There is music in the midst of desolation

Last night we performed Elgar’s Spirit of England, a piece I wasn’t familiar with despite studying music at Birminaunty-brendagham (where he was the first Professor of Music) and a university friend being Elgar-obsessed (why is why I know the previous fact along with several other random pieces of Elgar trivia). I am however familiar with one of the poems, For The Fallen, as are many, since it is now widely used in remembrance services.

While the poem was written about soldiers in WWI, there are some lines in it that, for me, were especially moving. My aunt was fighting cancer, and she lost that fight this week and I found that singing about remembrance has been particularly emotional. I’m not religious, but I do love the idea that we leave a mark on the world and Elgar’s setting of the poem was surprisingly wonderful to sing.

“As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain”

For me, music is my consolation and my joy. Singing never fails to make me feel better, even when singing something sad. I was thinking about my aunt as I sang. She may not have fought in a war, but she certainly battled with her cancer, determined to see her granddaughter married, which she did only a few weeks ago (see very glamorous photo above). Music is extraordinary in the way it can convey emotion, and in the way it can make people feel. I feel so lucky to be a part of such wonderful music making and thankful that I have it to support me, whether I’m happy or sad.

Rest in peace Auntie Brenda. You are remembered. xx

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