Music Monday . . . ish

I was at a vigil for most of yesterday evening, so I didn’t have time to write a full Music Monday post. But all day my head was filled with music, so I want to leave a few offerings all the same.

I spent most of the day with Benjamin Britten’s Holy Sonnets of John Donne, a song cycle he wrote for his life’s companion, Peter Pears. There’s a recording (at the start of disk 6; sorry, they don’t seem to have uploaded any of the albums individually) with Britten playing the piano while Pears sings, and it is one of the most sacred, intimate recordings I know. This is music of love and pain and terror and ragged defiance, even if it does have one of the more ridiculous final cadences in existence.

Admittedly, I like my comfort cold, verging on nihilistic, and for those who want something maybe a little more upbeat, Leonard Bernstein’s score for the ballet Fancy Free is always a good time. It’s raucous and boisterous and over-the-top, but it has its moments of tenderness too.

Finally, this morning on the way into work, “Cut the Lights” [YouTube — video contains lots of jittery motion and shattering/exploding glass] came up on the stereo, and I found myself belting along to it more enthusiastically than I had to anything in a long while. I’ve written about the whole album before, and while I don’t actually know anything about the sexual orientations of any of the band members, I think there’s a lot to be said for a hella danceable genderless love song that ends with a repeated affirmation: We’re not afraid of the dark.

We’re not afraid of the dark.

Regular posts resume on Friday.