Friday, December 19, 2008
Winter view of the Catholic Abbaye Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation, Le Barroux, France, which featured in a New York Times article a while back. Over the Christmas holiday I will be featuring photos taken on my recent visit to France and inspired by the late Richard Hickox's recording of Elgar's oratorio The Light of Life. Paths converge here. Richard Hickox's father was an Anglican vicar, while Sir Edward Elgar was a practicing Catholic. The Light of Life was originally called Lux Christi, but the title The Light of Life was deemed more suitable for a work commissioned for the Anglican cathedral in Worcester. Today the oratorio is known for the opening Meditation which is sometimes performed as a concert piece. The Light of Life predates Elgar's three choral masterpieces The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles and The Kingdom, and themes from it appear in the latter two works, most notably the deeply moving Light of Life motif in The Kingdom. Today, The Apostles and The Kingdom are overlooked, and the Light of Life is virtually unknown. A pity, because, as George Bernard Shaw wrote, Elgar was carrying on Beethoven's business.
Dedicated to Richard Hickox, Vernon Handley, Esbjörn Svensson and the other great musicians who left us in 2008. More Lux Christi here. The Chandos CD of The Light of Life was bought online for surprisingly little. I stayed at L'Abbaye-Sainte-Madeleine at Le Barroux. The Rule of Saint Benedict says all travellers should be welcome. Donations are what can be afforded, some monasteries suggest a minimum of 30€ a day for accomodation. All original photos on the path are taken with a Casio EX-Z120 digital pocket camera. It is no longer available but retailed for around £70. Photo (c) On An Overgrown Path 2008. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk