Shortly before his death in January this year, the philosopher Sir Roger Scruton had completed an opera libretto, called An Angel Passes. It is now being set to music by the distinguished composer David Matthews, who has commented on its excellence as an operatic vehicle, perhaps in part because Scruton was himself the composer of two operas. To my mind, even as a bare libretto, An Angel Passes encapsulates some of Scruton’s most profound and revelatory thinking, nowhere more so than in the enigmatic words of our title.
When Roger Scruton was decorated by Victor Orbán at the Hungarian Embassy last December, most of those present knew that this might be the last time we would see him in this world. Scruton himself knew that he was losing his battle with cancer. Yet he was still hopeful that he would enjoy some remission.
He gave a gracious acceptance speech, and afterwards had cheerful words of comfort for the close friends gathered there to honour him. The pictures taken at that last public appearance, however, tell their own story. Roger (pictured above) already has the look of a man who knows he is dying. It isn’t always easy to be philosophical about death, even for a philosopher.
A month later he was dead. His funeral at Malmesbury Abbey was a great gathering of generations of family, friends, disciples and admirers. It was an Anglican service, of course, with all the liturgical splendour of the Book of Common Prayer in an ancient church consecrated soon after Christianity took root in Saxon England. But was Roger himself in any sense a Christian?
Roger Scruton: A brief personal history of a great man by James Bryson http://northamanglican.com/roger-scruton-my-encounter-with-a-great-man/
James Bryson is a Humboldt Fellow in the Catholic Theology Faculty at the Ludwig Maximilian's University in Munich where is writing a history of love in the tradition of Christian Platonism. Previously Dr. Bryson has held positions at McGill and Cambridge. He is the author of The Christian Platonism of Thomas Jackson (Peeters, 2016) and editor of The Religious Philosophy of Roger Scruton (Bloomsbury, 2016).
Sir Roger Scruton, in memoriam: A Platonic Tribute by Ewa Atanassow https://blog.berlin.bard.edu/sir-roger-scruton-in-memoriam-a-platonic-tribute/
Ewa Atanassow joined The Bard College, Berlin as a full time faculty in 2008. She teaches in the Core and the Ethics and Politics programs.
An Obituary of Sir Roger Scruton by Samuel Hughes https://arbeitaneuropa.com/2020/01/22/obituary-of-sir-roger-scruton/
Samuel Hughes is a philosopher working primarily in aesthetics. He is about to begin a Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford. He was educated at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and has spent time as a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo, the Humboldt University of Berlin, and the University of Notre Dame. During the last year, he was Roger Scruton’s Research Assistant on the British Government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, which investigated how we can raise standards of architecture and urban form in new housing.
Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy our virtual launch video, recorded in celebration of the launch of Roger's book Wagner's Parsifal: The Music of Redemption.
Published by Allen Lane/ Penguin on Thursday 7th May, we we joined by friends, family, philosophical and musical colleagues for this most wonderful event.
To order a copy of Wagner's Parsifal, please visit our Bookshop.
In his weaving of philosophy and musicology into an explication of redemption via the vehicle of compassion, this is an unparalleled, sadly posthumously published offering. It is at once required reading and a launch pad for an infinitude of musings. It is also, it should be clearly stated, magisterial.
Colin Clarke, Opera Now
This is Roger Scruton's final book. Parsifal was Wagner's final opera. Both works are intended to be taken as Last Words: testaments of belief at the end of a long spiritual journey... you [will] find enormous satisfaction in following the journey of one of our great philosophers making sense of his own life though another's sublime work of art.
Sue Prideaux, Spectator
Scruton is one of the finest philosopher-musicians since Schopenhauer. After reading this book, only the most unadventurous reader would turn down the chance to see Wagner's masterpiece. - Read the full article HERE.
Jonathan Gaisman, Standpoint
Highly original and penetrating ... he writes about the music authoritatively but comprehensibly... lucidly, cogently and even entertainingly
Tim Blanning, Literary Review
A brilliant gallop through the master's religious, musical and philosophical contexts
Michael Tanner, Literary Review. Read the full article HERE.
Richard Morrison, The Times.
Wagner at grail-forceThe late Roger Scruton appraises Parsifal, an opera not for the faint-hearted. Read the full article HERE.
Following on from the Government’s latest COVID-19 public statement we are sorry to announce it is not possible to hold the Scrutopia Summer School between the 29th July and 7th August this summer. We feel the Summer School is all about friendship, socialising and intimate seminars which would be difficult to conduct in our present situation. In addition, air travel is likely to be extremely difficult.
This is an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone and the health, safety and enjoyment of all those that attend and are involved with the summer school remains our number one priority.
We apologise for the delay in making this announcement but are grateful to you all for your support and co-operation at this busy time. Sophie and I would like to take this opportunity to thank and wish you well through this challenging time.
Dr Martin Mansell MD FRCP LLM Consultant Nephrologist has died of Covid-19. Martin enrolled in the University of Buckingham MA in Philosophy 2018/19 and was supervised by Sir Roger and by Samuel Hughes. He also attended the Scrutopia Summer School Alumni meeting of 2019 ( see picture: A visit to Knight's Mill) and is fondly remembered for his kindness, his lively scepticism and his searching questions in pursuit of truth. He was deeply interested in the ethics of organ donation, researching legal and moral questions surrounding the work to which he had devoted his distinguished professional life.
Wagner’s Parsifal by Roger Scruton review – in defence of the insufferable. Stuart Jefferies for The Guardian.
Nietzsche famously called Wagner’s last opera poisonous, but does its theme of redemption offer an antidote to our ills?
Read the full article HERE
‘Wagner’s Parsifal – The Music of Redemption’
This short but penetrating book, by a writer who was uniquely both a leading philosopher and musicologist, shows us how Wagner achieves this profound work, explaining the story, its musical ideas, and their coming together into a sublime whole which gives us the musical equivalent of forgiveness and closure. There are few writers who can so enhance our understanding of one of the greatest works in western music.
Scruton is one of the finest philosopher-musicians since Schopenhauer. Jonathan Gaisman, Standpoint
Highly original and penetrating ... he writes about the music authoritatively but comprehensibly... lucidly, cogently and even entertainingly. Tim Blanning, Literary Review
A brilliant gallop through the master's religious, musical and philosophical contexts. Sue Prideaux, Spectator
After reading this book, only the most unadventurous reader would turn down the chance to see Wagner's masterpiece. Economist
- Planning for the future - Commons debate 12 March 2020
- News from Scrutopia - 1st April 2020
- News from Scrutopia - 31st January 2020
- Living with beauty: report of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission
- Building More, Building Beautiful.
- Advance Order: The Classical Vernacular: Architectural Principles in an Age of Nihilism.
- Tributes to Sir Roger Scruton
- A Christmas message
- Roger Scruton: A year in which much was lost – but more gained. The Spectator- 21 Dec 19
- Sir Roger presented with the Star of the Order of Merit of Hungary