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You know, it seems to me from skimming the nooz coverage that the press have a uniform editorial rule that the word “controversial” must always appear in any article relating to the Pope’s trip to Britain.  This isn’t just a meme, it’s a positive drumbeat.

Just saying.

UPDATE: Speaking of such things, those of you following the parochial adventures of the eldest gel may be interested to know that she seems to have swung round from her initial enthusiasm.  Today she was berating me because, “You guys worship Mary and the Ten Commandments say you’re not supposed to!”  When I tried patiently to explain why this isn’t true, she relapsed into, “Yes you do….Yes you do….Yes you do…..”

Eh.  I know this is motivated largely by her balking at the mandatory rosary the kiddies say once a week, which she finds both strange and boring,  but I can’t help thinking that she’s being fed some talking points, too.

Ah, books and musick.  What could be a more delightful combination?

First the book part.  Abandoning my effort to read my all-but-incomprehensible edition of Winston Churchill’s African Journey, my hand fell on the next volume in my stack of new-to-me works, namely C.S. Lewis’ Pilgrim’s Regress.  For those of you unfamiliar with it, this is an allegorical story recounting Lewis’ own journey to Christianity, combining an examination of various philosophies, some cutting social commentary and an almost Alice-in-Wonderland-like journey.  I must say that apart from the subject matter, the merit of which goes without saying, I’ve always had a fondness for allegory and I’m enjoying it very much, even though I realize perfectly well that many of the allusions are sailing completely over my head.  I can already tell that the book is going to merit several re-readings before I feel that I’ve got it somewhat down.  (But isn’t that so often the case with Lewis?)

This choice has also motivated me to finally getting around to the original on which it was modelled, namely, of course, Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.  This is one of those books that I plan to read more out of a sense of obligation than anything else, simply because it holds such a prominant position in the canon and has influenced so much that has followed.   Perhaps I’ll save it for Advent.

As to the musick, I noted the other day my purchase of a set of trio sonatas by Neruda performed by I Parnassi Musici, a period instrument group that seems to specialize in recording works by more obscure, out of the way Baroque composers.  This morning I see that the devil’s website is trying to tempt me with other CD’s by the group featuring chamber musick by a raft of composers I’ve never even heard of.  These include:

♦  Johann Phillip Krieger  (1649-1725)

♦  Giovanni Legrenzi  (1626-1690)

♦  Johann Vierdanck  (1605-1646)

♦  Antonio Caldara (1670-1736)

♦  Domenico Gallo (1730-1768)¹

Given my fondness for the period, I don’t imagine that I would not enjoy any of these composers.  But do any of my fellow port-swillers have an informed opinion about them?  I’d be curious to hear what you think.

¹ Actually, on further thought I’ve an idea that I might have heard a Mass by Gallo served up one Sunday, but I can’t quite recall.

I see that today is the feast day of St. Ludmila of Bohemia, martyred at the hands of her daughter-in-law Drahomíra , who was the mother of St. Wenceslaus and was jealous of Ludmila’s influence over him.

In addition to being patron saint of Bohemia, converts and widows, Ludmilla is also patron of problems with in-laws, a little nugget that caused me to smile when I learned it.

Not that I’m suggesting any friction between self and Mrs. R’s family.  In fact, we get on tolerable well.  But who doesn’t know somebody who could use a little assistance in this department?

St. Ludmila, ora pro nobis.


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September 2010