Friday, December 23, 2011

Greetings to all readers

Since, best Beloved, I would not want you to have an unhappy Christmas, let my blessing of a Happy Christmas be upon you and a thriving New Year after the manner of that Tree of Psalm 1 whose leaves are good medicine.

The Post at Poetry of Christ will be (wait for it), Psalm 112 - on Christmas Day. (111 is here) (112 translation is here)

As far as 'the project' is concerned, I continue to work on scene 3 of the opera (Psalms 11-25).  Psalm 16 is pentatonic and in largely 5/4 rhythm. An accompanist could play all the notes at once and there would be no discord.

Psalm 17 will be a meditation on the melismas of Compline. Verse 8, the middle verse, forms part of this ancient service.

The music provides an amazing test of the viability of the translation.

I am also reading bits of Robert Alter's translation. I find myself disagreeing with some of the notes. As for his translations, I am not convinced by the indentation, a diagramming technique I used at the beginning of my journey.  It is not adequate to the task and particularly it is not adequate in a book.  Also I find arranging cola by parallels either obvious or subjective. So I have concentrated, for my learning, on the words and the more objective pattern recognition that comes from observing recurrence.  Re the meaning, I like it when he says that anyone who translates this verse is guessing (16:3). He often complains that the Hebrew is 'crabbed' but for me that ancient Hebrew is all I can see, so I sometimes don't notice that it's difficult.  The difficulty with his volume is that his notes often require that one see the whole Hebrew line to appreciate his problem (and he does not include the Hebrew except bits and pieces in transliteration).  But I do appreciate many of his notes though I will only reference a few (just to show that I have read a bit of his work and can talk about a book I have not read.)