I have definitely been processing a lot of ‘stuff’ these past few weeks and I guess life is a a series of stuff to process. Sometimes music and painting are the perfect alchemy to help discharge feelings that need assimilating, transcending, shifting and moving. In particular sacred music for me is absolutely essential. Bach and Mozart are my beloved go-to composers and I find the Bach’s the St Matthew Passion, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Requiem are beyond anything I can describe. Music definitely exists in another realm, not of the physical or material, but of the metaphysical, etheric, transcendent, spiritual, non-local, sacred.
At Christmas my parents used to play Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and I made it something my kids listened to when we decorated the Christmas tree each year. My son and I listened to it yesterday as we untangled the mass of lights and he was very kind in his allowing. He towers above me now, and as I hugged him, the music held us, slowing time and I notice his breathing slowed to a calm even rhythm, as it did when he was a babe in arms. The Boar’s Head Carol by Steeleye Span reminds me of my Dad so much and watching him singing with his folkie friends in the Royal Standard in Hastings, where they would all take turns to sing a rousing or bawdy song, accordion or beer glass in hand. My mother sang madrigals and many times as a child I went to watch her and her group perform, perched on uncomfortable church pews.
In the current political climate, and the insidious age of social media which has caused so much polarisation, binary thinking and the demise of nuance, I feel very inclined to hibernate, reflect on what is important and let music carry me. I feel I am pulling back and retreating from the world a little. Pulling back to go forward eventually perhaps, but also to appreciate the space which I am holding for myself and loved ones. Winter is often not an easy time, but if I choose to, I can fully accept it and allow it to paradoxically be the time of great ease and acquiescence.