Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Down to brass tacks

Tuesday's in the bag. All that's left are two seminars tomorrow, a field trip on Friday (Stonehenge!) and of course to finish my essays/book reports.

Not sure how I feel about Oxford. It's a busy little town right now with all of the tourists; the population has shifted while I've been here from students my own age to high schoolers and their parents wandering around the shops and landmarks looking for more things to take pictures of. I'll definitely have to come back during one of the terms next time I'm here.

My essays are slowly emerging from a stew of thoughts and ideas. The professors leading my seminars haven't been very specific at all about what they're looking for, which gives me a chance to show my ingenuity and so forth I suppose. We'll see what they think of my crazy Canadian ideas.

If anyone wants some music to listen to whilst trying to decode Lewis' poetry, the Peabody Concert Orchestra has recordings of Holst's Planets on their website. Holst was working with a slightly different cosmology than Lewis, so the Sun and moon are replaced by Uranus and Neptune, but Lewis was quite fond of the rest of Holst's interpretations. (Except Jupiter, which has one section based on a bit of a folk tune from the 19th C., which isn't nearly exalted enough for Lewis' perception of Jovial glory. Today, we recognize the style as something older than our contemporary music and immediately make the opposite reaction.)
You will, of course, recognize the most popular bits of Holst's themes from film soundtracks of the last thirty years or so. There is hardly a composer who hasn't drawn some inspiration from Holst at some point; this should not be seen as a problem as much as a blessing, because it captures exactly the kind of "thematic enjoyment" that Lewis was so adamant about. When you hear the Martial procession, you are meant to think of war and hardness and that's exactly what happens. The music communicates something that's very, very difficult to communicate in an intellectual way, though Lewis was trying (and succeeding, I think) to do it with words.


Blogger etechne said...

i still have a copy of holst's planets on vinyl...g-d i feel old!

3:14 pm  
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