I don't intend to analyze every element of this debate, which was nonetheless entertaining and provoking despite the participants' intellectual shortfalls, but I would like to note their premises and their answers to the question, "What do you think is the biggest problem in America?" I hope in simply laying out their ideas one may see them for what they are, and are not.

I. Stewart's main thesis is that America is a social democracy and that from the times of the pilgrims Americans wanted stuff for free. Americans, he said, essentially wanted socialism so they created Social Security and Medicare et cetera, therefore wanting more socialism. He did not address the many logical, constitutional, or moral implications of this assertion. He specifically rejected the idea that a citizen has to agree with everything the government does, though he did not define this position as majoritarianism or discuss this principle's impact on individual sovereignty. He adopted the progressive notion articulated by Wilson that democracy and socialism are in essence the same (see Socialism and Democracy.)

Curiously, Stewart said that the biggest problem in America remains that our political dialogue is about socialism and capitalism, or freedom and tyranny. To Stewart, America has socialistic governmental institutions thus they're here to stay, and preferably grow. Aside from this being inconsistent with his aforementioned majoritarianism, it is also takes for granted that these institutions work or can be made to work. He wants not less government but efficient government, completely bypassing the fact that no monopoly of any kind is ever efficient.

Lastly, because according to Stewart America was, is, and by right ought to be socialist, President Obama's policies are not fundamentally transformative.

II. O'Reilly's premise seems to have been that America was not socialist and is not and ought not be and President Obama is therefore fundamentally transforming America. He refused, however, to admit that any American program is socialistic in principle and argued that only at some degree does a program become so. Stewart even pressed him as to why he thought the progressively taxed Social Security program was not socialism and O' Reilly did not have a satisfactory reply.

To the question of America's greatest problem O' Reilly answered that capitalism rewards the greed which drives people in the media to lash out and tear people down. There was no follow up about whether this was true or what one could or ought to do about this.

If in describing O' Reilly's ideas I am brief only because they seem so close to those of his opponent. Stewart wants unlimited socialism and O' Reilly wants to restrain it at some arbitrary point. They both adore Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

With respect to rhetorical prowess, I don't think either man debated well. Anyone trained in rhetoric and oratory would have cleaned their clocks. Stewart's comedic antics tired me and distracted from the issues as they usually do, as did O' Reilly's paternalistic finger wagging. Neither man had a firm command of the facts, especially historical, legal, or economic ones, although O' Reilly had clearly done some math homework.  Structurally, this was certainly more of a debate than the recent presidential one which, as has been pointed out, was more of a joint press conference. Stewart and O' Reilly truly and admirably engaged each other, and mostly in good spirit. Neither debate, however, was well-structured or competently moderated.

Overall what The Rumble lacked most was a discussion of first principles. Both men dealt in caricatures of the other's ideas, but neither seemed to have any first principles of his own to articulate. Thus the debate about domestic policy was debate over how much, not whether. The debate about the debt devolved into a blame game. The foreign policy discussion never approached questions of actual policy, only criticisms of particular actions. And so on. I don't believe any mention was made of the Constitution at all.

The Rumble is useful insofar as it provokes discussion, but it certainly doesn't recommend these men or their ideas. The two anchors ended on the note that neither man could imagine disagreeing so fiercely with someone that he couldn't engage him and discuss the ideas with him. A bright spot.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

They Took Our Jobs!

They took our joooobs!
Tom Woods's remarks in a recent Mises Institute lecture brought to my mind the gaggle of grousing South Park denizens who, whenever anything threatens their income, complain that, "They took our jobs!" Regardless of the causes and their own actions, these citizens ascribe all guilt to some thieving tormentor who has robbed them of their God-given livelihood.

Never mind whether society actually needs their wares or crafts, whether they could have differently saved or invested, if they could have changed careers or locations, and so forth, these people cry, "They took our jobs!" The obvious implication is that someone must make up for their loss, and hence Tom Woods's perspicacious comments reminded me of their demands.

It is terrible to see your expectations and plans fall out beneath you, but that's only because your expectations and plans were at odds with everybody else's expectations and plans, and a market correction is precisely that, it is the realization of precisely this problem: that there has been this lack of coordination. So why should everyone else have to suffer to pay for the stimulus to make some people whole. Why would that be socially desirable for everyone? A market correction is the way individuals say through their buying and abstention from buying that the previous array of prices was too high and we want to see them lower. Who is the government or the federal reserve to second guess that?

And the people whose lost in the bust are going to be in the forefront, demanding stimulus to re-inflate a tire with a large hole it, but other individuals have interests too, and those interests do not necessarily lie in ensuring that some arbitrary asset once again reaches some arbitrary price level. [1]
What strikes me most about Woods's words is the word arbitrary. No good has a fixed value but rather, as Woods has said in tidy summary of the Austrian science of human action known as praxeology, "The very act of choice... implies cost." [2] So why should any given good have its price inflated higher than what customers will freely spend for it, or reduced to lower than what is worth to its owner? Why would any good be deemed special? Why would any group of workers buying or producing that good be deemed special? Besides, the value of the good is never fixed for either the producer or the consumer.

