I’ve been tardy in my contribution to the Monday Music Medicine Show, but I’m sure you’ll agree we should have musical medicine every day of the week.
I’m lucky that I have a partner who has a collection more vast than I ever imagined was possible in a lifetime’s compilation. Every evening my ear encounters something new and whether it moves me or not, it is always an intelligent, thoughtful experience, unlike the vacuous nature of the hit songs that meet our ears when we turn on the radio.
For this week’s show, Fimnora challenges us to share classics that move us. As Fimnora’s Liszt choice was my t’ai chi accompaniment in place of my usual Shanghai Chinese Traditional Orchestral piece, “Elell”, it seemed appropriate to share this with you. But unfortunately it is unavailable on the web. I also looked for the first movement of ‘Wood’ which I use when practising the 24 forms, but again it appears unavailable to share although you can sample it here.
As my life since teaching has been an immersion in nature, I’ve chosen the Flower Duet from Lakmé by Delibes as the first of today’s selections. Fortunately, I rarely watch TV and have therefore not witnessed the advertisements that have popularised it. It’s still a beautiful piece for me, a song celebrating the wildlife they observe. Anna and Elina’s interpretation is a favourite.
I have harboured a desire to create a short dark animation with the haunting atmosphere of “Street of Crocodiles” by the Brothers Quay. For those who are unfamiliar with the film, this is a preview. I’d watch this before viewing it in its entirety as it’s not for everyone.
I’m not sure how eerie I’d like the soundtrack to my imaginary animation to be, but I have thought about the use of Satie’s Gnossiennes 1-6. I once created a swamp-like landscape with a haunted abandoned piano, where ghostly hands played a warped keyboard in the purplish and greens of the swamps misty waters. One refrain from Gnossienne 1 plays, stuck in a timeless loop. Perhaps not medicine, but music that stirs emotion from the more obscure depths of our selves.
My favourite instrument is the cello. I am moved both physically and emotionally when I hear it played well. Its voice may depict calm solitude and solemnity, but can also rise to surging passion.
The cello has a rich melancholic tone capable of depicting grief and despair as illustrated in this brief refrain.
But I think it is necessary to hear something more complete: Elgar’s cello concerto in E minor, Opus 85 played by the remarkable Jacqueline du Pré.