Art, Music, & Film: October 2006 Archives

MamaT's Homeschool Contribution


MamaT posted a link to Pachelbel's Canon, a piece Sam is currently learning for a future piano recital.

Here's my response to MamaT:

Dear MamaT,

Thank you! You just contributed to a homeschool lesson about why it's important to practice your piano. Sam loved that piece and he's learning it on piano now. I pointed out to him that once he learned enough piano playing and theory he'd be able to build his own Canon.

"And my own music?"

"And your own music."

"And other people would play it?"


Thanks again MamaT.

Bookmark and Share

"So Long Self"

| | Comments (2)

In the car, I tend to listen to a Christian Music station. I don't much like it; however, if I'm going to hear words coming out of Samuel's mouth I'd rather they be "Holy, Holy, Holy" than "I'm as good once as I ever was." Given the dearth of classical music and even of classic radio, it's either CDs or Christian music or silence, and a car is never silent.

So, I was listening this morning as I came into work and I was really surprised by a very pop-py, kicky sixties-mod Beatles invasion-rock piece by a group called Mercy Me. For a moment I forgot I was on Christian Radio and was just really enjoying the music, and then I paid attention. I was stunned by the subversiveness of the lyrics and how I was drawn into this very anti-secular song. This is the power of Christian art--it creeps in under the radar and wallops you. A perky, Petula Clark tune becomes an anthem to immersing oneself in Christ and putting on the "new man." Cool.

Note: For several days I had the wrong title in the header. I thought I fixed this yesterday (10/26) but it appears to have failed. So, trying again.

Bookmark and Share

In the category of preaching to the converted:

Each book of the Harry Potter series is imbued with great Christian lessons. We might argue over Rowling as stylist or Rowling as successor to Tolkien and Lewis or Rowling as literature; however, to the reader who has spent any time with the books, Rowling as devout and informed Christian is nowhere in doubt. Each book teaches something about the believer in Christ and how that believer behaves in certain circumstances.

The particular event of interest occurs at the end of the fourth book of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It is spectacularly portrayed in the movie, and caps the book off with a scene horrifying, dramatic, and stirring. Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory have both touched a device that transports them to a place where the bane of the series Lord Voldemort await the arrival of Potter. Upon arrival, Cedric is summarily dispatched and Harry's blood is used to revivify the skeletal, embryonic Voldemort.

Then ensues the duel in which Voldemort attempts to finish off what he began so many years ago--the death of Harry Potter. The two engage.

Now the remarkable instance--in the course of the engagement Harry sees Cedric, Harry's mother and father, and (in the book, if I remember correctly) a whole host of those whom Voldemort has killed over time. Harry's mother tells him, "We can only give you a little time." The host descends upon Voldemort giving time for Harry to run to Cedric's body and transport the two of them back to Harry's world.

If, in this instance, we allow Voldemort to stand-in for sin, which, as we know from St. Paul leads to death (hence the derivation Vol-de-mort or "flight of death"--which will have several meanings in the series) we can see the communion of the Saints as it works. We engage in a battle with sin, temptation. We are the combatants. The fierceness of the battle and our faith summons help from Heaven's throneroom, the Saints, who engage through prayer the powers, principalities, thrones and dominations, that trouble Heaven and our own world. As Harry's mother advises, they can only give respite, it is up to us to flee from sin--but they can and do intercede for us providing the out--we can escape if we move away (of course aided by the Saints and God's will).

This image is reinforced later when Dumbledore, unpacking the experience for Harry, reminds him, "You know, we can never bring back the dead." Harry doesn't seem to understand this for what it means, but it is very clear to the reader that we cannot bring back the dead because, in fact, they never leave us. They are a cloud of witnesses gathered about us thickly and participating in every event of our lives--those tied to us by blood, most fiercely, but aided by all the warriors of Heaven (It is my hope that, undeserving as I am, the chiefest of those warriors is the Holy Mother of God and the Great Redwood of God, St. Therese.)

Thus, embedded, entangled, and completely blended throughout her series of novels, Rowling gives us lessons and views of how Christianity really operates. "But no one ever goes to Church or prays, or anything Christian." And of course, as anyone knows, that is less than nothing as an objection because the same holds true for both Tolkien and Lewis, her forbears in the art of bringing the truth of Christianity to the unsuspecting reader.

Bookmark and Share

On Parsifal

| | Comments (2)

A remarkable non-analysis from John Runciman in Wagner.

"PARSIFAL" (1882).

This disastrous and evil opera was written in Wagner's old age, under the influence of such a set of disagreeably immoral persons as has seldom if ever been gathered together in so small a town as Bayreuth. The whole drama consists in this: At Montsalvat there was a monastery, and the head became seriously ill because he had been seen with a lady. In the long-run he is saved by a young man—rightly called a "fool"—who cannot tolerate the sight of a woman. What it all means—the grotesque parody of the Last Supper, the death of the last woman in the world, the spear which has caused the Abbot's wound and then cures it—these are not matters to be entered into here. Some of the music is fine.

I'd like to know more about how Wagner used this legend contrary to its orirgin. I've never watched it, but have long admired some parts of it. I should think that Tristan und Isolde would be far more problematic.

From Richard Wagner, Composer of Operas by the same Runciman:

The whole affair is a spectacle which I must say is disgusting to healthy minds. The insinuations are frightful. Consider, reader, seriously for a moment: Parsifal—Siegfried grown to manhood—knows and cares nothing about womankind. As soon as he knows what a woman is he revolts, learns through that knowledge and by his acquaintance with suffering—acquaintance, I say, because he himself has never suffered—that there are two cures for all the woes of humanity. Discard women and pity the men. The thing is absurd, and suggests that the mighty genius was on the verge of imbecility. But the desire to please mad Ludwig accounts for it all in a very undesirable fashion.

Bookmark and Share



About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Art, Music, & Film category from October 2006.

Art, Music, & Film: September 2006 is the previous archive.

Art, Music, & Film: November 2006 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll