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Uplifting Thoughts for the Isolated and Depressed in Times of Plague

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Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
From 'The New Oxford Book of Carols'

James Montgomery was the son of an Ayrshire clergyman of the Moravian Brethren. He had an odd career, but by the end of his life his populairty as a hymn-writer rivalled that of Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley. After failing at school he was apprenticed to a baker, but ran away and was taken on in 1792 by Mr. Gales, publisher of the Sheffield Register. When Gales fled to France in 1794, fearful of the consequences of his repeated eulogies of the French Revolution, Montgomery took over the newspaper, changed its name to The Sheffield Iris, and was editor for thirty-one years. Although he toned down the radical politics of the paper, he had the dissenter's love of freedom, and was twice imprisoned for libel, once for printing a song in honour of the storming of the Bastille (which in fact had been previously published by [Gales]) and a second time for his intemperate coverage of a riot in Sheffield. The paper was taken over by a rival in 1825, after which Montgomery devoted himself exclusively to religious verse. He produced some 400 hymns and skilfully adapted many more; in many cases his are the versions that are generally sung today.'

The tune usually sung in Britain is a traditional French one, 'Les anges dans nos campagnes' - like Old Slave, I enjoy singing it, though 'Regent Square' is a fine tune, used in British churches for other hymns. There are some other settings using old 'church gallery' hymn-tunes from the days before church organs that have been rediscovered and can be found on the internet, they work pretty well with it too.
 
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Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
From 'The New Oxford Book of Carols'

James Montgomery was the son of an Ayrshire clergyman of the Moravian Brethren. He had an odd career, but by the end of his life his populairty as a hymn-writer rivalled that of Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley. After failing at school he was apprenticed to a baker, but ran away and was taken on in 1792 by Mr. Gales, publisher of the Sheffield Register. When Gales fled to France in 1794, fearful of the consequences of his repeated eulogies of the French Revolution, Montgomery took over the newspaper, changed its name to The Sheffield Iris, and was editor for thirty-one years. Although he toned down the radical politics of the paper, he had the dissenter's love of freedom, and was twice imprisoned for libel, once for printing a song in honour of the storming of the Bastille (which in fact had been previously published by [Gale]) and a second time for his intemperate coverage of a riot in Sheffield. The paper was taken over by a rival in 1825, after which Montgomery devoted himself exclusively to religious verse. He produced some 400 hymns and skilfully adapted many more; in many cases his are the versions that are generally sung today.'

The tune usually sung in Britain is a traditional French one, 'Les anges dans nos campagnes' - like Old Slave, I enjoy singing it, though 'Regent Square' is a fine tune, used in British churches for other hymns. There are some other settings using old 'church gallery' hymn-tunes from the days before church organs that have been rediscovered and can be found on the internet, they work pretty well with it too.
A worthy son of Ayrshire. Don't forget that his raising in the Moravian Church trained him to have concern for humanitarian causes, such as the abolition of slavery and the exploitation of child chimney sweeps.

He achieved some fame with The Wanderer of Switzerland (1806) The poem addressed the French annexation of Switzerland and quickly went through two editions. When it was denounced the following year in the conservative Edinburgh Review as a poem that would be speedily forgotten, Lord Byron came to its defense in the satire English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. (Sorry Eul).
 

Silent_Water

Governor
Sometimes, there are "work songs", of which you can only be almost "stunned" how strong and optimistic in spite of all their experiences the composers and singers must have been - like in this song, which was written in German in a German labour concentration camp in 1933.

The last verse is the most optimistic:

"But for us there is no complaining.
Forever, winter can not stay.
One day we will rise rejoicing.
Dear Homeland, you will be mine again at last!"

In this version of 2016, it is sung in front of the German "Bundestag", the parliamentary assembly in memory of the victims of the German Nazis and their "Nationalsozialismus":


 

Silent_Water

Governor
By the way, I am now daily calling my mother in her retirement home and playing via telephone songs she liked, e.g. by choirs and some music she loved because again of the coronavirus situation, I cannot visit her.

Sometimes, I am playing songs in English although she does not really understand so much English, but she usually had the same taste of music genres which I liked, so I played sometimes "a capella" songs of which I thought, this could sound good even via telephone and of these two she said, these are the best "a capella" - songs she ever heard and she waits now every evening for my telephone calls to hear these and some songs more:


 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
Today is the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth (a bit ancient for me, I only recall when he turned twenty-four and received his first Grammy1608122284038.png - However, I'm sure @old slave and @twonines were present at the actual event)
See Milestones https://www.cruxforums.com/xf/threads/milestones.1536/page-334

Ludwig van Beethoven personally led the premiere of his Seventh Symphony on a benefit concert given on 8 December 1813 for the wounded soldiers who had fought in the Battle of Hanau.
On 2 June 2020, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest) streamed Beethoven's Seventh Symphony conducted by Gustavo Gimeno. This concert was dedicated to all those who have suffered in any way as a result of coronavirus and the crisis it has caused.
The exact theme of this thread!

