Since it’s phoneography month here at WordPress, I’m about to give mobile blogging a go…
I’ve driven nearly 2 hours to the small Victorian town of Castlemaine for a gig by English folk singer Seth Lakeman. And from the sound check, which I’m currently listening to, it’s going to be great!
The photo below is my attempted response to the ‘Lost in the details’ weekly photo challenge via my smart phone – hey, all challenges in one! It shows part of the Castlemaine town centre and is very typical of a Victorian gold mining town.
My apologies to those who receive this by email – I accidentally published rather prematurely! Not sure I like mobile blogging after all…
I remembered something this week. Something significant.
It happened on Christmas Eve, when I unexpectedly found myself singing Christmas carols in church. I love singing Christmas carols at any time — possibly because they’re among the few songs for which I can remember the lyrics. But when I found myself in the midst of a congregation of enthusiastic families, accompanied by a competent choir, I remembered how much I love choral singing.
Or maybe just singing in general…
It happened during ‘Oh Come all Ye Faithful’ and ‘O Holy Night’. The music started, the choir began… and my throat clogged up so I could barely sing. And tears started streaming down my face. (Embarrassing!) And that was when I realised how much I missed it.
Way back when I was at school, I sang in the choir. We performed Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Vivaldi’s Gloria and heaps of other magnificent choral works. I had a decent voice — decent enough to study singing for a few years, but not decent enough to get good grades. And when I left school and went to university I gave it all away.
In the years since (more than twenty of them) I haven’t sung much. There have been moments every so often — listening to the radio, alone on the beach, with friends around a campfire — but relatively few. My voice is terribly out of shape. I can’t hit the notes I used to, or generate the power, or master the tone.
But I still love singing. It makes me smile (and weep!). And I still find the urge to sing manifests often in response to great joy. (Think ‘the hills are alive’ moments…) I can’t think why I allowed myself to give it all away. Now it seems as though I’ve denied myself something critical to my being… as though I’ve been living — creating — with an encumbrance.
The joy of singing is my inspiration of the week. What great loves do you think you might have forgotten? How do you plan to reclaim them? (I’m thinking about finding a local choir!)
Season’s greetings to all.
This is not what I thought I was going to be citing as my inspiration of the week, but by chance last night I downloaded (legally) the album ‘My Head is an Animal’ from the Icelandic band, Of Monsters and Men, and I LOVE IT.
I saw the clip of their hit single ‘Little Talks’ (below) on a late night music video show a few times, and every time the song came on it snagged my attention. But I kept on forgetting the name of the band… (With ‘monsters’ in it, you’d think I’d remember!)
Then I was in a cafe yesterday and it suddenly occurred to me that the music they were playing might have been from the same band. So I asked what CD it was and wrote the name down in my novel journal, where I promptly saw it when I sat down to write last night.
And decided right then was a good time to investigate (and procrastinate) and take advantage of the wondrous thing that is the internet…
I have no idea how to describe the sound, but Wikipedia says they’re a six-piece indie folk/pop band
‘My Head is an Animal’ from Of Monsters and Men is my inspiration of the week, currently on its second play through of the evening. What do you think?
It’s hugely important to feed the muse, no matter the creative endeavour. And from now on — at least for a little while — I’m dedicating Wednesdays on this blog to this purpose.
Today’s inspiration comes in the form of music. Specifically Dvorak’s Symphony Number 9 — From the New World.
I love all kinds of music, and this week I’ve been in classical music mode. ’From the New World’ is one of my favourites. It was composed in 1893 during Dvorak’s visit to the United States. I’ve embedded the entire symphony above (it goes for something like 42 minutes), and it’s lovely to have playing in the background.
One of the things I love about Dvorak’s 9th Symphony is the way it conjures up vivid images in my head. Particularly during the second movement (Largo) — which for me is a bright and beautiful sunrise. (Starts at around the 12min mark.)
Listening to this symphony makes me smile. It makes my heart light. It makes me feel as though I can achieve whatever I set out to do.
Aside: I had an epiphany about orchestral music this week. I have never played an instrument to speak of (aside from juvenile piano playing) and so I have never played in a band or an orchestra. But as I was driving to work, listening to the classical music radio station for once, it suddenly struck me how amazing it must be to play in an orchestra. To contribute your own small thread, however innocuous (depending on your instrument), to the whole stupendous weave. To have it all come together as one brilliant whole, the parts distinguishable but perfectly blended. It seems such an incredible achievement! I confess I was so moved by the thought of all those individuals contributing to whatever piece I was listening to that I teared up a little. Previously I had tended to consider an ‘orchestra’ as a faceless single entity.
And then I was reminded of the process of weaving a novel together…
Dvorak’s 9th symphony is my inspiration of the week. Who else finds classical music feeds their muse?
There’s a 2006 Irish musical film called Once, which is one of those movies that grabs hold of you and won’t let go. It’s a really simple story about a musician (Glen Hansard from The Frames) busking on the street, who meets another musician (Markéta Irglová) by chance, and they decide to record an album. The addition of her vocals and keyboard to his rough-edged vocals and guitar makes amazing chemistry. It’s a story about following your dreams, putting it all on the line, and making art.
I’ve been listening to the soundtrack in the car today. The movie is just about all soundtrack, so certain songs bring back vivid visual memories. There’s this one scene — the first in the recording studio — that either sends shivers down my spine or makes me weep every time I hear the song.
Basically, the unnamed guy and girl have gathered a couple of other musos, including a dishevelled base guitar player and a drummer, and the recording studio guy dismisses the lot of them on sight. He’s not taking them very seriously as they start to record the first track, but then as it goes on and it’s amazing, he starts to take notice. You can see the realisation dawning… he puts on his headphones, starts fiddling with the knobs, and becomes as riveted as the viewer (me!).
That moment when you know this guy has something special, that he and his motley bunch of musos are making art, is simply breathtaking. And the performance of that song — When your mind’s made up — is easily my favourite moment in the movie and my favourite song on the soundtrack.
It’s gutsy, raw, heart-felt. Art = emotion.
Here’s the song on YouTube. Unfortunately it doesn’t play as it’s seen in the movie, but you do get some scenes — I highly recommend getting hold of Once and watching the whole film!
Does music ever move you to great depths of emotion? What songs/pieces in particular?