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jenkinsvrhm   , 69

from West New York

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Voice Of God

5934784799241008800.jpgThe voice of God A conductor explains how an ordinary man produced such miraculous music Oct 12th 2013 Tweet Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven. By John Eliot Gardiner. Knopf; 629 pages; $35. Allen Lane; £30. Buy from Amazon.com , Amazon.co.uk WHEN John Eliot Gardiner grew up on his family’s farm in Dorset, he met Johann Sebastian Bach on the stairs every day. By some remarkable chance, a refugee from Silesia had given the Gardiners a portrait (pictured) of the composer to keep safe during the second world war. Painted by Elias Gottlob Haussmann in 1748, a couple of years before Bach’s death, it was one of a tiny handful of authenticated pictures painted during the great man’s lifetime. The young John Eliot found it a bit scary, but he nevertheless developed a lifelong fascination with the composer. Now 70, Sir John, as he has since become, is presenting his reflections about the man and his music in a new book. In this section Reprints Billed as a portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach, it is inevitably also a portrait of John Eliot Gardiner, who became a famous conductor and one of the leading lights of the period-performance, or “early music”, movement that started in the 1970s. Having experienced much of Bach’s music from the inside as a performer and conductor, Sir John is better placed than most to convey what it would have been like for Bach himself to stand in front of his musicians, and what went on in the composer’s mind when he wrote the music. More than anything else, he is captivated by Bach’s vocal works: the cantatas, motets, Passions and Masses. In 2000, the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death, he took his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists on a “Bach Cantata Pilgrimage”. In the space of a single year they performed 198 of Bach’s 200 surviving sacred cantatas in churches all over Europe and some in America. This book is not a biography in the conventional sense—of which there are plenty already, some of them excellent—but an attempt to uncover the man through his music. Surprisingly little is known about Bach’s personal life. He was acquainted with grief. Orphaned at the age of nine, he lost his first wife, Maria Barbara, after 13 years of marriage. Of the seven children he had with her, four died before him. His second wife, Anna Magdalena, bore him 13 more children, but only six survived into adulthood. Professionally, too, Bach seems to have had a difficult life. Born into a well-established family of musicians, he found it relatively easy to get his first job. But career opportunities were limited and he had to choose between a court appointment and a post as a church organist and music master. Each had its drawbacks. For a while Bach shuttled between the two (and was jailed briefly when he tried to leave his job at the court in Weimar for a better one), but in 1723 he accepted the position of Cantor, in charge of music at the Lutheran church of St Thomas, known as the Thomaskirche, in Leipzig, where he remained until he died in 1750. There were many frustrations. The pay was not great; the city did not spend enough to provide him with the first-rate singers and instrumentalists his intricate music required; he was expected to do a lot of teaching; the council breathed down his neck when he tried to introduce anything too adventurous; and there was a lot of musical politics. But in one sense he was in the right place. His ultimate goal, as he explained to an earlier employer, was to compose “a well-regulated or orderly church music to the Glory of God”. As a man of deep Protestant faith and a great admirer of Luther, Bach got the chance to do a lot of what he wanted most: to write glorious church music. No sooner had he arrived at the Thomaskirche than he started on a bout of furious cantata-composing. For the best part of three years he came up with a new one—about 20 minutes’ worth of music—for the church service every Sunday. During that time he also produced full-length Passions for each Easter and wrote a variety of other music. It was an unsustainable creative burst but left a lasting legacy. Sir John analyses many of these cantatas in scholarly detail. He also explains the makings of each of Bach’s great Passions and of the sublime Latin Mass in B minor. He shows just how much thought went into selecting the texts and how consistently high was the quality of the compositions. This was truly “new music” of the day, like no one else’s, extraordinarily complex and bold. It made heavy demands on both performers and listeners. Even reading about it requires concentration. You either have to know the music very well or listen to it as you go through the text to make sense of it. Sir John’s book is not Bach for beginners, but it is very rewarding. So what about Bach the man? There may not be much point in trying to draw a direct line between the personal qualities of this opinionated, crabby and often contrary workaholic and the marvel of his music. His reply to inquires about the secret of his musical success was deliberately opaque: “I was obliged to be industrious; whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.” Sir John arrives at better answers by closely scrutinising the work. He discovers a wealth of hitherto unseen invention and ingenuity. But in the end, he finds, it comes down to an act of faith. Other composers, among them Monteverdi, Beethoven and Mozart, have achieved greatness in various ways, “but it is Bach…who gives us the voice of God—in human form.”
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21587753-conductor-explains-how-ordinary-man-produced-such-miraculous-music-voice-god?fsrc=rss%7Cbar

