June 04, 2008

Gratuitous Musickal Posting


Regular readers will recall that the other day I was singing the praises of Michael Ward's Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis. There, I asked this musickal question:

On the musickal front, I'm also going to have to buy a performance of Gustav Holst's The Planets. Most of its movements are quite tedious to me. However, I think that Holst captures very well that air of Jovian jollity discussed above, and I've had that particular dance running through my head for the last couple days now. (I also like his treatment of Mars and his driving remorselessness. I'll be interested to see if and how that matches up with Ward's discussion of Mars, Lewis and Prince Caspian.)

Well as it turns out, Lewis was very well acquainted with Holst's work and admired his treatment of Jupiter. He was less impressed with Holst's take on Mars because he didn't think Holst got across the point that the Martial spirit is not in itself good or bad, but is instead put to good or bad uses by those infused with it.

As I said I would in my prior post, I have gone out and bought a copy of The Planets and cannot wait to pop it in and listen to these dances.

As for Planet Narnia, I am now well into Ward's discussion of the ways in which Mercury permeates The Horse and His Boy. Go back and read my earlier post again in full. And go buy the book. Seriously. I have been so swept up with Ward's discussion of Lewis's Christianity, medieval and Renaissance scholarship and classical predilictions that I have felt positively elevated. I am an absolute moron when it comes to the eternal Truths embodied there. But I know those Truths exist. And the reflected light I receive from them through Lewis is - in a word - blissful. Indeed, after mulling over his writings on the metro yesterday afternoon and then listening to Bach as I drove home to Orgle Manor, I was so seized with the Spirit that I almost put the ol' jeep into a tree.

Posted by Robert at June 4, 2008 09:34 AM | TrackBack

Re the Holst "Jupiter". Most orchestras today play it slowly and pompously, which sounds just grand, but it is not the way Holst wrote it. He meant it to be played much more up-tempo and if you have ever heard it played that way it gives the "jollity" impression traditionally associated with Jupiter, rather than the more ponderous modern interpretation (which I must admit I actually prefer).

Posted by: sherlock at June 5, 2008 11:55 PM