Hello again! I hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday, relaxing with your favorite people, pets, and books!
Probably my major accomplishment this past week was an article on the now-nonexistent Symphony No. 8 by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The article was prompted by the recent performance of a couple of short sketches from what might have been Eighth. I had been aware in broad outline of the Symphony’s story for many years, but had never really looked into it. The results of my research you can now read. It is a pretty long article, but I hope it sustains interest.
Just this morning I’ve finally completed Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. I hope to have something written about it in the next several days. As I mentioned last week, I think it’s time for me to read a few books of far fewer than 1,000 pages for a change. What’s up next, I don’t know, but I’ll let you know.
My video pick for the week is Playing Shakespeare. Produced in the early 1980s for British television, Playing Shakespeare is a nine-part series dealing with various facets of Shakespeare’s art – poetic structure, antithesis, irony and ambiguity, and so on – considered from the perspective of the performing actor. Genial host John Barton, associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, is really erudite and insightful. Illustrating his concepts and chosen examples are actors from the RSC of that time – people like Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Judi Dench, Ben Kingsley, and Peggy Ashcroft. Not only is the program wildly entertaining, it’s also one of the best Shakespeare classes you could take.
To whet your appetite, there are a few excerpts from the series available on YouTube. Here’s one. See you next Sunday!