Monday, December 16, 2019

Two Devils

We've been getting the Mezzo arts channel on our cable as a free offering for a limited time and have been recording some of the classical offerings. Since they can be hours long it allows one to watch and listen in chunks. We listened, in half hour increments, to a truly spectacular performance of the Monteverdi Vespers from the Royal Chapel at Versailles. If you've never encountered the piece it's an engaging combination of Renaissance and Early Baroque styles, really unlike anything else in the repertoire. And the performers are sensational. You can find another version of it here.

We've also been making out way through Gounod's opera Faust from the Teatro Réal de Madrid. We watched the second act last night, one of the greatest acts in all of opera, with a marvellous cast of international stars.

Edouard de Reszke as Mephistophélès

Years ago, I suggested it as an opera to do (sort of, we always sort of did the operas) with the school program of which I was the conductor. It would have been great! The principal shot it down. It seems an opera including seduction, infanticide and a character, Mephistophélès, who is actually Satan wasn't going to fly as a kiddie opera.

So that's one devil this week.

The other turns up, surprise, surprise, in a Stephen King book.

I re-read King's masterpiece, The Stand, in the restored full length version. It seems the publisher couldn't do the book as King wrote it back in 1979. They weren't set up to manufacture such a long book. 400 pages had to go. King did the edit himself rather than let someone else do it.

Years later, they restored the passages that had been removed. In paperback it runs to 1149 pages.

I had to request it from the HPL twice as I couldn't manage to finish it in the first 3 weeks.

There are more than a dozen principal character. The plot, which begins with a terrifying, but plausible, medical disaster, ends with the battle between good and evil in the realm of magic and the supernatural.

I enjoyed it (again) but wouldn't recommend it as a place to start in King's enormous oeuvre. Carrie, maybe?

The devil in this case is The Walking Dude, Randall Flagg. As frightening a villain as anyone ever dreamt up. 

Two devils in one week. Do devils always come in threes?

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