For the producer, the price might be lower when he has streamlined production or  it might rise with rising costs of materials or from the pressure of a wily competitor. For the consumer, his resources, needs, and wants can vary from time to time, thus his willingness to pay a given cost can vary. Customers and producers adjust to these fluctuating variables, supply and demand, in a free marketplace, buying and selling goods if and only if they think the exchange gives them what they want at that time.

If the iPad costs $500, some people will pay for one and some won't. If Apple profits from selling the device at $500, then that means the iPad is worth $500 to enough people with $500. Both parties win.  If Apple sells too few to profit, they must either charge more for it, or construct it with fewer resources so they can charge less and thus sell more of them. Where does government or Federal Reserve or any third party get the authority (legal or moral) or knowledge to tell Apple how much it costs to make an iPad (by way of telling them how many people to employ and/or how much to pay them or how many they can sell) or how much it should profit from the sale, or the consumer what the subjective value of the gizmo is to him?

Apple is but one example, but why should any industry, that is, the employees and entrepreneurs of any industry, be prioritized? Why ought the price of steel remain high to benefit steelworkers when efficiencies might make it cheaper to the benefit of people who purchase steel? In any of the following examples, why is one party more important than the other? How could any of the following statements be justified?
  • The price of automobiles must be kept high by means of bailouts enabling the company to employ more costly workers, to protect auto workers at the expense of those who buy automobiles. 
  • The price of grain must be kept high through subsidies, to protect farmers at the expense of those who buy food. 
  • The price of American goods must all be kept high by protective trade tariffs, to protect Americans who sell goods at the expense of Americans who buy goods. 
  • The price of houses must be kept high through stimuli to protect home owners, real estate salesmen, and construction workers, at the expense of those who want to buy houses or to rent. 
  • Companies must be bailed out to protect shareholders, at the expense of those who do not speculate with their savings. 
  • Why should spending be encouraged through low interest rates, at the expense of those who save?
To justify any such assertion is not only to plan the economy, but society.

[2] Woods, Thomas E. Jr. The Church and the Market. Lexington Books. 2005.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


[Periander] sent an agent to Thrasybulus [the tyrant of Miletus] to ask what was the safest kind of government for him to establish, which would allow him to manage the state best. Thrasybulus took the man sent by Periander out of the city and into a field  where there were crops growing. As he walked through the gain, he kept questioning the messenger and getting him to repeat over and over again what he had come from Corinth to ask. Meanwhile, every time he saw an ear of grain standing higher than the rest, he broke it off and threw it away, and he went on doing this until he had destroyed the choicest, tallest stems in the crop. After this walk across the field, Thrasybulus sent Periander's man back home, without having offered him any advice. – Herodotus. Histories, V.

"It is time that equality bore its scythe above all heads. It is time to horrify all the conspirators." –Maximilien de Robespierre

Leveling is the barbarian’s substitute for order. –Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just Suppose. . .

You bought the tickets, cleared your work schedule, hired the babysitter, and finally you and the madamina head to the theater. Phantom. Smoke, mirrors, chandeliers. Oh boy! Unfortunately when you arrive, the theater has been "renovated." Now the seats encircle the stage and you can see past the it to the people across. They yawn, chew gum, shift in their seats, but you can live with it. It's Phantom, after all.

So the curtain goes up and you await the overture, only to hear the march from Raiders of the Lost Ark. There's nothing wrong with the Raiders theme, but it's in the wrong key, the wrong genre, the wrong meter, and thematically it doesn't relate. Sure it is rousing like an overture, but it's completely out of place. The "overture" ends and you, avid connoisseur of the theatrical arts, persevere.

So the chorus comes out dancing and twirling as all seems well. Then the prima donna steps out and strides to center stage. Her whole body is poised to let forth a torrent of bravura virtuosity and at last she opens her mouth. . . and tells you the piece you are about to hear is in D major, common time, and at allegro tempo. "It can be found on page 75 of your score," she adds. Now you're pretty ticked. Is this a rehearsal? You glance at your wife in disbelief, but what are you to do? Walk out? Of course not, so you sit and nod off as the show goes on.

Eventually the Phantom himself stalks onstage, his ivory mask glinting under the theater lights. Your spouse nudges you awake. The titular seducer coos:
Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation
Darkness stirs and lessens consternation
Silently the senses walk out on their defenses
Slowly, softly night uncurls its splendor
Touch it, sense it, tremulous as ever.
"He changed the words. Why did he change the words?" You think to yourself. "They're not bad words, but they are the wrong words. I don't get it." Then the Phantom looks up and starts singing at the audience instead of at the leading lady. What's going on?

You're so focused on the oddities that the song is over before you realize it. The two bickering theater owners have entered for their scene, but something is off with them too. At first you can't place it. They're speaking and their words make a certain sense, but something is missing. There's no direction to what they're saying, they're ad libbing. And badly, at that. Eventually they're just rambling. At this point you're hoping the chandelier will fall on you and end this madness. Instead, the choir enters (late and off key, because they didn't rehearse) and starts singing the finale to Les Miserables.

