Thursday, November 1, 2012


I am listening to a lot of Magnificats today to try to plan out the magnificat portion of Lessons and Carols.  I came across a Vaughan Williams Magnificat, and Frank and I really love his work (who doesn't?), so I gave it a listen.  Oh man.  Well, the setting is really dark, but sometimes there are these glimmers of amazing soul-wrenching music that you can only recognize as Vaughan Williams.  And I told Frank that everything he writes has a moment of musical gold that makes you really FEEL something.  I think it's his instrumentation--he's really good at it (an understatement)--in that he knows how to create sounds that universally speak to people. 
And then I thought of Bach, and how I think he's the most universal of all composers.  I started to listen to Erbarme Dich, and I couldn't help but think of how the beautiful melodies and harmonies (not instrumentation, as in Vaughan Williams) tugged at my soul and had the power to instantly put me in a different place emotionally and spiritually. 
I say "univeral" because I really do think that this music speaks in the same way to people of different languages and cultures.  Surely studies have been done on this, right?  Surely someone has taken a Western musical work by the likes of Bach and asked people from non-western cultures what feelings/emotions it stirs up.  If anyone has read anything like that, please let me know, because I've always been kind of obsessed with this idea.

Sorry for the really poorly written post, but it was just on my mind and wanted to throw it out there...

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