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Symphony, Shea, characterization

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  • Rateliff, John
    ... Don t know anything about the Thomas Peterson oratorio; is it available on cd? re. Russell & Sallinen, are there any particular recordings you d recommend,
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 17, 2005
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      > ----------
      > David Bratman wrote
      > I'm sorry to see that the entire Tolkien evening is being taken over by
      > Howard Shore. There is other and much, much superior Tolkien-inspired
      > orchestral music out there. A performance of Thomas Peterson's Tolkien
      > oratorio would be very rewarding; so would an orchestral concert featuring
      > Craig Russell and Aulis Sallinen.
      >
      Don't know anything about the Thomas Peterson oratorio; is it available on cd? re. Russell & Sallinen, are there any particular recordings you'd recommend, and are they readily available? Apologies if this has appeared on the list before I joined, but I'm not familiar with their work.

      As for Shore, it's clear that venue likes to employ "star power" in its schedule (Stewart, Gill & Grant, &c). I envy those attendees at the CSL conf. who'll have a chance to attend; I was certainly sorry to miss the chance to hear Shore's symphony when it appeared briefly in this area and hope it'll make a return appearance at a more opportune time.

      > >[it's] possible that Shea's read the book, seen the film, and just disagrees.
      >
      > John, I see I didn't make my point clear.
      >
      > It's misleading, to say the least, to call the book a collection of essays
      > "on these great film adaptations" when half of the essays, as Janet points
      > out, are strongly negative.
      >
      On the contrary, I think your post had admirable clarity; we just disagree on how to parse his sentence. I think he intended to say that the book consisted of essays on the films, films which he personally considers to be great. Your reading is more along the lines of his saying that the book advocates the movies' greatness, which as you say is certainly not the case, the overall judgment of the collection being strongly negative.

      Now that I've read the whole collection myself, I think the Jackson movies' importance, their main impact on Tolkien scholarship and how Tolkien is perceived in general, is that their reception (pro and con) has established Tolkien's gift for characterization beyond any doubt. Traditionally, it's been granted that of the three traditional elements that make up a story (plot, character, setting), Tolkien exceled at world-building and plot but he's often been criticized, especially by critics with affinities for modern literature, for skimping on the characterization. The heated, in-depth critiques of how Jackson's characters depart from Tolkien's should force a re-evaluation and an acknowledgment that Tolkien was in fact very gifted at characterization, just more subtle than most (anyone who can't tell Merry from Pippin simply isn't paying attention). It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, and the extent to which Tolkien's stock rises in the literary canon, over the next few years.

      --JDR






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    • David Bratman
      ... Thomas Peterson s work is not commercially available. The others are. Craig Russell, Middle Earth , paired with his Rhapsody for Horn and Orchestra ,
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 17, 2005
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        At 02:38 PM 2/17/2005 -0800, John Rateliff wrote:

        >Don't know anything about the Thomas Peterson oratorio; is it available on
        >cd? re. Russell & Sallinen, are there any particular recordings you'd
        >recommend, and are they readily available?

        Thomas Peterson's work is not commercially available. The others are.
        Craig Russell, "Middle Earth", paired with his "Rhapsody for Horn and
        Orchestra", Naxon 8.559168. Aulis Sallinen, "Symphony No. 7: The Dreams of
        Gandalf", paired with his Symphony No. 1 and other works, CPO 999 918-2.
        However, knowing a little of your musical tastes, John, I'm not sure you'd
        like them. Others might, however, and I expect excerpts may be heard on
        the Amazon websites or, for Russell, www.naxos.com.


        >On the contrary, I think your post had admirable clarity; we just disagree
        >on how to parse his sentence. I think he intended to say that the book
        >consisted of essays on the films, films which he personally considers to be
        >great. Your reading is more along the lines of his saying that the book
        >advocates the movies' greatness, which as you say is certainly not the case,
        >the overall judgment of the collection being strongly negative.

        Which is what makes it misleading to call it a collection of essays on
        "these great movies," even if you do think the movies are great.

        Put it this way: I wouldn't call the Robert GIddings essay collection a
        collection of essays on "Tolkien's wonderful masterpiece," even though I
        obviously think LOTR is a wonderful masterpiece, because all but one of
        Giddings' authors consider Tolkien a tedious old git.


        >The heated, in-depth critiques of how Jackson's characters
        >depart from Tolkien's should force a re-evaluation and an acknowledgment
        >that Tolkien was in fact very gifted at characterization, just more subtle
        >than most (anyone who can't tell Merry from Pippin simply isn't paying
        >attention). It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, and the extent
        >to which Tolkien's stock rises in the literary canon, over the next few years.

        It won't. Your point is entirely correct but is far too subtle. And
        anti-Tolkien academics would far rather seize on Jackson's flaws as a way
        of arguing that Tolkien is bad, something they've already begun to do (see
        my essay), in complete defiance of the principle (also cited in my essay)
        of "Never judge a book by its movie."

        David Bratman
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