 

montycrusto

Slave Trader
Today is the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth (a bit ancient for me, I only recall when he turned twenty-four and received his first GrammyView attachment 940214 - However, I'm sure @old slave and @twonines were present at the actual event)
See Milestones https://www.cruxforums.com/xf/threads/milestones.1536/page-334

Ludwig van Beethoven personally led the premiere of his Seventh Symphony on a benefit concert given on 8 December 1813 for the wounded soldiers who had fought in the Battle of Hanau.
On 2 June 2020, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest) streamed Beethoven's Seventh Symphony conducted by Gustavo Gimeno. This concert was dedicated to all those who have suffered in any way as a result of coronavirus and the crisis it has caused.
The exact theme of this thread!

Thank you! I got turned on to Beethoven’s 7th by this movie
 

Silent_Water

Governor
By the way and concerning "islands". Life has become really strange for me because I am working in a hotel which has now become an almost perfect "island" for me. Usually, you expect to welcome guests at a hotel but now in corona-times, we at the reception have become used to disappoint voyagers because you must now have in Germany a doctor's confirmation made during the last 48 hours to be Covid-19 free and private stays are only possible in "emergency cases", e.g. after burst water pipes in your home apartment in the same city etc.. So, our duty is now similar to doorman or even bouncers at a discotheque. We are denying sometimes more people during a day to stay in this hotel than welcoming them.
During my night shift, it happens now that I am alone for 7 hours and the only representant of this international hotel chain in a hotel with very few business travellers or special workers which are still allowed. In some way, I am almost now "a chosen employee" because I still have a working place, I am working alone in a very big building, no one really controls how I work and I am collecting automatic generated reports for the headquarters of this hotel chain, hearing the background music which is different from the daytimes and sometimes so beautiful at night that I stop working, taking my smartphone's "Shazam" app and trying to find out who sings this stunning song that keeps me away from working. It is sometimes for me a night like being alone on an island at night, playing to be working and being a lone island for myself.
But I would really like to know - and I must ask the hotel manager, but how to meet in my nightshifts (?) - who is combining these playlists in this hotel chain because she or he must be a master in finding slow or beautiful sad songs like the following ones.

(Sorry for adding sad songs here but I read this article "Sad music often makes good feelings" in a German weekly that sad songs partly have uplifting psychological effects on sad people because sad songs are helping to "regulate" negative feelings because they are triggering memories of sad moments in life which are combined with good memories of the same persons, for example lost loves but with good and funny memories of the loved ones and this combination gives peaceful feelings in the memories, say the psychologists in this article: )

And now: How can anyone in the world make such a night playlist for a German hotel with such music and who is this person? I really must find out ...

This is the incredible voice of "Eivor Palsdottir" from the "Färöer"-Islands and I really got the feeling that I was listening to a Viking sirene woman singing a rather sad love song in English with some more Vikings in the background making a powerful and mystic music:



And the other background songs of the night in this hotel are also made for kneeling down and almost praying:




 

Silent_Water

Governor
Everything accepted - but we also see in the last examples how different the reactions of human beings to the same music can be - depending on the instant mood of a person, the aims in life or the experiences of a person.
The most people - who heard "Lili Marleen" in war times - loved it, Goebbels hated it because of its "depressive and destroying strength" effect, whereas the - by his own troops and the German people - most respected German general of those times, the "Wüstenfuchs = Desert Fox" Erwin Rommel insisted to have this song played for his troops every evening.
For me today, this version by Lale Andersen sounds like from a very distant historical time and it is funny, but although being German, I like some English versions more than this one because Lale Andersen sings it in "an unusual German" for me. I am not sure, if this is because of her Northern German dialect or because of the language in those times. The letters "rr" are sung overemphasized for me like I usually only hear this in Bavarian dialects of which the most other Germans say, the Bavarians are "rolling" the "r" too much, but her's is a hard rolling, the Bavarian one sounds a bit softer for me.

Bat anyway, there are a lot of reactions in German newspapers and on internet pages about the effects of sad songs which are again a bit funny like this one with a title, which is a "coarse" poem in itself. Could be from a person who is fighting against depressions: "Fick dich ins Knie, Melancholie!" (= "Fuck yourself into your knee, Melancholy!") and "Why sad music can make you happy!" with some more famous examples, starting with a quotation by Robert Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy" 400 years ago:
„Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth; and therefore to such as are discontent, in woe, fear, sorrow, or dejected, it is a most present remedy."


And this shall be my last rather sad song here in this thread because this Franco-Canadian French woman seems to be a master of fighting against her own depressions by singing sad French songs - concerning the pure text - about her fight against almost suicidal depressions ("Je t'aime, mélancholie!" - "I love you, Melancholie!") and spicing it up by half-naked male dancers who are putting the French female audience in ecstasy.
Have fun, girls! ;) :


And good luck to everyone in these times!
 

Frank Petrexa

Governor
Trials of the rich and famous--no one is immune from adversity (even a volunteer).
 

Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
This lassie has been turning up on social media a lot, as a very lively young busking fiddler -
I think she's old enough to pass the age rule now, and she certainly brightens the world
(the saxophonist is unknown to me, but they make a good socially-distanced duo)

 

Frank Petrexa

Governor
Ella Fitzgerald stirs up the "war on Christmas" with a Hollywood secularization of what was once a secular holiday but was hijacked by religion. I've always liked this song (and Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer), commercial though they are. I think kids can relate to them too. I hope the holidays help everyone make it through what is likely to be a very tough winter before the vaccines kick in.
 
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