I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Harder than I thought

HUBRIS Overweening pride, usu leading to retribution.

Tone Deaf was born out of a special form of hubris: the belief that I could render the nature, appeal and effects of music in words. That I could wipe the asses of others who had tried and failed in this task. That I could, in effect, become music’s instrument rather than its clerk. High hopes.

I was reminded of those high hopes after plugging my MP3 player into the French villa’s hi-fi to hear Elly Ameling’s Exsultate Jubilate.  Take the first bit:

Exsultate, jubilate,
O vos animae beatae
exsultate, jubilate,
dulcia cantica canendo;
cantui vestro respondendo
psallant aethera cum me.

Rejoice, be glad,
O you blessed souls,
Rejoice, be glad,
Singing sweet songs;
In response to your singing
Let the heavens sing forth with me.

Pretty good, eh? As to the tune let’s say Mozart rises to the occasion. You want proof? CLICK here for another version by Elly, not quite as good as mine.
Already I’m cheating. Printing out words, linking the tune - any fule can do that.  How about LdP as John the Baptist?  That ineffectual voice in the wilderness.
Exsultate Jubilate should be easy-peasy. Bouncy rhythms, an exhortation we can all respond to, a short passage of unleashed, extrovert music many great sopranos have latched on to. Virtuosic but not so it hurts your ears. As is the case these days I was close to tears.
Then the retribution. How might I successfully preach this lovely work to someone who didn’t know it? Using only words. Failure was implicit, then as now. Music is at its best when shared and the piece itself told me I lacked the ability. Next stop the Requiem.


  1. Personally I find it hard to put my art, any visual art into words. It's even harder with music. Art and music (yes, music is art too) do speak for themselves, and the response of the viewer/listener can be very personal and very different for each person. You write with enthusiasm about your responses and share links to the music, often introducing me to new pieces and performers, thus giving much pleasure... but I have no words to add. Don't stop!

  2. The very words Exultate, jubilate..
    Move us even before the music. Cheerfulness is alongside kindness one of the qualities we should all value. Both at the right time perhaps paradoxically easily move us to tears. But perhaps it is the contrast which they evoke in a world where cruelty, thoughtlessness and self pity are so common.

  3. I see you use the American form of "arse", Tone - be careful about mis-interpretation.

    "There was a young girl from Madras
    Who had a most beautiful ass
    Not rounded and pink
    As you probably think
    But grey, with long ears, and ate

  4. M-L: Yes, but words are my bag. Difficult I should take in my stride. In writing a novel, for instance, I seek to create a universe. Creating understanding of a piffling, man-made phenomenon is several steps down from that.

    Plutarch: By the way there seems to be some difference of opinion in the wider world about how to spell Ex(s)ultate. The piece is short enough to play several times and thus wonder at the way WAM made notes fit words. Very cheerful in fact.

    Avus: You're quite right of course. Most of the time when I misuse words it's by accident and I suffer an enormous attack of culpa mea. But just occasionally I find the need for the sound of a word even though it doesn't make sense. The dragged out vowel sound of arse is greatly superior to ass; but here I like "ass's" snapped-out crispness. Indefensible, really.