Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Contemplations On The Baby Jesus - Contemplation of the Heights

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

This one includes Messiaen's famous quotations of bird songs, specifically mentioning the lark and the blackbird as well as "all the birds" in the annotations.

One of the biggest surprises in the more intensive study of the First Testament I took up earlier this year was that, entirely contradicting the anti-Christian, anti-monotheistic propaganda of my youth, the scriptures are saturated with the most extravagant observation of, love of, even adoration of the natural world.  The affairs and lives of wild animals, especially birds, are held to be worthy of God's attention, by God's own words.  As I mentioned at the start of that, it God, herself, notes that she has made a covenant with all flesh, including animals, just as it did with Noah and the patriarchs.  The destruction of nature, the desertification of it is repeatedly given as a sign of human transgression of those covenants, the restoration of nature a result of the mending of those covenants.   It was those who turned life into a mechanism who denied the sacred status of animals, that turned, first them and, eventually, us, into objects, mere mechanisms.  It is the very same people who are turning the world into a desert, a filthy, polluted desert which can't sustain life.  In the Covenant with Noah, God promises not to destroy all flesh again, mentioning water.  We're the ones who are doing it now, with oil, gas, coal.   We're the fire next time.

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