Not long ago, I was rhapsodizing about Mr. Beethoven, in which Paul Griffiths, the noted Welsh musicologist, critic, and spinner of ficciones like no others, brought the composer to Boston for the premiere of his late (nay, posthumous) oratorio Job. Well, now he has followed up with The Tomb Guardians, an equally singular quintet for speaking voices. Three of the voices belong to soldiers on the scene who seem to have slept through Christ's resurrection. In counterpoint, we hear an art historian and a friend discussing the art historian's lecture-in-progress on the four paintings of the Tomb Guardians by the 16th-century German artist Bernhard Strigel. Four paintings of three soldiers? Yes, because one of the four got away, but you'll see his picture, too. Intricate, seamless, surpassingly subtle.
The Tomb Guardians
by Paul Griffiths
Henningham Family Press, London, 160 pages, $17.30
Reviewed by Matthew Gurewitsch
November 8, 2021
This is one of a series of three short reviews, each of a book published this year by a writer of my acquaintance, so I don't pretend to be "unbiased," whatever that means. But I did love all three and feel motivated to spread the word. Gift yourself or gift your friends! It's almost that time of year—and I don't think you'll need to worry about the supply chain.