Saturday, April 09, 2016


Jacques Coulardeau at (55)






On the basis of the very first steps in that project for Avignon’s University, I submit to discussion the following notes. Britten sounds to me like a spiritual transcending chant and song of death beyond life in the heart of life itself. That love, that life, that transcendence is like the figure of the boy killed in Curlew River or some other operas, since I will only deal with operas, including of course Death in Venice, the perfect sacred garden and cemetery of Benjamin Britten, the graveyard of his belief that life can only be in death, or if you prefer that death can only exist in life.
Here are the operas I will consider after collecting them. Some are ballets, some are vaudevilles, some are operettas, but all are about that strange foreigner who is the only stranger in our life that counts: death, death our friend, death our lover, death our life partner. 
Thinking of it now, just at the beginning of this search and hunt, I feel death is the most beautiful experience man can have, and that is not morbid because any “Danse Macabre” is not a simple ordinary dance. It is a trance that leads us to bliss and full mental orgasmic enjoyment.
One of my starting block is La Chaise Dieu’s Danse Macabre and I add to this first lap my review of two books on this Danse Macabre.
Research Interests:
Christianity, Sociology of Children and Childhood, Death Studies, War Studies, Opera, Early Christianity, British Music, Second World War, Death and Burial (Archaeology), New Testament and Christian Origins, Philosophy of Love, Jesus Parables, Q, Historical Jesus, and Biblical Hermeneutics for Ethico-Political Interpretation of New Testament, The relation between Theology and Ethics in Pauline Letters, Masculinity, Fatherhood, Boys, Coventry, and Requiem

This is only the beginning of this research. Benjamin Britten is a phenomenal composer and yet his works are scattered and there is no comprehensive presentation of his music divided among various publishers or producers and with repeats from one to the other and many works published separately. What I am interested in is the figure of the stranger or the foreigner in his operas and other stage productions. That leads to death most of the time, particularly the death of young boys, or young men. This and the Christian inspiration leads me to look into the way death was considered in the past centuries, particularly in the Middle Ages and the 15th century, the century when plague, war and economic collapse could have had unpredictable consequences. I found a lot on this subject in the direct Benedictine heritage in my corner of the world. A strong Christian presence can be seen in his various productions, at times directly imported from the Bible with the theme of being rejected for one reason or another, and also being forgiven or even saved, be it only after death or after some martyrdom. This denial of love in the midst of the assertion of love is poignant and disquieting. The full paper is due for December and I have to explore some 18 works, whose list is provided at the beginning. If you think I have missed one or two please let me know.

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