|Lord Percival - Parsifal|
Wagner, the German composer of the 19th century (yes him!) wrote an opera of sorts - more likely a staged oratorio but that makes this too complicated - titled Parsifal. Not to go nuts on you but there is a medieval epic poem called Percival or however it is spelled in our modern notation dating from the 13th century. Wagner got the commission to write this work on "Good Friday" in 1859...
"... on Good Friday I awoke to find the sun shining brightly for the first time in this house: the little garden was radiant with green, the birds sang, and at last I could sit on the roof and enjoy the long-yearned-for peace with its message of promise. Full of this sentiment, I suddenly remembered that the day was Good Friday, and I called to mind the significance this omen had already once assumed for me when I was reading Wolfram's Parzival. Since the sojourn in Marienbad where I had conceived Die Meistersinger and Lohengrin, I had never occupied myself again with that poem; now its noble possibilities struck me with overwhelming force, and out of my thoughts about Good Friday I rapidly conceived a whole drama, of which I made a rough sketch with a few dashes of the pen, dividing the whole into three acts."
So that was this morning 158 or so years ago. There is a part of it called the Good Friday Spell in Act III, which for some reason, plops this Wagner work into the middle of the Easter days. You can listen to it at the end of this little sermonette.
Wagner, who I studied ad naseum in grad school, wasn't the best of persons. He honored marriage as much or as little as Newt, was more in and out of debt than "the Donald", and generally wasn't consumed by conscience even at the lowest possible bar, that is Ms. Palin. He was a genius. He was also a racist first rate but - and this is a long pause - was not outside his society which felt that Jew-baiting was a national sport. Hitler, who loved his stuff, didn't love him because he was a Jew-baiter, he loved him because of his "epic" qualities. That he was a racist was a given and I just point you to Vienna - the crown jewel of European arts and enlightenment - and look for yourself how the Christian world regarded the Jews.
Ms. Palin enters into this because of her "blood libel" comment of a few years back that still sets my hair on fire. The phrase goes well before Wagner and his anti-semitisim/racism but it would have been easily said by him and others of his society. Just a bon bon of thought or lack of it...just the way things are or were.
I have a friend in the Israel Philharmonic. For decades they would play no "Wagner" in concerts due to the associations with German/Hitlerian/anti-semitism. That Passover is intertwined with Easter is something for discussion and that Parsifal is intertwined with Good Friday is also of note. That an anti-Semite is dead in the middle of epic poetry, Passover, Jew baiting, Hitler, and the day of days for Christians is, in effect, the microcosm that is our current society of which Ms. Palin contributes both so much and so little.
We call ourselves a Christian nation with the vaunted "Judeo-Christian" ethic ( a complete and utter falsehood as the term 'Judeo-Christian" is an invention of scant 100 years ago to bring the Jews into the fold in opposition to the black population - and yes you can look it up) yet we permit slips into "blood libel" and Wagner on Good Friday and because the most evil person in history loved his music and we can amply point to Wagner as a Jew hater endemic to his time in history - well it is of confusion to say the least.
That there was a Lord Perzival in German epic poetry and that he was really the Percival of Arthur's Round Table and Wagner gets a commission on Good Friday and works it into a stage production that is strongly associated with Good Friday and also with Hitler and Jew baiting and blood libel and Palin...
It is what it is....by the way, "fal parsi" (parsifal) means "perfect fool" in Pharsi...just saying.