Wednesday, November 21, 2012

For Saint Cecilia

Many in the world take music as a source of amusement, a pastime: to many music is an art, and a musician an entertainer. Yet no one has lived in this world, has thought and felt, who has not considered music as the most sacred of all arts. For the fact is that, what the art of painting cannot clearly suggest, poetry explains in words, but that, which even a poet finds difficult to express in poetry, is expressed in music.
Tomorrow, November 22nd, is the feast day of St. Cecilia, the patroness of musicians. In recognition of this, and in celebration of musicians of all cultures and colours, I offer that remarkably prescient quote from 1922 by the Sufi master and musician Hazrat Inayat Khan, together with Richard Hickox’s 1979 Argo LP of Gerald Finzi’s Ode For St. Cecilia, a work which was premiered on November 22nd 1947 with RenĂ© Soames, the Luton Choral Society and the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult; there is more on Sir Adrian and Finzi here.

An appropriate number of musical birthdays fall on St. Cecilia's feast day, including that of the notably trending Benjamin Britten. Also born on Nov. 22 were the lesser-trending Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Joaquin Rodrigo, Jacob Obrecht, Stephen Hough, Hoagy Carmichael, Kent Nagano and Frantisek Benda, as was a certain most definitely non-trending music blogger. Among us there are no castes…

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