Cookbooks: Self Help In Disguise

Are today's cookbooks self help in disguise? Your Perth Reprints & permissions Will Gwyn's cookbook help me live a wholesome life like her's? - wonders Sally Ayhan. It's hard to turn down the alluring appeal of a cookbook. The cheeky earth-boy smile of Jamie Oliver, the twinkle in Kylie Kwong's wise foodie eyes and photography that has taste buds searching for flavours absent on the tongue, so vivid in sight. There I was finding myself seduced by the promotion of potential. Senses evoked by exotic lands, nostalgia ignited for nanna's baking or an entire lifestyle change proposed on 60 to 100 thick, waxed pages. It was as if that, in some way, one of these cookbooks might change my life. It got me thinking, what is the power of the culinary bible? As it turns out, I'm not alone.  According to a piece in  The Independent , cookbook sales have risen with the GFC. But its not the practical 'how to' cook books, it's the books that offer an experience, a lifestyle or at least escapism. Instead of dining out, people are trying to re-create a special experience at home, on a smaller budget. Advertisement Historically, cookbooks have had an innate ability to adapt to social change. Prior to the 16th century, culinary knowledge and recipes were passed on by song. The first written recipes were discovered on ancient Egyptian baked clay tablets. Upon the invention of printing, cookbooks - alongside the bible - were the first mass-produced text. But it wasn't until the World War II that they started to engage in sensual description and imagery. Again it was escapism and opportunity to lift the lid on the drudgery of domestic cooking. It's the use of imagery and ideology that is what has made them such a success story within the publishing industry. So what is the novelty of our era? I soon discover it's not just chefs catching onto the gift of the gourmet. While whimsically lost in the sea of colour, adventure and health, I see an unexpected face. Gwyneth Paltrow. The cookbook craze has traversed from celebrity chefs to celebrity non-chefs. There she was, glowing in her 'natural' sun kissed state, straight from the English meadows ripe for the taking. I was a little stunned but also intrigued. Is this what Gwyneth would cook at home? If I had this book, would it be like cooking with Gwyn on a Sunday arvo? Better yet, could this cookbook make me look just like her? A quick Google later and it turns out Gwyn is quite the cook.  It's her second cookbook, this one inspired by her doctor's health advice to cut out everything yummy. She's jumped on the sugar-, gluten-  and dairy-free bandwagon. But diets aside, it's the soft photos of promiscuous spring cooking complete with shafts of sun bouncing off a blissful smile amid whipping up a batch of wheat free muffins that sell this book. It's advertising an ideology of change more than the food it presents. Could the wholesome, clean-eating, -living and -loving cookbooks like Gwyn's be the new self-help books in disguise? A day in the kitchen could be like therapy. Kneading away the despair of online dating, blending our work woes into quinoa flower and foraging the farmers markets for snow peas that have more snap than our PMT moods. Let's face it - I am the target demographic. A sucker for the wholesome golden-girl marketing paraphernalia. So while I'm wrapped up in the soft charm of Gwyn's dewy skin and 'humble' health, I need to stop myself from whipping out the credit card of re-creation. While the lifestyle proposed before me holds everything I wish to attain, surely I don't need another take on a salad niscois in order to achieve it. I'll have to hit the bench of experimentation, but I'm a long way off cookbook stature. For, God forbid, at the rate I'm going it would have little more to boast than meat and three veg and freezable spag bowl.

