September 23, 2020

Peter Tchaikovsky

 Peter Tchaikovsky, the great Russian composer/conductor of the past century
was as neurotic as you can get and survive.  Some of his neuroses are almost funny,
though it doesn't behoove any of us to laugh at people who have mental difficulties.
One can still smile because, for the last forty years of his life, 
Tchaikovsky labored under the fear that someday, when he was conducting
the Leningrad Philharmonic, his head would fall off.
I sometimes think of this when I'm preaching.
My congregation sometimes wishes it would happen.
Wouldn't that head look funny, talking all the way down the aisle?

So for the last forty years of his life, Tchaikovski held his head on
with his left hand while he conducted with his right - and my heart breaks.
What would've have happened if he'd been freeing up that other arm
to tell the clarinets what to do with the violins?

Okay, church.  That's what you do when you hold the black down,
and the red, and the woman.
You invest the sacred energies of Christ in diabolical work.

Harrell Beck, Escape to Reality (Nov. 30, 1974)