Taemin, Music Video for “Want” (2019)

“At the end of the ‘WANT’ music video (3:03-3:19) by K-pop artist Taemin, the choreography takes place in front of [Rodin’s] gates of hell.”   –Contributor Parker Ridaught

“Want” was the title track and first single from Taemin’s second album, released in February 2019. The full video is available to view on YouTube.

Contributed by Parker Ridaught (Florida State University ’20)

Scenes From the Mountain, a score for Purgatorio by Zachary Cheng (2020)

Scenes From the Mountain is a musical score for Purgatorio by Zachary Cheng (DeMatha Catholic High School ’21).

Of his composition, Cheng writes: “This small movement, which is only around six-and-a-half minutes long, was incredibly difficult to complete despite its length. I returned to it many times over quarantine though I could not seem to find any musical ideas that would stick with me. That changed for the better when I returned to the work in late August and decided to shift my approach. Instead of specifically cataloguing the tale of Dante, I decided to use music to describe the general environment of the Mountain of Purgatory. This ended up giving me more musical freedom. I also shifted the orchestration from a traditional orchestra towards something I am much more familiar with, that being the wind ensemble. The specific movement here encapsulates the base of the mountain (Canto I) up to just before the Valley of Princes (Canto VII).”

The score, with Cheng’s interlinear notes, are available to view here. Listen to it on Soundcloud.

Many thanks to Zachary Cheng and his teacher, Mr. Homer Twigg of the Department of Theology at DeMatha Catholic High School, for permission to share the composition.

Cities and Memory’s Inferno Soundscapes (2020)

“To mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s masterpiece The Divine Comedy, more than 80 artists from all over the world have created his vision of Hell through sound – this is the Cities and Memory Inferno.”   —Cities & Memory website (posted November 23, 2020)


Listen also to Cities and Memory‘s soundtrack to Giuseppe de Liguoro’s 1911 film L’Inferno, available on YouTube:

G-Dragon, “Divina Commedia” (2017)

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“The end of hardship Divina Commedia…”

Click on the image above to access the lyric music video, released in 2017, on Youtube.

“The Books That Changed David Bowie’s Life” (2020)

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“David Bowie was a voracious reader and made a list, three years before he died, of the 100 books that had changed his life. These had fuelled his creativity, shaped who he was, and they provide a new way of understanding him. For each book, John O’Connell provides a short, insightful essay and pairs it with a Bowie song. Perhaps surprisingly, only eight books are concerned directly with musical subjects, while 12 relate to various aspects of the visual arts. Some are about mental illness; his half-brother Terry had schizophrenia and died by suicide and Bowie battled depression. There are some interesting poetry choices such as Dante’s Inferno and Homer’s Iliad. Of the eclectic novel collection, some are predictable but many are certainly not, and black people’s and outsiders’ experiences characterise the non-fiction.” [. . .]    —Brian Maye, The Irish Times, March 7, 2020.

Gojira, “Inferno” (2003/2020)

“Gojira may have put the brakes on the new full-length album that was rumored for release this year, but that doesn’t mean 2020 will be completely devoid of new music from the French foursome: the band has posted a new live performance video, shot at the Duplantier brothers-owned Silver Cord Studio in New York City, of a previously unreleased song called ‘Inferno,’ originally written in 2003.

“The song was inspired by the 1925 film Maciste All’inferno, which also happens to be the name of a live recording Gojira made in 2003 while playing along to that very movie. Wikipedia tells us that the album was recorded live while a projection of the film was running at the Rock School Barbey in Bordeaux, France, on May 29, 2003. That recording, which was never officially released, ran for 50 minutes and consisted of 15 individual tracks, while the selection Gojira have released today is just under four minutes — maybe it’s one of those 15.” [. . .]   –Vince Neilstein, “Gojira Post Previously Unreleased Song, ‘Inferno’,” MetalSucks (October 30, 2020)

Watch the video on YouTube.

