Saturday, 11 October 2008

Move-me Music

On those days when I suffer a more acute sense of delusion and self-aggrandisement than normal, I fancy myself as a great musician!

The flaw is that I got music, but I don't got lyrics! I can come up with a semi decent tune, but my lyrics usually resemble something from a bad primary school poetry session. Like so:

The cat,
Sat on the mat,
Then the hat,
Said that,
He was fat,
So the cat,
Who was fat,
On the hat,
With his cat

I know that's quite profound for some popular music, ;-) but I would want to attempt something a bit more meaningful if I ever did get round to putting pen to paper!

Over the last 3 years or so, I have come to love film music. On reflection, I think it's because much popular music is caught up in navel-gazing, worn out clichés, general meaningless bafoonery and, of course, the pursuit of money and a name. Now I'm not naive enough to suggest that all film music is morally any better than the popular music just described. Nor do I sit down in protest at discos and refuse to dance when a personal favourite, S club 7's Reach for the Stars, (it's packed with clichés) is busted out over the grooving space! It's simply to say that when you have a great film, one that deals with the big themes like war or overcoming suffering and injustice or the complexities and tragedies of family life, then the music that goes with it carries a weight and a transcendence across human experience that you rarely see replicated elsewhere in popular music. Good film music, because of its associations with the great themes of the film, helps me take my selfish little eyes off myself and realise there is a whole world out there.

Let me try and ground that thought with an example. Arguably my favourite piece of film music is from The Mission (Type The Misson, City of Prague Philharmonic (it's the best recording) into iTunes). The reason I love it is that the last section of the piece (entitled On Earth as it is in Heaven) synthesizes joyful, powerful native South American tribal music with stately, serene Western choral music. This synthesis catapults my imagination Heavenward to the end of time when out of every tribe, nation, family and language, Jesus will receive his bride, the church and I wonder if the music in Heaven will sound anything like it.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see. :-)

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