Saturday, November 27, 2010

Music & Identity: Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra

As I have written in other posts, my process of coming out is inextricably linked with a process of recovering my identity, of reaching back into the past and collecting bits of me that have been jettisoned or suppressed, stifled or repressed over the years.  Part of this process of recovering and affirming my identity involves reviving my interest in and love for music.

Today, I want to write about a piece of music I only recently discovered: Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, from the movie Ladies in Lavender, composed by Nigel Hess and performed by solo violinist Joshua Bell.   I was introduced to it after it showed up in iTunes as something that I might be interested in.  The first time I listened to the entire performance, I literally felt transported, it spoke so powerfully to me. I have since listened to it several dozen times, and each time I do so, I experience the same reaction.

This music, to me, is awful, terrible, majestic, heroic – up to the very last defiant chord – which seems to reach directly into one’s soul and issue a challenge to defy fate, to embrace and live life in all its texture, to experience sorrow as well as joy, agony as well as ecstasy, doubt as well as faith; to be – in the fullest sense of the word – human.

I invite you to listen to it.  The movie is also worth watching.  It stars Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, the latter of whom plays an elderly spinster who falls in love with a young Polish violinist who washes up on the Cornish beach below her house after a shipwreck.  The film poignantly portrays (with the help of beautiful music) a mourning of life’s lost opportunities as well as the vibrancy of the romantic human spirit.


  1. Intense, passionate, beautiful!


  2. " life in all its texture..." You have a fantastic way with words :)

    I can't help but be lifted up in such beautiful music!

  3. Libellule - So glad you enjoy it!

    Apronkid - Thank you for the compliment, which I sincerely appreciate; and I'm so pleased you, too, enjoy this music.

  4. Please don't finish this life without writing a few novels....

  5. Joe - I am very flattered. To read statements such as yours after years of doing nothing with my inner writer is very affirming, if not empowering. Thank you.

  6. I agree with all above .. it would be such a shame if you don't write a few books. I also loved the phrase "live life in all its texture" .... relish in it!