Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bluebeard's Castle is awesome

Saw the semi-staging at Benaroya tonight and it's pure Bartok. I am amazed that an opera with just tw0 characters worked so well. If Pinter wrote opera ... no, Pinter isn't quite good enough to have staged such a fascinating story even if his stories can be as overwrought. It's surprisingly accessible music ... for Bartok, though the hall was anything but packed.

But I don't feel like blogging about this so much since I am about to embark on a sturdy journey through a commentary on Jude and maybe muster up the nerve to read 1-5 Enoch THIS weekend.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

1-5 Enoch is on hold ... but

Richard Bauckham rocks! Picked up his commentary on Jude and 2 Peter yesterday. It will serve as a fun study for my little Jude project.

Monday, May 28, 2007

nothing quite like paper

Even though you can download all kinds of public domain works for solo guitar by composers like Sor and Giuliani and do so for free I admit that the toughest thing to do is to take that laptop screen out on the road and about town. And the thing is that for the cost of printing a fairly large piece or set of pieces the old-fashioned bound book score is still the way to go. No loose pages floating away when you open the guitar case some slightly windy Seattle afternoon. You can shelve it somewhere and come back and know exactly what it is you're looking at.

So I have broken down and bought the studies of Sor and Giuliani. The right hand studies by Giuliani are sufficiently fantastic just going studies 1-40 I figured I should have them for the road. Travelling for work trips has reminded me that it might not even be bad to have a small cheap, backpack size guitar to take on planes as carry-on.

1-5 Enoch, ow

I didn't quite realize how long this collection is. And I didn't think my digging into Jude would lead me to writings by the somewhat opaque Clement of Alexandria. Or maybe I just haven't really delved into patrology or "early Christian writings" as much as I should.

Instead I walked out to a park and waded along side the water by a retaining wall that keeps a rail line in place and hiked around in Seattle faux woods llistening to music by William Byrd, which was fun. I figured with a three-day weekend I needed ot get out o fthe house and spend a few hours in sunlight before tackling apocrypha and then I got hom eand had food and eralized I didn't feel THAT up to throwing myself into apocrypha.

Studying the historical and literary nature of Jude leads a person to read and write far more than the length of Jude itself would ever suggest. That's just the nature of researching ancient Christian literature that cites a couple of books of Jewish apocrypha.

Of course it was good for me to get out and get some fresh air and walk around.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A scintilating weekend with 1-5 Enoch

But it's probably going to be tomorrow that I try to read all this stuff. I'm committing myself to researching stuff about the epistle of Jude, which cites directly one apocryphal book (which, given ancient citation customs, means I feel obliged to eventually read the whole kit and kaboodle ascribed to Enoch). There's some debate as to whether Jude references The Assumption of Moses. Origen thought so but there's not really what we'd tend to call manuscript evidence of what the book entailed, though Clement of Alexandria seems to have a somewhat indirect reference to the content of the Testament/Assumption of Moses.

Jude's use of non-canonical literature presents a special can of worms since the citation of a non-biblical literary or historical source does not automatically canonize Hellenistic writers anymore than Jewish pseudopigrapha. But I've got a nice, long weekend here and I suppose I may be better off just going on a walk and reading stuff later.

Plus I haven't played guitar as much as I should, either, or piano. That's waht spending half the month in Los Angeles can do for you if you don't have a guitar you want to haul through Sea-Tac or LAX. I may just need to fix that later on if I'm going to do more traveling.

The Year of Magical Thinking

Yes, I know, it was published about two years ago but I took a while to get around to reading this. The subject was death and grief and since Joan Didion isn't exactly chipper at the best of times in her writing I wasn't sure I felt up to reading her book when it came out a few months after the death of my maternal grandmother.

But other than a short but striking anecdote in chapter 21 I got through without so much as getting misty-eyed. Not for nothing does Didion seem unusually remote in her personal writing. She's sort of like the oracle at Delphi, neither revealing nor concealing but merely giving a sign, and perhaps like Heraclitus notes that people who search for gold move much earth and find little.

She's the muse of the pointlessness of imposing our narrative on the world as a way for the world to make sense. Her leitmotiff in the closing chapters that no one watches the sparrows is obviously a counterpoint to the idea that "His eye is on the sparrow" as it has been lodged into our receding cultural memory by Mahalia Jackson's rendition of a famous song from the Gospel tradition in America.

Well, I do believe His eye is on the sparrow so Didion chooses to hang out in places I don't go to by profession. Still, I've never felt obligated to agree with a number of authors whose works have fascinated me. I'm hardly a pantheist but a lot of Miyazaki's films and certainly his comic book Nausica resonate with me.

Still, this is a book featuring Didion during what would have to be reckoned a more hysterical or irrational stage of her life dealing with the death of her husband of about four decades and with what she did not yet know at the time of writing would be the death of her only child. Now exactly why she and John Gregory Dunne named their daughter Quintana I don't recall and it's not a name I'd ever pick but it sure is a memorable name.

Well, I could blog about the book in more detail but I don't feel like it right now. It's late, as an old song puts it, and I also need to urinate. Blogging always gets obstructed at some point by biological imperatives and the need to pee is surely one of the more unavoidable ones.