MOOD MUSIC

Walton’s ‘Orb and Sceptre’ Coronation march never fails to move me. It did so again this morning when it was played at the end of the church service I attended. Such stirring, but somehow poignant, pieces of British music never fail to impress – and may provoke tears of joy, sorrow, grief or gladness.

What about film music? The strings of an unseen orchestra, with an emphasis on the violins, enhance tender love scenes, bringing a lump to the throat or a sigh of delight to the listener/viewer. Conversely, in the case of the shower scene in ‘Psycho,’ the screaming violins add to the tension and terror.

If you were around in the second half of the last century, you may remember ‘Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet.’ The (then allowed) popular TV advert used the calming and persuasive sound of Bach’s Air on a G String to tempt you.

Many parents could testify to the patient endurance required as they listened to the first tentative notes of their child trying to master a musical instrument. Screeches from strings, blasts from brass, din from drums, plonks from piano… but years later, when the Bach double violin concerto, or a Rachmaninov piano concerto, or a Mozart flute concerto, are played by your offspring, your heart sings its glad accompaniment, as you witness their joy at music-making.

This morning’s performance of Walton was sublime; a fitting end to the worship of Christ the King and a foretaste of the music of heaven, plus an opportunity to thank God for endowing human beings with the mark of his creativity.

 

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