Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday Music

Our Gospel Doctrine teacher seemed genuinely surprised that Jacob in the Book of Mormon counseled to become "fools before God." 2 Nephi 9:42 And commented very sincerely how that was such unusual counsel. I only whispered to my wife that the Apostle Paul went on quite a bit about becoming a "Fool for Christ" in the first few chapters of I Corinthians. That's OK. We can't all be wise enough to be fools. Eventually, we will learn to admit it as we humble ourselves before the throne of all wisdom and truth.

Richard Wagner had his problems with humility and a few distasteful beliefs some of which were horribly appropriated and abused along with his inspiring music by the very unwise and devilish fool who led the Third Reich. But Wagner did have some sense of the Divine and understood what a Holy Fool was.

Parsifal - The Holy Fool
Every Good Friday I listen to Wagner's Parsifal, the ultimate story of the Quest for the Grail which is only achieved through suffering by service and sacrifice. The pure ignorance of the youthful Parsifal raised by his mother deep in the woods away from the corrupting influences of men was too inexperienced in life to achieve the grail. It required overcoming the sin of lust even if it is only to recognize it in his own heart as Parsifal did when tempted by a kiss from Kundry, the lost soul - mother figure - fallen woman who laughed at Christ's suffering  - redeemed by Parsifal's rejection of lustful desire and her own free will to escape the thralldom of sin and shame.

"Mitt diesem Zeichen bann' Ich deinen Zauber"

["With this sign I banish your evil magic"] As Parsifal catches in mid-air the very spear that pierced Christ's side and makes the sign of the cross as the Klingsor's enchanted castle and all his power tumble to the dust. He then takes the spear to heal the wounded Grail King and achieve the Grail himself.

The version I listen to is Sir Georg Solti's with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Yes, I'm a traditionalist all the way through. I highly recommend it. Particularly the rising strains of the "Faith" theme up through the male voices from bass, baritone, tenor to the choir boys in the loft and the theme of the Grail descending to meet it. And the Good Friday Music.

We're leaving this evening for the five-hour drive to Boise for my Mom's birthday as it falls on Easter this year. It may drive my family crazy, but four and a half hours of Parsifal just about gets us there. They can sleep. I'll drive on in search of my Grail.

The Castle at Montsalvat - Parsifal and the Knights of the Grail

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