Just suppose any Broadway performance went so awry: it would make the newspapers. Yet similar liturgical follies occur weekly, daily even, at churches everywhere and parishioners don't kick up much of a storm. Explanations of the phenomenon abound: indifference, philistinism, Sandinistas. It is possible, however, some virtue lies at or near the heart of this curiosity.

On the one hand, art is an aesthetic experience. If the execution fails, the purpose fades. The purpose of the liturgy on the other hand, is not primarily aesthetic. Its execution may be poor, but excepting outright abuses, its purpose endures, hence people go to church despite the exceedingly poor art of celebration. In this respect, the faithful permit the aesthetic degradation because there is virtually nothing the priest can do which will turn these parishioners away. Why sing Palestrina when the status quo will do? Why prepare a homily when off the cuff remarks will suffice?

The faithful who would express the liturgy through the transcendent power of art have a few fates. Some are democratically stifled, others learn to stifle themselves. Some will sit and seethe, others will leave for greener pastors. A handful of crusaders may take up arms against their priests, organists, and music directors, making a lot of enemies in the progress. What seems to me the most productive path is likewise the most challenging. A few thoughts.

First, people will be persuaded by different arguments. Some will find liturgical laws compelling, others will find them onerous. Some will be roused by paeans to beauty, others will find them highfalutin. Choose the appropriate argument and remember you need not persuade someone on all accounts.

Second, do as much as you can. Make phone calls, make appointments, make reservations, make copies. This will relieve other people of the responsibility, which many people welcome, and it will in many cases give you the liberty to make decisions. That said, don't angle for more authority or other peoples' jobs. Just do as much as you can as well as you can, if you carry out those tasks well, others will come.

Third, do everything as well as possible. Neglect no detail, aim for perfection. Some people will notice right away, others will notice when you aren't the one arranging matters.

Fourth, get creative. If you don't want guitars at mass, then organize some other event at which those individuals can perform. If rehearsals for that new event should happen to coincide with rehearsals for mass or mass itself. . . Find a way to keep them involved, but not crooning through the liturgy.

Fifth, be the alternative. Always have your plans ready to go at a moment's notice. When there's a blip in the status quo or when nothing else is ready, you'll be ready to jump into action, pulling someone's fanny out of the fire while giving people a taste of your vision.

Sixth, think big and small. It's all very well and good to aim for an EF or Latin NO, or a piece of polyphony at mass, but think small too. Sometimes a grand gesture is needed, sometimes a subtle one. Aiming to add or remove one piece of music, better train the altar servers, or improve the website might be the falling of stones which starts the avalanche. The better you can make any one part, the worse the shoddy elements around it will look and the more others will be amenable to tweaking them.

Seventh, thank people. Everyone, preferably. Bring them into the game. If they don't do anything, ask them a question and then thank them "for their guidance." Also, if you mention a group or committee, then you better know the names of the people in it.

This is no small task, but what more could be at stake?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Haydn: Three Choral Fugues

The choral fugue has long been the crown with which composers consummate their greatest works.  From the leaping dances of Bach's B minor Mass to the flashing fugatos of Handel's Messiah, these choral coronations become the most memorable moments of the works. Such is in part due to their functions within the pieces as celebratory climaxes, but we need look only as far as Theodora for a finale grand and sombre.

Bach and Handel have in these pieces, with their expressive harmonies and vigorous rhythms which threaten to break free from all restraints, the perfection of their geniuses. For this good reason the music is much and well commented upon. Yet Haydn's genius too saw in the choral fugue's counterpoint not just the frame for a grand finale but the potential for depicting and amplifying an idea. Haydn would find for the nature of the fugue, with its many contrapuntal variations, ideas which themselves would flourish in such development. In his oratorio The Creation he found some ideal subjects and set to work.

I. The first of the three great choruses of the oratorio concludes the Third Day of Creation.
Stimmt an die Saiten, ergreift die Leier!
Lasst euren Lobgesang erschallen!
Frohlocket dem Herrn, dem mächtigen Gott!
Denn er hat Himmel und Erde
bekleidet in herrlicher Pracht.
Haydn's choral fugue for, "Denn er hat Himmel und Erde / bekleidet in herrlicher Pracht," is not simply a ride over thrilling rhythms, but the many entrances are appropriate to the logic of the text: the draping of magnificent garments. With each entrance we feel the hand of the Maker twirling pure splendor around his creation.

II. The choral finale to the Fourth Day is well-known to English speakers as "The Heavens Are Telling" and it fares translation better than other movements. By what better way to display the myriad wonders of creation than by counterpoint's manifold arts of inversion, diminution, augmentation. . .
Die Himmel erzählen
die Ehre Gottes
und seiner Hände Werk
zeigt an das Firmament.

III. Effective though it is, Haydn's conclusion does not seem to live up to the previous movements, at least with respect to putting the counterpoint to inventive pictorial use. Perhaps the concept of praise doesn't admit to much development or lend itself to any contrapuntal expression other than, "every which way, forever," perhaps it's simply a perfect, if obvious, fit. 
Des Herren Ruhm,
er bleibt in Ewigkeit.