We Need to Talk About Kevin. This is one of the most extraordinary films I’ve seen in many years, with an absolutely astonishing performance by Tilda Swinton. (On a less enthusiastic note, Australia’s ‘MA 15+’ rating is severely misjudged.)
A few weeks ago, I drew attention (here on PCaL) to the work of American composer John Milne and to his piece ‘Per Crucem ad Lucem‘. Since then, John has kindly sent me a number of additional recordings of his work, so I thought I would share another one. Here’s his rendition of ‘The Jesus Prayer’:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner In death, I will stand before the Son of Man – Behold I tell you a mystery.
One of the amazing readers of this blog, the aspiring Chicago choral composer John Milne, was kind enough to email me a copy of a wonderful piece of music that he had recently written and recorded. It is titled ‘Per Crucem ad Lucem‘, about which he writes:
I had originally conceived a very modern arrangement, a slow evolution of minor and sometimes dissonant chords rising up and eventually resolving into a triumphant major chord, but once the phrase took on a melodic form I knew it had to be something more of a Bach-like fugue.
You can listen to the piece here. As you might imagine, I was absolutely delighted that John sent it to me, and then gave me permission to post it here. The music is both deeply moving and a faithful witness to the truth articulated in its title. What do you think?
A few days later, John sent me another piece, this time one set to the poem ‘Soft and safe to thee, be this earthly bed’. I may post it sometime.
I’ve been listening to some great sounds this week: Steve Earle’s latest, The Low Highway, and Hello Cruel World by Gretchen Peters. Peters’ latest DVD Woman On The Wheel came out this week. I look forward to seeing it soon.
Finally, tomorrow is Uncle Karl’s birthday. How are you planning to mark it?
A combination of conferences, travel, editing and teaching – and a Kilimanjaro of admin – has meant that it’s been a little bit of a light month on the reading front, and that the pile of unread books amassing on and under and around my desk, bed and toilet bowl are scaling to unforeseen heights. That said, my daughter’s school teacher – the lovely Margie Hanning – introduced me to some of the wonderful titles listed here.
Finally, I want to give a big shout out to a friend, minister and musician named Malcolm Gordon. Malcs has been busy writing material for his latest album. (You can check out some of his earlier work here and here. You can even get some of it for free here.) The songs have grown out of his preaching ministry at St Paul’s Presbyterian in Katikati, in the Bay of Plenty. For a while now, Malcs has known that most of our theology (good and bad) is sung. He writes: ‘That’s how we retain and take ownership of anything, we hum it, we whistle it – we take the word made flesh and make it a song’.
Malcolm has recently stepped out of parish ministry to make more space for this wildly unpredictable gift of music, and he’s about to head into the studio to record an album that has the tentative working title, ‘Into the deep.’ You can listen to the title track itself here:
About this song, Malcolm writes: ‘This song seems to capture the incredible feeling of being out of our depth as we seek to follow the call of God into something that doesn’t even seem to exist yet. Still God’s word is a creative word, making so as it calls us to – well here’s hoping!’
Malcolm is currently and shamelessly trying to raise funds to complete the album through the mixing and mastering stage. So if you like what you hear, and want the church to hear more of it, and sing more of it, then please consider helping him out through this campaign on Social backing.
Reforming the Scottish Parish: The Reformation in Fife, 1560–1640 by John McCallum. [Another great read, and one of the most interesting (revised) doctoral dissertations in history that I’ve read this year. BTW: Does anyone know what John McCallum is up to now? I’d like to get in touch with him to express my appreciation for his book.]
Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword. [Helpful in parts, encouraging in others, but promises much more than it delivers.]
The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is planning to host a ‘Music and Theology in the European Reformations’ conference on 19–21 September 2012 at which theologians, historians, biblical scholars and musicologists will come together to consider the relationship between music and theology during the sixteenth century with a particular emphasis on the question of reformation in all its forms (Lutheran, Calvinist, Catholic, and Radical).
More information is available here, and short paper proposals can be submitted via here before 15 May.