John Shelby Spong: What Everyone Should Know About The Fourth Gospel

Subscribe Almost any poll of regular church goers will reveal that their favorite book in the New Testament is the Gospel of John. It is the book that is most often used at Christian funerals. It includes such well known and oft-quoted texts as: "God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." It boasts the shortest verse in the Bible: "Jesus wept," which serves the needs of many cross word puzzle creators. Its prologue was used for centuries in Catholic liturgies as "the last gospel" at the mass. It includes characters like Doubting Thomas, whose very name has entered our public discourse. Yet, I suspect that if these devotees of John's Gospel were introduced to the world of Johannine scholarship, they would be both shocked and angered by contemporary insights into this treasured book. It is to place much of this scholarship into the public arena that I have written the book, "The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic." Among the conclusions that I have reached in my intensive five-year-long study of John's Gospel are these: 1) There is no way that the Fourth Gospel was written by John Zebedee or by any of the disciples of Jesus. The author of this book is not a single individual, but is at least three different writers/editors, who did their layered work over a period of 25 to 30 years. 2) There is probably not a single word attributed to Jesus in this book that the Jesus of history actually spoke. This includes all the "I Am" sayings and all of the "Farewell Discourses." 3) Not one of the signs (the Fourth Gospel's word for miracles) recorded in this book was, in all probability, something that actually happened. This means that Jesus never changed water into wine, fed a multitude with five loaves and two fish or raised Lazarus from the dead. 4) Many of the characters who appear in the pages of the Fourth Gospel are literary creations of its author and were never intended to be understood as real people, who actually lived in history. This includes Nathaniel, who is introduced with great fanfare in chapter one and is treated in John's Gospel as one of "the Twelve," as well as the enigmatic character called by the Fourth Gospel "the disciple whom Jesus loved," who is introduced in Chapter 13 and who stars in this narrative from then on up to and including the resurrection event. Between those two "bookend" characters, we run into such well-known figures as Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman by the well, the man crippled for 38 years and the man born blind, none of whom has ever been mentioned before in any written Christian source and each of whom in all probability is nothing more than the literary creation of the author. 5) John's Gospel seems to ridicule anyone who might read this book as a work of literal history. For example, Jesus says to Nicodemus: "You must be born again." Nicodemus, the literalist, says: "Born again? I am a grown man! How can I crawl back into my mother's womb and be born again?" Jesus says to the Samaritan woman: "If you know the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he would give you living water." The Samaritan woman, a literalist, responds: "Man, you don't even have a bucket!" 6) The Gospel also exaggerates its details, once more I believe, to counter any attempt to read it literally. For example, Jesus does not just turn water into wine, he turns it into 150 gallons of wine! Jesus does not just give sight to a blind man, he gives sight to a man born blind! Jesus does not just raise a person from the dead, he raises one who has been dead and even buried for four days, one who is still bound in grave clothes and one who, according to the King James translation "already stinketh" with the odor of decaying flesh! Finally this book will challenge the way the Fourth Gospel has been used in Christian history as the guarantor of what came to be called Christian orthodoxy or creedal Christianity. The Council of Nicea in 325 C.E. leaned on the Fourth Gospel as literal history in order to formulate the creeds and ultimately to undergird such doctrines as the Incarnation and the Holy Trinity. The texts used to support that creedal development, my studies have led me to affirm, have nothing to do with an external God entering humanity in the person of Jesus, but are rather attempts to describe the experience of the human breaking the boundaries of consciousness and entering into the transformation available inside a sense of a mystical oneness with God. If that is so, then the Fourth Gospel has the potential to become the primary biblical source upon the basis of which Christianity can be changed dramatically to speak with radical freshness to the 21st century. Christianity is not about the divine becoming human so much as it is about the human becoming divine. That is a paradigm shift of the first order. These are the conclusions to which my study of John's Gospel has led me, and they are the conclusions that I explore and document in this book "The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic."  
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shelby-spong/gospel-of-john-what-everyone-knows-about-the-fourth-gospel_b_3422026.html

The Daily Meal: The Best New Celebrity Cookbooks

5919938922159489324.jpgThe Best New Celebrity Cookbooks Posted: 08/30/2013 11:33 am Follow Subscribe Every so often, a celebrity will publish a cookbook that makes a best-seller list or two. Whether these home chefs double as actors, singers, or any other type of high-profile personality, food is a priority in their lives. In each cookbook that a celebrity writes, their relationship with food is often an integral part of the story -- these cookbooks are partly stories about how to make their favorite recipes, but they're also about the celebrities themselves, and the influence of food in their lives. Click here to see Our 10 Favorite Celebrity Cookbooks Some cookbooks follow a special diet, like Gwyneth Paltrow's "elimination-diet" plan in It's All Good, where she explains the ideas behind the clean food movement, as well as shares her most-loved recipes with readers. Alicia Silverstone follows a similar cue by selling the benefits of veganism, of which she has become an iconic figure since publishing The Kind Diet. RELATED: 10 Cookbooks Everybody Should Have The increasing number of health-conscious cookbooks is a sign of the times. As obesity has increasingly become an issue, some celebrity authors are making an effort to spread a message of health awareness while offering engaging new ideas to eat foods that benefit the body -- and sometimes mind -- without compromising on taste. RELATED: 16 Inspiring Celebrity Kitchens Other cookbooks take the more conventional route of following a national cuisine, like Stanley Tucci's The Tucci Cookbook and Tony Danza's Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto, which both explore Italian cooking alongside their family rituals of cooking and eating together. Both celebrity families have deep roots in Italian traditions and food is a key element to their relationships, memories, and legacies for future generations. The range of cookbooks written by celebrities has made it possible for cooks and readers to incorporate these editions into various diets and food libraries. Readers will likely have at least one of three motivations to read a celebrity's cookbook: They already love the celebrity behind it, they want to learn how to make new dishes, or they aspire to adopt a new lifestyle diet. Whether you'd like to shift your diet into high-gear, want to know how to incorporate healthier foods into it, or whether you simply want to learn how to cook a wider variety of cuisines, a celebrity will certainly have a cookbook that will help you along the way.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-daily-meal/the-best-new-celebrity-co_b_3843845.html

