Thursday, October 08, 2009

St. Basil on Music + Irving Penn's photography


I love the passage by St. Basil below. I stumbled on it at the end of a long day reading through Richard Hooker's Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. I love these serendipitous discoveries. You wade through material, some lively, some dull, then you alight on St. Basil, the fourth-century bishop of Caesarea, and feel that all the wading was worth this one moment. Note the connection between music and pleasure, music and God, music and sanctification, and the allusive (or sneaky stealthy) manner in which music accomplishes its God-given role. Hooker makes his own translation from the Greek and I've translated, as best possible, Hooker's 16th-century English into more modern.

“For whereas the Holy Spirit saw that mankind is unto virtue hardly drawn, and that righteousness is the less accompted of by reason of the proneness of our affections to that which delighteth, it pleased the wisdom of the same Spirit to borrow from melody that pleasure, which mingled with heavenly mysteries, causeth the smoothness and softness of that which toucheth the ear, to convey as it were by stealth the treasure of good things into man's mind."

The American photographer Irving Penn died on October 7. I decided to rummage through some of his work to find out a little more about the man. I was completed mesmerized by some of his black and white portraiture. Here are a few that I especially liked .



3 comments:

bnorvell said...

David,

I attended the opening day of the Transforming Culture Symposium last year. I've been trying to get my hands on some of the audio of the main sessions. Would you be able to help with that or direct me to someone who could?

Thanks.

Britt Norvell

w. david o. taylor said...

Britt, greetings from NC. The best thing to do, I think, would be to contact my co-director, Larry Linenschmidt. His email is linenschmidt AT earthlink DOT net. He could probably get you audio copies by mail.

Glad you asked and stay "tuned" for the book version coming out next spring.

nostromo said...

David, that first Irving Penn reminds me of the work of August Sander - the frontal portraiture, the holding of implements. Sander, a German photographer active up through WWII, did some stunning portraits.
Good to see your blog.
Fred