The atheist and the Anglican poet-priest
Great article, which I read while in London. This before I saw a wonderful concert featuring Messiaen's L'Ascension and Mahler's Symphony # 4. Talk about elements of mysticism, the ending of L'Ascension left the audience stunned, or so it seemed to me. I love Vaughan Williams and of course the English music of the 16th century.
Thank you! Much appreciated!
Ever so slightly off topic(!) but would you recommend Eknath Easwaran’s translations of the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads? It’s difficult to know which is a solid introduction to these texts. I have the Penguin translation of the latter by Juan Mascaró which , I think, is particularly good.
At university I once had an Elgar piece playing in my room. A German friend coming to visit paused in the doorway, listening for a few moments. Wrinkling his nose and rolling eyes heavenward, he then exclaimed, "English music! It is all absolutely awful!" It's one of those funny memories that has stuck with me to this day.
Now, while I don't feel anywhere near so strongly, I have to admit that much English music is a hard sell for me (unless we admit Gilbert and Sullivan, of course, which is an endless delight). True, I love the Enigma Variations, bits of Gerontius, Holst's Planets (what a piece!), some Delius and many of VW's shorter works - Tallis, Lark, Fen Country... - I have to say I struggle with the symphonies and the few choral works I've heard. This installment, however, has made me think perhaps I need to go back and listen again. The mystical songs sound especially intriguing. Thank you!
All this is amazing. I'll be coming back to it again and again.