Lift Thine Eyes

 

Bridal Procession on Hardanger Fiord - Hans Gude (with a little assistance from Adolph Tidemand).

 

 

Lift thine eyes, O lift thine eyes,
behold the mountain's crown,
heed not a frailty of craft,
rough rocks and storms that drown

Above the tumult of blind strife,
there lies a clearer sphere,
where angels weave a tapestry
from sunlit shadows here

That's from whence our help shall come,
a guide through life's defiles
to heaven's Revelation,
the Hope of misty miles

 

 

Into the Light - Hans Gude (with a little assistance from Adolph Tidemand).

Verses based on Psalm 121

Art: Hans Gude, Norwegian Romantic landscape painter, March 13, 1825 - August 17, 1903

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Painting Sunsets

My new children’s fantasy novel Painting Sunsets will go on sale next month. You can pre-order the book online or through your local bookstore.

Find out more here:

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Castles on a Rainy Day

  

It’s been raining for days on end.

The girls are back from their trips.

Home is warm with their presence once again.

 

M1 bought all sorts of souvenirs.

A paper weight of a castle she visited.

I sat at the breakfast table this morning.

 

Indeed! the castle figurine caught my eye.

Why not give it a try!

I pulled out my sketchpad and pens.

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The Seventh

The Third is heroic.

The Fifth is iconic.

The Ninth is a miracle.

But of all the Nine symphonies, my favorite has always been the Seventh. I don’t know why exactly. It just appealed to me immediately, the rhythms and melodies, the energy pulsing through yet not overwhelming. More subtle than the others, yet somehow truer to itself.

And there is a joy that runs through it, different from the Ode to Joy of the Ninth, more self-contained and pure, especially in the Allegretto, the second movement. You can hear something similar sometimes in Bach and Mozart. I don’t know what it is. But I think of it as the joy of a master engaged only in the work.

Just vague impressions I know.

Hard to explain.

How do you judge a symphony?  Or greatness? Or art?

Mozart and Shakespeare are at the top for me. Old Bach is not far behind. Michelangelo perhaps belongs near. And somewhere not too far down the list is Beethoven.

To some extent, maybe a great extent, it is a personal decision. You could break it down into categories I suppose. Originality. Breadth of expression. Depth of emotion. Uniqueness. Capacity.

But in saying that the Seventh is my favorite, I am not really judging it. I’m just expressing a preference. Though somewhere down deep maybe there is little difference, since judgement has to be based on something, and if you go far enough down there are likely personal choices supporting whatever criteria you elect. 

So I was delighted today, listening to it on the radio, when the announcer noted that the Seventh was Beethoven’s favorite too. When asked why it was not as well-known as the others, Beethoven reportedly said: “Because it’s better.”

Who am I to argue with the master?

(Image: A Beethoven Enthusiast by Moriz Jung. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/649890)

 

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