Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lilith Redeemed

The other day I wrote a bit about what I have been reading -  the book Lilith by George MacDonald.  Some say that this is his greatest work.  Most say, "Who in the world was George MacDonald?"   Well, he was a 19th century author who had a great impact on the life and writing of C.S. Lewis, and also J.R.R. Tolkien. As I said in the earlier post, he is considered by them and others to be the first to write in the fantasy genre, - at least in modern times.

Okay, so what is MacDonald trying to communicate to his readers in the book Lilith

Well, I think that he is basically preaching the Gospel to us. He is using the story of Lilith's rebellion and eventual redemption as an example of how a soul is saved.  The original creation, degenerate because of sin,  is regenerated, and evil is undone.  Lilith, who was once enslaved by the shadows, is now overcome and set free by the light.

Pretty amazing, actually.  This Augustine quote is appropriate, I think.

"Thou hast prompted him, that he should delight to praise thee, for thou hast made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in thee. "

- The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Book One, Chapter I

Below you will find what I think is a key quote from Lilith, p. 202.  We generatlly think of God changing a person, and He does, of course. However, isn't it more like God restores a person when they believe in Christ?  We become who we were meant to be all along.  We do the things that God prepared for us to do.
We do not need to fear putting our trust in Christ.  When we are found by Him, we  find our real selves, too.

Ephesians 2
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Lilith, p. 202
"Had he not made you," said Mara, gently and slowly, "you could not even hate him. But he did not make you such. You have made yourself what you are - Be of better cheer: he can remake you."

"I will not be remade!"

"He will not change you, he will only restore you to what you were."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weird Music

The 20th century was known for its musical experimentation in every one of its genres.  Music involving the oboe was no exception.

Way back when I was in high school, my oboe teacher gave me a piece of music that he thought I might like to play. It was a trio for flute, oboe, and viola - or clarinet - called Terzetto, and it was composed by Gustav Holst of The Planets fame.  If you click on the word "Terzetto" in this paragraph, you will be able to see the score of this unusual work.

One of the most obvious quirks you will notice is that each instrument is to play in a different key.   

When I was a freshman in HS, I played half of a nice little Handel sonata for oboe for our SW Washington regional solo and ensemble contest. It went very well. The judge loved it, and I got a I-.  Okay, so when I was a sophomore, I tried the solo route again, but with disasterous results.  It was a very bad experience.

I decided that I would never play a solo again, and would participate only in small ensembles and large groups. Of course, I played solos again, but never standing up in front of a group, depending on my memory to get me through! 

In my junior year of HS I got a couple of friends to go in with me to play the Terzetto for contest. It went very well. The judge loved it and gave us a I - the highest rating.  Luckily, we actually ended up together in that performance, and the fact that there were a lot of dissonant notes  written into the parts was definitely in our favor.

When we got done, we went home.  My friend the violist had a date that night, so she wanted to get home ASAP.  Our orchestra director told us how great we had done, but he forgot to tell us one important thing. We had been selected to play for the evening concernt where the best performers played for all the music teachers and other musicians.  Unfortunately we were long gone before we found out.  We just wanted to play and get out of there as fast as we could, and home was 2 hours away!

Our director felt kind of bad that he forgot to tell us to stick around, so he arranged for us to perform our number in several different venues around our town.  This included playing for the school's Spring concert.

Well, it was one thing to play in front of a friendly judge and a few students hanging around.  It was another thing to play for an auditorium full of parents and peers.  The violist panicked and started playing before the curtain was all the way up.  Besides that, she could hardly get any sound out of her viola. 

I don't think that we were ever together through the whole number, but when each one is in a different key, maybe that part doesn't matter so much.  My rude oboe entrances heard over a whispering viola and a sweet flute drew more attention.

Oh, my!  Never again... until the next time... :-)

  We played again for the local Pro Musica group.  They were a really nice, but rather small, group of mostly older ladies who loved music. Some of them were or had been music teachers.  It went much better.  We didn't end together, but we were together for most of the piece.  I think that contest was the only time we actually ended when the music did.  It was always hard to tell on that number, and we were just kids after all.

The Pro Musica people must have liked it because the next year, they gave me a pretty nice scholarship.

One famous musician was part of that group - the Cuban song writer and concert pianist, Nilo Menendez.  Weird all around.

Oh, and the flute players hair piece fell off before we got up to play. Thereafter, she always referred to our performance at Pro Musica as a hair raising experience.

The violist graduated that year, so the next year we did a flute and oboe duet at contest - C.P.E. Bach, if I remember right.