Friday, March 12, 2010
Music That Makes Me Cry I
I was playing this CD of music by Sir Hubert Parry this morning. It’s a modest enough collection of choral music, and settings of English lyrics nicely performed by the tenor Robert Tear and pianist Philip Ledger. It was this section I was most interested in as a very gentle way of easing into the day.
What I’d forgotten about was the version of Jerusalem, Parry's setting of William Blake's remarkable words and majestically orchestrated by Elgar. This piece comes at the very end of the album, popping up in a dramatic fashion, almost like bonus material on modern day album; a single that wasn’t on the original album.
The shock of the full-on organ and orchestra along with the choir of Winchester Cathedral took me by surprise and held me rapt for its duration.
Jerusalem is one of those pieces which always makes me cry. Every time. Without fail. I lip gets all of a tremble just as the voices launch into “And did those feet in ancient time” and by the time it gets to “Bring me my Bow of burning gold; bring me my arrows of desire”, the tears are inevitably streaming down my face.
Unlike other pieces of music which make me cry which have a connection to an incident or person in my life, I have no explanation as to why Jerusalem unfailingly has this effect on me.
As it’s playing I always feel caught up in some tempestuous force which I do not understand and feel utterly dwarfed by. The time lost in this tumult is short but incredibly draining.
When the music finishes it’s like suddenly being dropped back to earth from a great height, a rough bump of landing which always takes a while to recuperate from.
It has had this effect on me for as long as I can recall and the fact that it has reliably happened to me for at least forty-five years, does not diminish its cathartic impact in any way whatsoever.