Sunday, 10 January 2010

A Few of My Favourite Things Part 3

My Favourite Composer

Still on the musical theme. My one criterion for appreciation of music is that it brings me joy. Now, you’re probably thinking ‘So she doesn’t like sad music.’ But if you thought that, you’d be wrong. Some of the saddest pieces ever written are amongst my favourites. Maybe I need to define joy for you…at least give you my definition.

Years ago, I taught an adult art course. Every week to warm up, I’d give them an exercise. It might be to express their feelings for a piece of music, it might be to turn a known picture upside down and copy it – just something to get their artistic brains warmed up. One week I wrote a list of emotions on the whiteboard and told them to draw two of them.

One of the emotions I wrote down was ‘joy’. Two people chose that. One lady covered her page in vivid yellows, oranges and reds. She drew stars, swirls, squiggles. It was an absolute riot of joy. The other, a quiet, deep-thinking gentleman, drew a fountain shape, rising from the bottom of his page. He coloured it a beautiful blue. When questioned, he said that joy, to him, was not bubbly and bright. His was a deep joy, a connection with his soul.

That’s the joy I mean when I talk about music.

So…my favourite composer? I have to admit this was not an easy choice. I love various pieces by quite a few composers. But Edward Greig won. Like the Celtic harp I spoke about last post, his music finds something in me and connects. Maybe it’s because a lot of his music has a fantasy theme (based on Norse Mythology and folktales), maybe it’s the nature and landscape he wrote about that appeals. I don’t know, but I do love his music and have done for a very long time. Everything from 'Morning' to 'Hall of the Mountain Kings' to his Lyric Pieces, they're all wonderful.

I saw a TV programme about Greig some months ago and they showed the tiny little shed where he used to go to compose. Fascinating that such beautiful music should have been created in such a minute space.

And just to prove I do find joy in sad music - here's one of my favourites from Greig...



C.R. Evers said...

I don't have time to watch the video right now, but I love your explanation of "joy"

Well put!

Kate said...

It wasn't really my explanation, Christy. I stole it from my student...but I like it! Thanks.

Christina Farley said...

There is something hauntingly beautiful about celtic music isn't there? I totally get what you're saying.

Kate said...

Christina, glad to meet another Celtophile! (I just made that word up, but you know what I mean)