Contributed by Pete Maiers

Riccardo Muti’s “Concert for Dante” in Rome (2020)

“As part of ongoing programs that commemorate the 700th anniversary of the death of celebrated Italian poet Dante Alighieri this year, Riccardo Muti leads a special “Concert for Dante” in Rome on Oct. 3…

muti-leads-concert-for-dante-in-rome-october-2-2020The program features several works and composers inspired by Dante’s masterwork The Divine Comedy, which portrays the poet’s journey through the afterlife traveling through the Inferno, Purgatory and ultimately arriving in Paradise. The Te Deum, which is recognized as one of the earliest surviving Christian hymns, is heard by the poet as he enters Purgatory. Verdi’s Laudi alla Vergine Maria, an a cappella choral work for female voices, incorporates text from a short prayer in Canto XXXIII of Paradise, the third part of The Divine Comedy. Composer Franz Liszt, who is represented on this program with his symphonic poem Les préludes, was a great admirer of Dante’s work and was also inspired to write the Dante Symphony, which Muti, Zell Music Director of the CSO, led in performance in 2017, and offers a glimpse into the theological and emotional world portrayed in The Divine Comedy. 

The celebrations to honor Dante, whom many recognize as the “Father of the Italian Language,” started several weeks ago on Sept. 5 when President Mattarella participated in a special ceremony at the poet’s tomb in Ravenna, Italy, where the Dante died in 1321.” []    —CSO Sounds & Stories, October 2, 2020

See more information on special Dante anniversary programs at Dante2021.

Selva Oscura Album, Lawrence English and William Basinski (2018)

“Tonight, as part of the Fulcrum Arts Annual Benefit fundraiser—which itself sits within Fulcrum Arts’ A×S Festival: City as Wunderkammer—Lawrence English and William Basinski will present the world premiere performance of their collaborative album Selva Oscura.”    –XLR8R Staff, XLR8R, November 7, 2018

CIX, Hello Chapter 3: Hello, Strange Time (2020)

See the video teaser trailer here 

Contributed by Justin Meckes

Radiohead, “Pyramid Song,” Amnesiac (2001)

“According to Colin Greenwood, it was the image of ‘people being ferried across the river of death’ that most affected Yorke. This is reflected in the song’s many references to Dante’s imaginary journey through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, Divine Comedy. These include the black-eyed angels, a moon full of stars and jumping into the river.”    –Anonymous user on songfacts.com

Contributed by Justin Meckes

For an academic take on Radiohead’s Dantesque influences, see the discussion of “Pyramid Song” in Brad Osborn, Everything in its Right Place: Analyzing Radiohead (Oxford UP, 2017), p. 192 [log-in required]:

“In addition to depicting images directly correlating to the song’s lyrics, the song’s music video suggests further allusions to this scene—Dante’s fifth circle of Hell—not directly found in those lyrics (‘let us descend now unto greater woe; already sinks each star that was ascending’).19 The greater woe of the music video is the environmental fallout of a warming planet—precisely what Yorke identifies as Dante’s ‘lukewarm’ (both literally in terms of global temperature, and figuratively regarding humankind’s collective inertia for change). Global warming reappears continually in Radiohead’s multimedia output. Take for example the short Kid A promotional video—affectionately refereed to by fans as ‘blips’—that promoted ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’ (2000–10). In this video the iconic ‘minotaur’ that accompanies nearly all of the Kid A and Amnesiac artwork is reimagined as a polar bear stranded on a sinking floe of ice. What immediately follows cements the link between global warming and Dante. As the polar bear slowly sinks to the tune of ‘I will see you in the next life,’ a sinister, red-eyed, black-cloaked minotaur sails across the river—now blood-red—in a tiny row boat brandishing a sickle.”

See also Giulio Carlo Pantalei, “The Middle Ages of Postmodernism: Dante, Thom Yorke, and Radiohead,” Dante e l’arte 6 (2019): 127-142.