Ann Romney Serves Up Candor In Her New Cookbook

To: Ann Romney serves up candor in her new cookbook Written in the wake of Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign loss, the book offers a more intimate portrait of family life and Mormon faith than his consultants permitted. By Maeve Reston October 12, 2013, 7:29 p.m. Two presidential campaigns and 40 years of marriage and child-rearing behind her, Ann Romney finds herself in a surprising place: atop the bestseller lists with her own agenda in first position. Romney's new cookbook, "The Romney Family Table," started as an effort to stitch together family recipes. But at a time when her husband Mitt's loss in the 2012 campaign was still raw, she began writing and "it just flowed out." Critics have mocked the book as a study in domestic perfection served on Oscar de la Renta tableware, but Romney said she wanted to show that their life "wasn't always perfect" and that raising five boys could be more than a little frustrating. Demand for the book — with its homespun recipes for Mitt's Meat Loaf Cakes and Banana Trash Pudding — may be partly fueled by curiosity: The book offers a far more intimate portrait of the family's life than Mitt Romney's consultants allowed last year. There are plenty of pictures showing Romney's buttoned-down husband with his perfect coif a mess. PHOTOS: 2013's memorable political moments Mitt Romney's strategists were uncomfortable during both of his presidential runs with stories touching on the family's Mormon faith, including his work as a bishop of his congregation. Ann Romney plunges into the family's faith traditions, including their Bible lessons on Christmas Eve and their efforts to "keep the frivolous separated from the sacred" on Easter. (The Romney Easter egg hunt, she writes, is on Saturday; Sunday is reserved as "the day of worship and thanks for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ"). "At this point, nobody is telling me what to say, or not to say, so I'm going to say whatever I feel like saying," Romney said of her decision to write about their faith. The stories about raising their sons, she noted, would have been incomplete without delving into their religion: "For me, the faith piece is how we taught our children to be responsible and respectful of others." Romney's family portrait is not entirely without political consideration. Son Josh, who encouraged his mother to write the cookbook, is being pressed by his father's onetime campaign financiers to run for governor of Utah. Son Matt was courted this summer by some of his father's donors, who wanted him to jump into the race for mayor of San Diego (he quickly declined). When Massachusetts Republicans were shopping for a candidate in the special election for U.S. Senate this year, they tried to recruit a third son, Tagg. Romney said her experience negotiating the line between public and private life has shaped her advice to her sons. "Not now," she advised Josh, warning him against running for office when he has small children. Part of her concern was "the stress on the wife": As a candidate, she said, "you're not home as much as you should be... You're being pulled away in evenings when you should be home reading stories and helping out." PHOTOS: 2016 presidential possibilities (The sting of campaign criticism seems to be still with her. One of the upsides of writing, she said, was that it "was another unfiltered way for people to see who we really are. I think a lot of people never really did.") With campaigning and writing behind her, Ann Romney, who lives part time in La Jolla, has turned to her own next act, which will be focused on research into neurological diseases related to her 1998 diagnosis with multiple sclerosis. She began delving into the research through her doctor, Howard L. Weiner. During her checkups with Weiner, who heads the Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, "I'd always say 'Oh, if I were first lady, we are really going to make a big push, to try to push the research over to a new level.'" When the cookbook idea arose, she decided to dedicate the proceeds to new areas of research into multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and ALS , also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Weiner co-directs the center with Dennis J. Selkoe, whose research has focused on mechanisms in the brain that lead to the development of Alzheimer's. Weiner and Selkoe have been collaborating on developing vaccines for multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's. Women with multiple sclerosis would often show up at her campaign events, Romney recalled. "They would be there early; they'd make sure to be at the front so they could see me; and they would often collapse," she said. Many times, she said, they left in ambulances. "As soon as they saw me they'd fought hard enough; they gave up and they just couldn't stand up anymore, which is what happens with MS," she said. "You just run out of energy." "It really, really got to me," she said. At book events over the last two weeks, the Romneys' role reversal was clear. Mitt is now the surprise guest in her television appearances — popping up on Jay Leno last week claiming that he came running at the smell of her meatloaf cakes. There are some of the same campaign-style theatrics and he's still beaming at his wife, but this time he's handing her the microphone, in the role of supporting player.