As some of you will know, I have been working hard recently on putting together a YouTube video with the help of a graduate through a Cumbria University initiative. This has entailed choosing music that I will be using for the videos. Thus, I have spent hours lately listening closely to pieces of classical music that I wish to use for the videos.
I have always listened to classical music. As a child, Dad used to take the family to classical concerts where we learnt to sit still and appreciate the wonderful sounds that the orchestra made. I can hardly believe it now but we were no more than five years of age when he started taking us to the concert halls. We must have behaved beautifully because we were never once told off for fidgeting or being noisy!
Anyhow, back to the present. My recent stint of sitting for hours on end listening to and choosing musical pieces I wanted to use for the videos has led to discoveries of some lovely piano pieces by Chopin. One of these was published posthumously: Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor played by Wladyslaw Szpilman.
The haunting melody in this piece is truly touching. There is a kind of sadness and nostalgia that is reflected in the music: it makes me think of someone standing in the middle of the ballroom of a once much loved grand house, recalling with much emotion those happy heady days of long ago. Now, there are only memories to keep those wonderful times alive.
For me, Chopin’s Nocturne combines a gentleness of tune with a verve that is waltz-like, before returning to the lilting music that brings one back to the present. It is this sway of emotion that speaks to my heart. It makes me think not of ballrooms in my life, but of the old days with my family when my mother and father were very much alive and we laughed and had fun together. Now, my father is dead and my mother suffers so terribly from Alzheimer’s that she is not even a shadow of her former feisty self.
Thus, Chopin’s Nocturne speaks to my heart. It celebrates the beauty of life when it was full, and continues to rejoice in its remembrance as we resign ourselves to what is today’s reality – which nevertheless holds hope for the future. There is stoicism in the music, as well as intense passion, and both these and the other emotions raised by its lovely melody bring alive for me the past, melding it also with the present.
There are many pieces of music that touch me, and some bring tears to the eyes. What moves me might not move you and vice versa. Rather, it is how we see our life experiences as reflected in the music and song lyrics we hear that move us. Isn’t it a wonder how the Lord has given us such a wonderful way to express ourselves? He has not only created man to write beautiful music, but has made music timeless so that it still has the power to move, comfort and inspire us many centuries later.
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