When I started posting these modest thoughts on matters musical last year, the most consistent advice I received was to ‘stick at it’. Perseverance in the mission ranked above all else.
I can’t argue with that. But, as I’m sure any writer of blogs would attest right now, the sombre mood in the country makes it is very hard to write about anything remotely light-hearted, for fear of appearing insensitive. Journalists have been forced to feed us a truly miserable diet: in a world of 24 hour news, all of us are in some way sharing the tragedies and chaos which seem to be defining 2017.
Some years seem to work out like that. I distinctly recall 1987 falling into this disastrous category: the Zeebrugge accident; the Hungerford massacre; the great storm in October; the collapse of financial markets; the IRA bomb at Enniskillen.
It has reached such a level that the effect can be to put us in a frame of mind in which we actually don’t want to relieved or cheered – making the task of writing a post consistently that much more difficult.
And yet there is such a thing as balance. Because in the end ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.‘ No matter what your religious persuasion, and yes, even if you don’t have one at all.
Dudley Moore (1935-2002) was not only a wonderful comedian, but a highly accomplished musician. His parody on Beethoven, using ‘Colonel Bogey‘ as its tune, is sufficiently respected for it to have been played by concert pianists as an encore. The piece has many references to specific Beethoven compositions, but it is the capture of the great man’s style which shines through – in particular Beethoven’s protracted endings.
So here, amidst all the darkness, and certainly not to deny it, is a brief sprinkling of light.