A slice of heaven or whatever turns you on.

by Half banana 5 Replies latest social entertainment

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    In Piccadilly in the West end of London there sits a church called St James and most Mondays they hold free lunchtime concerts. I went yesterday and marveled at the coming together of so many cultural wonders.

    The church itself was built under the direction of one of England’s most celebrated architects Sir Christopher Wren, who also built St Paul’s Cathedral. It was built in 1684 in the Renaissance Baroque style, using classical proportions and motifs, the interior unlike the older gothic is open and uncluttered anticipating the style of the enlightenment. Adorning the altar is the most wonderful, exuberant carving of fruit and flowers by the greatest name in woodcarving Grinling Gibbons.

    There was a grand piano in the transept, in front of the pews, a beautiful, no expense spared piano, a black piano with a burr walnut interior. The pianist, a man at the height of the mastery of his instrument, having played at the Albert Hall publicly at the tender age of ten. He communicated his art with unerring confidence and feeling, playing the music composed by perhaps the greatest of all European musical talents, JS Bach and then followed by preludes and fugues written by Clara Schuman and then Robert Schuman’s Fantasy in C.

    How sublime this amalgam! It was not made by decree of any god nor chance but by pulling together these pinnacles of artistic achievement of architecture, woodcarving, piano making, musical composition and the artistry of the performer. This little slice of heaven was made by human endeavour and will outlast those grubby dreams of religious cults and their false promises.

    It is only experiences like this which could give substance to the dreamer’s lies of a perfect heaven. I’ll settle for the reality now and forego the dream.

  • tiki

    Sounds absolutely fabulous!!

  • Phizzy

    " Oi vey, enough Culture already ! " I have never heard of this wonderful treat, though I have heard of the Church and never visited, I will rectify this one Monday before I die.

    Thanks for the info.

    One does wonder if such wonderful Music and Architecture etc would have appeared to this quality without a belief in God, I don't doubt that an Atheist Musician, Architect or Woodcarver could, with the necessary talent, produce equivalent quality work of a secular nature, but we have to remember that the money came from believers, are today's Atheist Patrons so generous ?

  • Xanthippe

    That sounds sublime Half banana, thanks for telling us about it. A little slice of heaven indeed. I am going to London sometime in the summer to see the Leonardo drawings and cartoons exhibition at Buck House so perhaps I'll get tickets for a Monday.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Arrive a bit early say at ten minutes to one so as to get a front seat for full immersion in the performance.The programme of the day is found on the internet under St James, Piccadilly.

    Oy vey Phizzy! little of this cultural glory would have arisen if not fuelled by the Church.

    The reason being that the church had accumulated wealth beyond the dreams of avarice.Take Bach for example most of his work was for church music. The greatest patrons of the best artists were the Church.

    After the Middle Ages the churches were often given as gifts to the community by the land owning aristocracy as was St James.The truth is that society was highly and unfairly stratified in the past, and the Baroque architecture exemplifies it. If you had power then you also had wealth, and with your wealth you had to show just how grand you were. It was a power display but executed in the most refined taste from the best artists and architects of the day. Religious teachings were just a small part of the background noise, their themes of ultimate "salvation from sin" unified the communities of all ranks by common appreciation of "holy" things. Never mind-- we can still benefit from these extravagances of the past.

  • Xanthippe
    Arrive a bit early say at ten minutes to one so as to get a front seat for full immersion in the performance.The programme of the day is found on the internet under St James, Piccadilly.
    Thanks HB.

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