Getting Married To Hadley…

Your getting married. Hurrah; you’ve finally popped the question. What seems like a brief pause of content will soon ( if your anything like myself) be followed by the crashing debacle of the music. For some, they choose the easy menu of “The Wedding march” to start,” Love Divine All Love Excelling” for mains, followed by “The Lord Bless you And Keep You,” to really finish their guests off in there marathon of cheesy cliche music. Yes, I agree this is the easy route; the minimal stress resolution. However, I recently attended one of the most interesting and enjoyable weddings I have every been to, predominately because of it’s choice of introit. With order of service in hand, camera in other, I anticipated the organs first booming notes of “the Wedding March” unenthusiastically. However, as the congregation stood and gawped at the nervous looking groom, the choir burst into action and sung one of the most beautiful renditions of this piece I have ever heard. With its suitably lovey dovey text twinned with perfect harmonic arrangement it is perfect for a wedding, however, often cast off. The piece I am talking about it “My Beloved Spake” by Patrick Hadley. A Choral masterpiece! A Harmonic mastermind! : Call it what you will; It simply must be appreciated. What is most striking about this marvellous piece is emotion that Hadley conveys to his listeners. Within the first few bars, he has ripped out your heart with a soaring top G from nearly all voice parts, then proceeds to return your heart within your rib-cage with a soft perfect cadence ; triple pianissimo. Please bear with me; that is the only way I can describe this jaw-dropping opening. For an introit, it is perfect. Hadley creates harmonic tension until the climax ( ” Arise my Love”) where the bride appears. Gasps, sighs, “oh isn’t she beautiful” “look at that dress!”. The choir melts into the guests awe of the bride and slowly drifts into a close. In short, this piece is not to be missed. If you have never heard it: listen. If you are getting married: have it at your wedding.

Raph x

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The Bluebird for tea..

The first review is never easy, I am told. So, I have decided to review one of the most “easy listening” pieces of classical music ever written. “The Bluebird” by Charles Stanford , is exactly what is says on the tin. A masterpiece of soaring melodies and arching phrases really makes you as a listener feel high above the clouds. “But what makes this piece so special?” I hear you ask. This piece is what I like to call a “tea ” piece. Let me explain. Whenever you are stressed, thinking, working, bored etc etc, you may instinctively reach to fill the kettle. However, for me, the Bluebird is my “cup of tea” .  Its easy on the ears, yet , with harmonic arrangement between the parts creating slight tension, but then quickly reliving you with a perfect chord bars later, makes the perfect piece for a bit of relaxation. One important observation about this piece is that predominately the Alto, Tenor and Bass sections carry the tune, with sopranos simply adding an accompaniment. This is not to everyones taste, however, the sopranos high resonate notes really optimise the “hight” Stanford wants you to feel. Now, go listen to The bluebird, preferably with a cup of tea in hand, and enjoy the sensation of your mind drifting above the clouds with it.

Raph x

Rookie Alert…

Welcome to Classical Critic. You undoubtably discovered my blog accidentally, and I tell you now, it was a bad accident to make. It’s clear that my blog site is empty now, however, I urge you to have patience with me as I discover the ways of blogging. Even though I am between the apparently “computer competent age bracket ” (7-35 years), I am still struggling. A lot. However, if you are a keen musician, and want to hear my views on opera, classical, 20th century,baroque, renaissance music (the list goes on) then please hit the follow button.

Peace xox