Music on Monday

Autumn 2023 - caring for ourselves

Autumn 2023

11th December

Bob Geldolf - Band Aid

Do They Know It's Christmas? is one of the best known Christmas songs of all time. The song was inspired by the Ethiopian famine of 1983-1985. After seeing a BBC report on the crisis in 1984, singer Bob Geldof decided that he needed to use his fame to raise awareness and money to help those impacted by the famine- so he wrote this song, which has stayed incredibly popular ever since! 

Bob Geldolf has campaigned tirelessly for human rights- in particular, tackling the causes of famine and securing debt relief for the poorest African nations. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize eight times, was honoured with a knighthood from HM Queen Elizabeth ll and was awarded a European Human Rights award, amongst many other awards given to him for his extensive work for charity. 

4th December

Edward Elgar

“Nimrod” is the name given to the ninth and best- known variation in British composer, Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and orchestral work of 14 variations on an original theme composed between 1898 and 1899.

Many will recognise Nimrod from it’s repeated patriotic performances, such as at royal events, the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games in 2012 and at the Last Night of the Proms.  Most famously, it is performed at the Cenotaph in Whitehall for the annual National Service of Remembrance, in which we remember those in British service who lost their lives in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts….these are the people who became real life heroes by volunteering to fight to save their country.

27th November

from The Greatest Showman

This song has a very powerful message- be honest and proud about who you are and what makes you you! The lyrics tell us to not be ashamed of our flaws… “I am who I’m meant to be, this is me, Look out ‘cause here I come, And I’m marching on to the beat I drum. I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me.” 

20th November

Bob Marley

Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” is a reggae classic and a song that brings happiness to all those who hear it, which is exactly how Mr. Marley intended it.  Bob was a preacher of love and letting your worries float away, and “Three Little Birds” says it clearly: “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing is gonna be alright.”  We are thinking about 'taking care of ourselves' this term so this song fits perfectly with our thoughts on having a positive attitude, taking care of our own mental wellbeing. 

13th November

Bruno Mars

“We’ll find out what we’re made of when we are called to help our friends in need”.  This hit by Bruno Mars is an anthem about caring for others.  Just listening to this song lifts your mood…it’s also a good reminder about what kindness is really about. This week is anti-bullying week, with the theme of 'Make a noise about bullying' so let's encourage each other to speak out and be there for our friends in a time of need.  Be their voice if needed and come and tell an adult.  Make sure you can be counted on.  

6th November

The Tebernacle Choir

Amazing Grace’ is a popular Christian hymn, first published in 1779. It first found popularity in the United States through Baptist and Methodist preachers, who often chose it to be performed at their services. With a simple yet powerful message of forgiveness, redemption and mercy, ‘Amazing Grace’ has become one of the most versatile and enduring hymns in the world, sung over the years by everyone from late, great soprano Jessye Norman, to Elvis Presley.

We also listened to this last term, linked 

30th October

John Rutter 

John Rutter is a famous English composer, known mainly for writing music for choirs (choral music).  Most of us will have heard some of his famous works being performed in recent years at Royal weddings and at the King’s coronation. For the Beauty of the Earth is a sacred choral composition which uses the words of the hymn of the same name, written by Folliott S. Pierpoint.  The poet wrote about his experience of feeling blessed when he looked at the English countryside, reflecting the beauty of the Earth- of “each hour of the day and night”, and of “the joy of human love”.  The lyrics to this piece remind us to be grateful for our world and for each other, and to find beauty in the simple things we sometimes take for granted. 

16th October

RAAG KHAMAJ- Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar

Ravi Shankar (April 1920 - December 2012)

Ravi Shankar was a tremendous Indian musician, player of the sitar, and composer and founder of the National Orchestra of India. He was extremely influential in stimulating Western appreciation of Indian music, and became one of the most famous Hindi musicians of his time. Over the course of his career, Shankar became the world’s best known exponent of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, performing with dozens of distinguished percussionists and making dozens of successful recordings.

His concert performances with American violinist Yehudi Menuhin and his association with George Harrison, lead guitarist of the Beatles, helped bring Indian music to the attention of the West. Among the diverse musicians influenced by Shankar’s compositional style were the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and the composer Philip Glass.

