Sunday, 16 January 2011

The King's Speech

On Saturday we went to see The King's Speech.  Just before Christmas, I enjoyed the latest Harry Potter and thought it had some real substance and darkness to it; I enjoyed also The Last Voyage of the Dawntreader, though it could never live up to the book; but The King's Speech was in a different class and totally enthralled me. (Admittedly they were three very different films!)

I was deeply touched by moments of grace throughout the film, the friendship between two unlikely people, and the gargantuan struggle that climaxed in an epic display of strength in weakness. At the end of the performance, the audience applauded, something that I can't remember happening before at the cinema.

On Thursday I led a Retreat with students from the South Wales Baptist College. They were a really nice bunch and I had a good day with them. One of the things that we touched upon, reflecting on music, and music especially in relation to the psalms, was the 'stickiness' of music. Music very quickly attaches itself to experiences. And this is never more so than in films. I think it was the Allegri Miserere which for one person had a very negative association because of its use in a film. This is highly instructive for our use of music in worship, and something I need to be frequently reminded of - what works for me might well not work for you, and indeed have the opposite effect!

The music in The King's Speech included Mozart's Clarinet Concerto - though you don't hear anything, or very little, of the clarinet - and the slow movement of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto. However, I will never listen to the slow movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony without seeing King George VI, summon up every ounce of energy pronouncing his speech to the nation at the outbreak of war. It was one of those all-time great moments for me. Go see!

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