"Except for the point, the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance." ~ T.S. Eliot in "Burnt Norton"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

George Crumb and Advent

It's Advent as I write this and so I am posting a video of musicians performing George Crumb's third movement of Makrocosmos III-Music for a Summer Evening because this movement is titled "Advent."I don't normally think of Advent (The four-week season that many Christians celebrate leading up to Christmas) and summer together as I have always thought of that word in conjunction with shortened days, colder temperatures, and as I often go to mass on Sunday evenings, darkened stained glass windows. But Crumb is always up to something interesting not just in his music, but in his titles. In moving Advent into the context of summer, in the larger context of his four-volume Makrocosmos, which itself pulls us into something cosmological, he reminds us that there is always an Advent-a time of arrival and a time of waiting. There is always something that we are looking and waiting for, something we are expecting.


  1. This post reminds me of a question I have always been curious about. Why would anyone want to be conscious for eternity? One thing that I believe makes this life more bearable is this concept of progress and the idea that we are always pushing towards something. What are we pushing for when we have an entire eternity to be conscious for. It seems utterly exhausting. After I go through this long journey of life, and I get to the end of the tunnel, I do not want there to be anything else. I just want to take a forever long nap. Anyway, thats all.

  2. You raise an interesting question, Michael. I think that what makes this idea appealing for me is a Christian understanding of heaven that is basically a continuous process or learning and discovery of who God is. As someone who loves learning new things and discovering new forms of beauty, I can't think of anything nicer, so I think that a lot of the ideas around eternal consciousness center on is what that consciousness will look like. I agree that some models seem exhausting, others utterly boring. But I think that if we have access to this kind of consciousness it will actually be neither of those things. Christianity has traditionally termed this as "rest" which is a bit closer to your idea of a nap. Maybe the way we think about this doesn't only apply to our definition of "consciousness", but also our definition of "rest."