Shankar continued giving concerts into his 90’s, frequently accompanied by his daughter, Anoushka. Also a daughter of Shankar is multiple-Grammy winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones. This recording of Raag Khamaj is a collaboration between Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka, and comes from India and Pakistan’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1997, and is particularly poignant as far as I’m concerned, a testament to unity and friendship in a part of the world with such tumultuous history.

9th October

Hans Zimmer (2010)

Hans Zimmer is a world famous film composer (and arguably one of the best of his time!).  This is one of his most famous pieces, a masterpiece in its own right, despite originally being composed for the film Inception.  Tasked with creating a score that would evoke feelings of being stranded from one's family and the need to find hope in desperate circumstances, Zimmer set to work on one of his most bold and powerful compositions. 

When listening to the piece it is hard not to come up with your own ideas about what the music is about.  So take a moment to sit and listen, with your eyes closed, and see where your imagination takes you.  Whatever comes to mind, I'm sure it will be something positive. 

Our theme this week is 'Always look on the bright side' and this second link takes you to a video of a Ukrainian man giving an extremely emotional and heart felt performance of Hans Zimmer's Time on a piano at Lviv railway station during an air raid.  To display such positivity in a time of crisis is an inspiration to us all. 

2nd October

Joseph Boulogne (Late 1770s)

Born a slave, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a prolific 18th-century composer who was also a master fencer, violin virtuoso and composer in Marie Antoinette’s court. But his story is largely untold.

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was an extraordinary composer, musician and polymath who is famous for becoming one of the first known classical composers of African descent. Born in 1745 in the French colony of Guadeloupe, he was the illegitimate son of a slave (his mother) and married white plantation owner (his father). As a young boy, he was taken to France by his father, where he became a master swordsman. He was one of the first black colonels in the French army, leading 800 infantrymen and 200 cavalries in Europe’s first all-black regiment. It was there he acquired his title, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

Then, there was his music. De Saint Georges was a contemporary of Mozart and Haydn, and he wrote countless symphonies, sonatas, concertos, opera and string quartets. He was a violin virtuoso and conducted one of Europe’s greatest orchestras, Le Concert des Amateurs. Former US president John Adams called him “the most accomplished man in Europe”. His Symphony No 1 in G Major is a finely crafted example of what symphonies of the time were…..a work for full orchestra consisting of three different movements.  This first movement, Allegro (meaning “quick and lively”) is full of energy, spritely melodies and is a joy to listen to.

25th September

Gustav-Holst (1915)

Between 1914 and 1916, English composer Gustav Holst wrote his famous “Planets” suite, each planet taking on a different personality. “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity” is the most cheerful movement of the suite. It starts with a majestic entrance, and retains this optimism throughout the piece, as if we were attending a feast of the god of Gods (i.e., Jupiter). In astrology, Jupiter is considered the planet of good fortune, abundance and growth. The waltz-like middle section leading to the beautiful melody of the “I Vow to Thee, My Country” melody invokes images of peace and serenity. This piece is famously played at the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms- an occasion full of joy and excitement- celebrating British tradition with patriotic music of the United Kingdom.

18th September

John Lennon

Each year the 'International Day of Peace' is observed  around the world on 21st September and is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.   "Imagine" is a song by British rock musician John Lennon from his album of the same name.  Released in 1971, deep in the heart of the Vietnam War “Imagine” asks listeners to envision a world of peace and unity.   It is perhaps his most significant contribution to the peace movement that he loved and lived by. In the song John Lennon paints a picture of what it would be like to live in a world joined together in peace.  He invites us to question our values and understandings of the world we live in, and to imagine one which is simpler and where we all live in peace.  The importance of “Imagine” will continue to live on as it should, and holds a precious place in the hearts of those who yearn for peace.

11th September

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong’s reflections on the world are a wonderful reminder to take a step back and slow down.  Without pausing to reflect on the beauty that the environment holds, you are missing out on some of the most important moments in life. We need to take time to appreciate what we have and know that we all belong to the same world.  We may have different religions, different beliefs, different languages, different coloured skin but we all belong to one human race. 

The universe you inhabit is a marvellous place.  Through Armstrong’s masterful story telling, you come to understand that:

·   Earth is a beautiful and unique planet that you are blessed to live on.

·   Nature is an incredible and mysterious thing you get to witness.

·   The variety of the universe is a wonder to behold.