The Bible and the Composer

One of the matters I sought to refute in Beauty and Joy: The Christian Nature of Music is the idea that the best art made by Christians is art with content drawn from the Bible.

Paul Westermeyer advocates - or rather assumes - this:

If you emphasise Christ’s humanity at the expense of his divinity, you might choose music that affirms our humanity - music that relates to us who are beings with bodies. If you follow this logic, the music may be rhythmic and perhaps even sensuous. Or may be the highest possible art.

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The Siren Song of Music

Carl Davis & Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Thursday 12th July 2012, 7.30pm

Programme:

  • SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Montagues and Capulets from Romeo and Juliet

  • CARL DAVIS (b.1936) The Rainbow

  • LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Allegretto from Symphony No.7

  • CARL DAVIS Amazons, Sophy and Dr Harrison from Cranford Suite

  • JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999), arr. Carl Davis Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez

  • PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Black Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake Finale from Swan Lake

  • JOHN LENNON (1940-1980) & PAUL McCARTNEY (b.1942) Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane

  • JAMES HORNER (b.1953) Titanic Suite

  • ALEXANDER FARIS (b.1921) / CARL DAVIS / PETER SALEM Upstairs Downstairs / Call the Midwife

  • MONTY NORMAN (b.1928) / DAVID ARNOLD (b.1962) James Bond Theme / Casino Royale

  • SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981) Adagio for Strings

  • VARIOUS Fantasy on Liverpool Themes world premiere

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Show - don't tell (The Wind and the Lion)

Christians in art say that they make films as they do in order to communicate the Gospel message. So they usually have a strongly "Christian" perspective in terms of characters, setting, even story. And because it has been regarded as a sine qua non of Christian film that there should be an absence of the real, dirty, sinful world (violence, language, sex, drugs, smoking, dancing ...) this has made sure that many Christian films are sanitised bubbles.

Watching The Wind and the Lion last night brought home an alternative view.

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Dmitri Tiomkin and Maurice Jarre: Musical Terrorists?

On the way back from a family holiday, we spent 7 hours moving a few miles down the motorway. The police had decided to blow up a van in a suspected terrorist incident. It turned out that the owner of the van was not a terrorist but an antique dealer who had parked the van and gone about his lawful business. Either way, we had a very tedious journey and we had almost run out of music and audiobooks. What we had left was a 4 CD box set of the music of Dmitri Tiomkin.

If anything, Dmitri made a bad situation worse. After getting halfway through the first CD, we resorted to sitting in happy silence, counting the cars and watching people stretch their legs on the motorway. Anything but listen to it anymore.

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