Monday, 31 December 2012

Some Highlights from 2012



I’m conscious that my blogging is so occasional as to be almost non-existent. I regret this as, regardless of whether anyone engaged with what I wrote, I found the experience to be enriching. I observe that many of those whom I view as part of ‘my’ bloggers community, have gone the same way as me - a notable exception being Living Wittily. I think that Facebook is mainly responsible, but that’s another post.

On this, the final day of 2012, as I’ve reflected on the last year and jotted down some of my highlights, I’ve decided to post them. All of these highlights have been life-giving and in them I’ve experienced the touch of God in some way or the other.

Books:
Francis Spufford, Unapologetic, is most definitely the ‘Book of the Year’. The writing is intensely beautiful at times, while being refreshingly raw at others. Sarah Quigley’s novel, ‘The Conductor’, about the events surrounding the composition of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, ‘The Leningrad’ was captivating and moving.

Films:
Among the many excellent films recommended to us by our good friends Chris and Frances Norton, going with them to see ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ on one of the few sunny Saturday afternoons of the year was wholly worthwhile. ‘Delicacy’, with Audrey Tatou, was quirky and exquisite - and we downloaded the CD ‘Franky Knight’ by Émilie Simon, from which the soundtrack was taken, as soon as the credits came up. 

TV:
‘Borgen’ Series 1 and 2 were hugely enjoyable. The second series isn’t broadcast in the UK until next Saturday evening, but the kindness of friends meant we were able to borrow their imported box set. Both were excellent as was Aaron Sorkin’s ‘The Newsroom’

Live music:
This included Richard Strauss’ Salome, and Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold, both at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Bach’s St Matthew Passion on Palm Sunday, sung by the Bach Choir at the Royal Festival Hall; a concert at the Theatre de Champs Elysees by the French National Radio Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davies, including, Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto and Dvorak’s 7th Symphony. The tickets were €10 each and we were at the back of a box and could see nothing without standing.  It was still exhilarating! Two Renaissance choral concerts, one by Stile Antico at The Stables, and another by The Sixteen at The Church of Christ the Cornerstone in Milton Keynes were gorgeous.

CD’s:
Two stunning purchases were James MacMillan’s, Miserere, and St John Passion. And on DVD, the Peter Sellars‘ ritualisation of Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic together with a stellar cast of singers including Mark Padmore.  This was one of the highlights of the year above all.

This year the Horizon Ensemble - Katie Canell, clarinet, Geoff Colmer, bassoon, and Mary Cotes, piano - has performed on a number of occasions, notably giving first performances of Chris Norton’s Trio, Clarinet Sonata and Bassoon Sonatas, composed for us! 

Art highlights include the Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy (for the second time); Daniel Buren’s Monumenta 2012 at the Grand Palais, Paris; and Fra Angelica’s Annunciation at San Marco, Florence - I struggle to put into words how beautiful this is (see photo) - and a surprise find at the Chiostro Delle Schalzo of black and white frescoes.

Holidays in Paris, Umbria, including Assisi and Montepulciano, and Florence, were renewing, refreshing, and huge fun, and we fell in love with Assisi, ‘a particle of paradise’.  

This last year I’ve had the opportunity to speak on New Monasticism, and to launch Faith Engaging with the Arts, speaking on The Arts and Christian Understanding, and The Arts and Christian Spirituality. The Order for Baptist Ministry has continued to grow and develop and its second convocation in November was an encouraging event.

Miscellaneous highlights include discovering Art of the Day which is sent to my Inbox every day and has been a source of delight.  And likewise the daily reflections from the Franciscan, Richard Rohr.  The BMS Mission Catalyst edition on Art & Mystery was one of the serendipities of the year - it was so good!  

Over this year I have been awed by the courage of colleagues and friends facing the challenges of life, which for some has meant terminal illness and death. It seems appropriate that in a small way I honour them by including them among my highlights. They have been an inspiration.

There have been other highlights, including many family ones not mentioned, but also some lowpoints and a lot of in-betweens. 'For all that has been - 'Thanks' and for all that shall be - 'Yes'. 

And for 2013, grace and peace from Wonder and Wondering!





3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have only just discovered your blog. I do hope you will continue into 2013.
Michael Mayne's books have just been recommended on the blog "Room With A View" which I highly recommend.
Look forward to additions to your blog for 2013

Anders Hyldgård said...

In one of your posts in 2008 (Friday, 29 February 2008) you write about the Material "Fit4Life".

Is it still possible to get that??

Best regards
Anders Hyldgård
Denmark
Mail: andershyldgaard@gmail.com

Geoff Colmer said...

It may still be available from the Anabaptist Network - details are here: http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/book/export/html/234
I hope that this is helpful.
Geoff