Louise Janin, A La Poursuite Des Illusions (1962)
A couple of belated Holy Week treats, perhaps to be remembered for next year, but both are especially well-suited for introducing people to the story of the Passion and Resurrection. First, via my friend Ken Myers, the tenor James Gilchrist takes us on a brilliant half-hour walk through Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, in which he sings the role of Evangelist, and sings it wonderfully. Second – and this may be hard to see for those outside the UK unless they know a trick or two – there was a lovely Holy Week service at King’s College Cambridge that does Palm Sunday, Maunday Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday in about 75 minutes of readings and beautiful music – a kind of Advent Lessons and Carols but for Holy Week. Some excerpts from the service are available on YouTube, for instance Stainer’s “For God So Loved the World.”
And a seasonally very appropriate recommendation: A dynamic performance of Bach’s Easter Oratorio by the Netherlands Bach Society. As a note to the performance tells us, this oratorio was performed for the first time, in Leipzig, in 1725 – two days after a performance of the St. John Passion. Quite a Triduum for the music lovers of Leipzig.
Look, it’s a praying knight emerging from a snail shell and riding on a goat! – or anyway what the object description calls a “probable goat.” (I might be more inclined to say that it’s an improbable goat.) An example of complex and subtle iconography? Or just a joke, a “medieval meme”? Nobody knows.
Imagine if this virus had emerged two decades ago - perfectly plausible, and nothing in historical terms. Scientists would have not have had the wherewithal to crack the code of the virus or to share it globally and instantaneously. Office workers, in firms and in governments, would not have been able to meet over video, businesses would have not been able to reinvent themselves. Friends and family would have even less connection with the outside world than before. Food and other essential goods and indeed non-essential goods would have not have remained accessible to nearly so many people. Neighbours wouldn’t have been able to look after each other as easily. Governments, health services and businesses wouldn’t have been able to gather data or share information nearly so efficiently. A huge part of the reason we were able to adapt as we have is down to technologies that didn’t exist or were not in widespread use twenty or even ten years ago. It’s enough to make you believe in progress.
From the reliably fascinating Generalist Academy: The Sweet Track in Somerset, Britain, was built exactly 5,828 years ago.
Takishima Mika is a fitness trainer – at age 90. I’m gonna sign off now and start working out.