That 1997 Ivanhoe production I'm watching is actually pretty good. It took an overly-romantic source material and made something entertaining of it.
The only aspect to Ivanhoe I have ever liked is the complex relationship between the chief antagonist, Brian deBois-Gilbert, and Rebecca the Jewess. And evil and passionate man, he captures her but cannot bring himself to rape her. (She stands on the battlements of the castle and threatens to jump.) Damned as he is, he has fallen in love with her. She only pities him - and when he is killed by Ivanhoe, an unredemptive death, she is left with no one and remorseful. In that way the story ends on a far from happy note. But otherwise it's Victorian schmaltz. (Perhaps the Rebecca/Bois-Gilbert thing I just described is also Victorian schmaltz and I just don't know it.)
It has also long been noted that the two main characters in Ivanhoe, Wilfred of Ivanhoe and his lady love Rowena, are the least interesting characters in the book. In the book, one sort of gravitates to the comedy relief characters, Wamba the fool and Gurth the Swineherd. In filmed productions, Bois-Gilbert and Rebecca are the interesting characters.
In Scouts last night a fellow Scoutmaster told me about a Lord Baden-Powell statue in London I have to have my photograph taken with. I looked it up on the Internet; the Baden-Powell House is only a few blocks from where I'll be staying in Kensington, so I guess I do have to visit and buy a souvenir patch!
Since I graduated from high school in 1974 my 35th anniversary reunion is coming up - that is, if one gets organized. I raised the question ("Is anyone doing anything I need to fly out to Burbank for?") in an e-mail to a bunch of my classmates and one of them is now in the preliminary stage of organizing something - a picnic, perhaps, or some other small thing. Not a full blown hotel ballroom affair with dinner and music, etc.
The challenge is in getting the word out. The Class of 1974 slogan was "Apathy," which certainly suited the bunch we had as well as the times. (In 1974 everyone - but yours truly - was busy getting stoned.) There are some signs that, with middle age, people are naturally tending to look back... Anyway, I offered to help get the word out. Those who know me know I'm sort of a natural at this sort of thing; newsletters, websites, blogs and e-mail distribution lists.
The preceding classes, those of 1965-1967, are far better organized in this regard. I'm guessing it may be because many of them are retired or approaching retirement and have more time. Or, perhaps, they were a more tightly-knit bunch from the beginning.
I'm still wrestling with Mahler's Ninth, which I am finding a difficult work. The first movement is about a half hour long and complex. And the more I listen to the second movement, which is described as a "Dance of Death," the more I'm convinced that this assignment is off the mark. It sounds like more or less conventional dance music to me. A lot of what Mahler wrote in his symphonies is derived from or reminiscent of a German dance in 3/4 time called a ländler - in fact, he sometimes substituted the traditional scherzo movement with one. Perhaps I'm being an undiscriminating listener, but I'm not hearing anything deathly in this movement. It's generally in major key and cheerfully buoyant.
Or... my ears have been poisoned by modern music - rock and modern classical - and I can't hear things that would have been considered out of the norm when the symphony was written. That happens. What was considered wildly outrageous in the 19th century becomes traditional or even passe in the 20th or 21st.
- ► 2012 (240)
- ► 2011 (249)
- ► 2010 (246)
- ▼ March (19)