I think we can all appreciate the genius of the great composers. We understand the amazing subtlety’s and structure that the likes of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms have engendered through their music. What if, though, the music that truly touches your heart strays from that of the traditional greats.
I have felt enormous pressure in music college to stay close to the big names when talking about and performing the greatest music. The ‘favourite composer’ question is one I always dread because it feels far more complicated than a simple one word answer. I’ve often felt pressure to say Bach or Beethoven in this situation, but what if a more obscure composer is on my mind?
I have usually answered the above question by mentioning Edward Elgar. This response is often received with confused looks- perhaps it isn’t such a traditional answer! Elgar’s music has touched me in a totally different way to any other. In an attempt to describe, it is almost that I am sat right alongside him, I feel his music flows through me so freely. There is so much mystery, freedom and spirit that I sense so strongly.
I want to celebrate this experience and encourage others to find music that makes them come alive. This doesn’t need a name or a genre or a box. It just needs an open heart and a willingness to receive and be changed.
Don’t get me wrong, I can entirely appreciate that wonder that is J.S.Bach and the transcendental craft of Beethoven’s symphonies, but I will hold onto my love of Elgar and English music and am grateful that I can speak of my wonderful experiences, both listening to and performing it.