Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope Francis speaks of Wagner opera

Alex Ross over at the New Yorker is working on a book about Wagner and his effect on culture, and he wrote something very cool about Pope Francis and his knowledge of Wagner opera.

Mr. Ross put a link on Twitter which, it is great when something good comes out of Twitter, you know?

He writes in his story that His Holiness especially liked the conductors Wilhelm Furtwangler and Hans Knappertsbusch. Fu and Kna -- remember?

"He mentions the Furtwängler La Scala Ring and the 1962 Knappertsbusch Parsifal as prized recordings. He is known to be a Furtwängler enthusiast; earlier this year, Angela Merkel presented him with a Furtwängler box set. But he also makes a broader point about intellectual rigidification and self-deception, using Wagner's works as points of reference: “When does a formulation of thought cease to be valid? When it loses sight of the human or even when it is afraid of the human or deluded about itself. The deceived thought can be depicted as Ulysses encountering the song of the Siren, or as Tannhäuser in an orgy surrounded by satyrs and bacchantes, or as Parsifal, in the second act of Wagner’s opera, in the palace of Klingsor. The thinking of the church must recover genius and better understand how human beings understand themselves today, in order to develop and deepen the church’s teaching.”

Pope Francis, talking about Parsifal in the palace of Klingsor! And he has favorite Wagner conductors!

This is Francis we are talking about, not my man Benedict XVI!

They are the same generation though. Gentlemen of that era knew about music and the finer things.

Read the whole column. It's not long, and it's free.

By the way I agree with Pope Francis: the church must recover genius.

Let's start by getting rid of all the folk guitars.

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