Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Oil paintings and Stravinsky - every one of

I've just read in the Guardian the excellent news that 'the BBC is to put every one of the 200,000 oil paintings in public ownership in the UK on the internet as well as opening up the Arts Council's vast film archive online as part of a range of initiatives that it has pledged will give it a "deeper commitment to arts and music".'  

And equally good news, you can buy the Works of Igor Stravinsky, 22 CD's, for £17.99 at Amazon.  A reviewer provides some useful information:
'What you get are 22 CD's made up of all the stereo recordings made for Columbia by the composer himself; a few works directed by Robert Craft with Stravinsky in the studio; and a handful of vintage recordings of works not remade in stereo by the composer. These interpretations are of immense historical importance but, also, very fine performances in their own right. The sound is first class; the remastering also.'  Not surprisingly the reviewer gives 5 stars, as do the other 9 reviewers.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Horizon Ensemble at Haddenham

On Saturday I'm doing a gig! And that's pretty unusual these days.  The Horizon Ensemble, which consists of Mary Cotes on piano, Katie Canell on clarinet, and me on bassoon, is performing at Haddenham (cum Dinton) Parish Church at 7.30 p.m.

While Mary and I have performed on a number of occasions, we last played as an ensemble three years ago at a lunch-time recital at Christ the Cornerstone, Milton Keynes, and needing a name for the group hit upon The Horizon Ensemble. At that time Milton Keynes radio was called Horizon, and it seemed like a good idea and one we don't regret. Horizon Radio has now become Heart Radio, and Heart Ensemble doesn't have quite the same ring to it!

So, on Saturday evening we will perform the Trio Pathétique by Glinka, a dramatic and slightly but enjoyably over the top piece of Russian romanticism; the Brahms Clarinet Sonata; Finzi Five Bagatelles (some of them) for clarinet; a couple of movements of the Weber Bassoon Concerto; a piece called Pièce, by Faure; and a number of lighter, humorous pieces.

Among these is The Bassoon Song, which is an Old Time Music Hall number which requires me to sing!  And some Chris Norton, Microjazz. I'm also playing Sarah Watts, wonderful, 'Everything is Somewhere Else', which has a lovely, quirky jazz feel.

I don't know how much tickets are but the concert is being put on by Haddenham Baptist Church. I'm really looking forward to it. Do come if you're in the area - it would be great to see you.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

'When Christians Disagree'

Monday evening saw the launch of 'When Christians Disagree'. We're providing this event in five locations throughout the Central Baptist Association, and last night we were in Buckinghamshire, at Broadway Baptist Church, Chesham. For a first night, I wondered how the material would work, and it was ok, if a bit longer than I intended. We had a good turnout, and people interacted well with the content. 

During the course of the evening we look at the nature of conflict - it's not all bad! - and after some biblical reflection, we explore how we might better manage our differences. This is an enormous issue in that it's very complex, but also because it affects all of our churches, and some destructively. The limitation is that over the course of an evening we only really touch the surface. However, I believe it's well worth doing, and my hope is that people will go away having gained fresh insight and maybe even a few skills that might help in their own situations. 

Monday, 12 January 2009

A good weekend and a new experience for a Monday morning

A hectic weekend, preaching at John Smith's induction at Godmanchester on Saturday afternoon, and two services at Hertford Baptist Church on Sunday. 

John was our BMS World Mission Area Co-ordinator, but with huge gain for Godmanchester Baptist Church has become their minister. We will really miss John and it was a privilege to preach at the occasion to mark his new beginning. A bonus was that we were served mulled wine as we arrived. I think this should become standard practice for inductions, or maybe Pimms in the summer!

It's been about four years since I preached at Hertford BC and it was good to return and see the church continuing to thrive. Unlike my Anglican colleagues, I don't often do two morning services and to leave at 7.45 a.m. for a 9.15 service was a bit of a shock to the system, but with two full houses it wasn't a hardship.

Today day began most unusually for me with a conference call. I've not done one of these before and I was really impressed, especially as there were about ten of us involved. It lasted an hour and was very productive.

After a dental appointment, the next thing is to put the finishing touches to a training event, 'When Christians Disagree', which begins this evening. I need to add that Christians aren't being trained to disagree - we do that quite naturally - it's what we do with our disagreement.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Augustine, Calvin and Barth, but not too seriously

Today is the day when it all starts to happen again!  But lest things become too serious too soon, some humour which appealed to me, courtesy of a Grove Booklets mailing.

Augustine, Calvin and Barth find themselves waiting outside the throne room on the Day of Judgement. Augustine goes in first, and after half an hour comes out and says to the others: 'It was wonderful! I had all the mysteries of sin, grace and salvation explained to me!'

Next, Calvin goes in, comes out an hour later and says to the others: 'It was wonderful! I had all the mysteries of election, predestination and divine sovereignty explained to me!'

Finally, Barth goes in. After two hours, God comes out and says to the others: 'I've still got no idea what he is talking about!'