ESSAY
Birmingham Life and Culture Series
POSTED
October 23, 2015

There’s something about joy that is infectious. And occasionally, we all have the opportunity to be in someone’s presence who is so happily engaged in their work, so joyous in their pursuits, that we want to learn from them. We want to know where that joy comes from and attain it ourselves.

The Birmingham Life & Culture Series lecture by composer and conductor John Hodges took place on the evening of October 21. And John Hodges was joy on display. Lecturing on form and content, Hodges didn’t just tell us that the way we say and sing things matters, he showed us. With examples from the book of Job, Shakespeare, and the music of Johannes Brahms, John showed us that the shape of the art is as important as the words themselves. He also taught us the importance of creativity and patience with art, which is difficult task in our world of instant gratification.

As he read these passages, and showed us Brahms’ German Requiem, John’s enjoyment in these pieces was infectious. I wanted to enjoy texts like that. I wanted to enjoy Brahms like that. And, because of his careful and enthusiastic teaching, I am in a much better position to do so.

Read Peter Leithart's description of the Birmingham Life and Culture Series here.

Brian Moats is assistant to Peter Leithart 

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