J.R.R. Tolkein died today Sept 2nd, in 1973
He’s definitely worth a kaddish! So here’s mine!
To say that his work continues to enchant is not to say really much about him. Maybe it says more about Peter Jackson and tedious film making that’s worth holding the remote on fast-forward through all the overblown battle gore. To watch Jackson’s Lord of the Rings (even the extended version) you’d think that Tolkein was primarily a military strategist, rather than a linguist, folklorist and damned beautiful writer. He constructed languages and mythologies like no one else. Drew his own maps. And dragons. And calligraphy. Jackson, on the other hand, left out every nuance that could not be captured by a sappy smile and boy-hug. And Goldenberry, a gem in Tolkein’s universe, he left out entirely. Does anyone read Tolkein anymore? I used to read LOTR and some of his other works every single summer when I wasn’t traveling. He gave me the feeling of being along inside the adventure. And yah, he had battles, sure. But it was easy to just turn the page and they’d be gone. Tolkein deserves a kaddish played by the elves of Middle Earth. I picture him, like Gandalf, riding through the English countryside, pen and notebook in hand. Probably the Cotswolds. Rest in Peace, and thank you for endless adventures and beautiful sentences.
Mira and I made this recording as an asynchronous trio. We each listened to a previously-recorded horn track and recited the text where we felt it belonged, taking turns—listening only to the horn, not to the other voice track.