Thursday, 1 October 2009

What music makes you cry?

The brilliant concert pianist, and entertaining blogger, Stephen Hough, asks the question on his blog. He's not necessarily talking about opening the floodgates, but 'What is it that tickles my readers' tear ducts?'

For me, and most recently, it would be the opening of Dichterliebe by Robert Schumann, sung by Ian Bostridge. And the Andantino from Schubert's Piano Sonata in A major, D 644.

Of course, what triggers the tears may not just be the effect of the music, but the association, or a memory, so Acker Bilk, playing 'Stranger on the Shore' does it most times.

The Londonderry Air, in almost any arrangement is another one, but especially when sung by Johnny Cash or played by Martin Taylor.

There's so much Miles Davis but Flamenco Sketches, or It Never Entered My Mind create some moistness.

And as for Mozart, again, where to begin. Undoubtedly, the Adagio from the Clarinet Concerto. But also, the Finale of Act 2 of The Marriage of Figaro. Interestingly, this isn't particularly slow, which is a characteristic of much 'tearful' music. Then there is 'Tamino, Mine' from 'The Magic Flute'.

Mahler, would include the fifth of the Ruckert Songs, which is heart-breakingly beautiful.

I need to draw the line somewhere lest I spend the whole day listing music, and more importantly I can't find a tissue! It would be good to hear from readers, what music makes you cry?


Craig Gardiner said...

Hi Geoff I got to Maggi Dawn's blog beofre yours, its an alphabet thing) so picked up on her queisotn what makes you happy as well, and i thought of 2 songs on the one album that lay me down and lift me up everytime although this may be associational to my youth as much as anything, Van Morrison's Evening Medidation takes me low and then cheery up stuff arrives a few tracks laters in Boffyflow and Spike. (on A Sense of Wonder). Another lay me down one from Van is his version of Motherless Child on Poetic Champions, that and Christy Moore's Back Home in Derry. But I suspect alot of this folk melancholia has to do with me living away from Ireland.

And so if we're going classical then Beethoven Kyrie from C Maj Mass Op 86 always gets to me, as does Rachmaninov Vocalise E min Op 34 and i am very wont to sniffle at any part of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder.

And again for more associational reasons John Adams Because I Could not Stop for Death, will get to me, as (I've said before) does Bruch's Kol Nidrei. Oh and one very melancholy album is Lisa Gerard and Patrick Cassidy Imoortal Memory.

Enough of all this, my i pod tells me i have 35.5 days of music stored on it, (so this coulD go on for some time) but I've never got around to making sad and happy playlists.

Craig Gardiner said...

By the way for Funerals / times of grieving John Bell and Graham Maule's song, The Last Journey, says all i ever need to say.

maggi said...

Hey, Geoff! Great question. I've had favourite music (laugh and cry) popping into my head all day. I love the Nunc Dimittis from Dyson in D - you know that one? One time a while back, after my choir had sung it exceptionally well, I said that it was so beautiful I would have to have it sung at my funeral. One of the basses replied, in a droll voice, "That can be arranged..." Not a dry eye in the house for that comment (but from laughing, not crying!)

Geoff Colmer said...

Thanks for the comments Craig and Maggi. I don't know the Dyson, Nunc Dimittus - I'm assuming George Dyson - but on iTunes there seem to be two settings. Any advice would be appreciated!

maggi said...

The two evening services I know by Dayson are in F, and D major. It's the D that I particularly love. Lichfield has a very nice recording of it here:

I think King's is on youtube singing it somewhere but the sound is pretty awful. And King's is so light and clear, I think Dyson needs a warmer acoustic

Geoff Colmer said...

Thanks Maggi - I've downloaded the Magnificat which I like, but the Nunc Dimittis is particularly lovely.