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Monday, April 12, 2010

How can I have enough of life and love?

The Earthly Paradise....Live.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) the BBC Symphony Orchestra will broadcast a new piece by Ian McQueen based on William Morris's great work The Earthly Paradise.  This was the collection of poetry that brought Morris widespread fame and popularity and resulted, upon the death of Tennyson, in an invitation to be England's Poet Laureate.  (He declined, I wish I knew why.)  From the BBC: "The search for the land where 'none grow old' guides the twists and turns of William Morris's The Earthly Paradise. Ian McQueen's work for chorus and large orchestra evokes the poem's extraordinary world, surges with erotic charge, and conjures up Morris's magical vision of Iceland's landscape and sagas."

From my reading of the BBC website, the performance will be broadcast live at 19:00 GMT which according to my detailed calculations will be 2PM on the East Coast (adjust to your time zone).  Going to the BBCRadio3 website and clicking on the LISTEN icon in upper right should work (hopefully).

The Earthly Paradise follows the story of a band of (erotically charged?) medieval wanderers searching for a land of everlasting life, but instead they discover a lost  colony of Greeks with whom they exchange tales.  While Morris illustrated the published edition of his stories in his typical style (see excerpt above), his friend Edward Burne-Jones painted scenes from the many stories.

Here is Perseus and the Graiae painted by Burne-Jones in 1892.  His Perseus looks a whole lot sweeter than Sam Worthington in Clash of the Titans (below) although they do appear to be wearing the same outfit.

Burne-Jones also seems to have envisioned the three witches quite differently.  I'd much rather be a Burne-Jones witch.

An earlier Earthly Paradise post about the love story of Cupid and Psyche. In case you need a refresher on your myths....another earlier post. I think I'll go see the movie.