This morning’s photo of the rioting in Kiev –

kiev202way_wide-702d894cf63cc2a066f1a5cf1ffac93627ad5eca-s5-c85

(Yannis Behrakis /Reuters/Landov)

– is an eerie, discomfiting reminder of one of the iconic images from the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II:

WWII Stalingrad

Here’s an image of Independence Square in Kiev in better times, courtesy of visittoukraine.com:

independence_square_kiev

Could picturesque Montpelier, Vermont –

Montpelier, VT

– ever see smoke from fires set by protesters?  Of course it could.  Though historically the danger has been higher from flood –

Montpelier flood

(Vyto Starynskas)

– and the prospect feels remote at this moment, things could change.  Here’s an image from the “Occupy” protests in 2011:

20111015-occupyVermont-11-500x331

One of the best things about music is the way it connects us to history.  Every rehearsal with the Burlington Choral Society of François Joseph Gossec’s Grande Messe des Morts, which was sung to honor the dead after the Storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789, puts us in the midst of the revolutionary fervor, revolutionary danger.

Storming of the Bastille

The music excites me viscerally, but it’s as close to the real thing as I ever want to be.

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