Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fingers, Movies and Music

So... I haven't been able to feel two of my fingers on my left hand for about two weeks now. I'm assuming this is a bad thing? It's definitely making typing and other finger-oriented occupations interesting.

Saw "Wit" a couple nights ago. It's an HBO movie (Emma Thompson as lead) about an English professor with cancer. All right, so that's the very abbreviated version. I will not claim it as a favorite or an enjoyable film, but it was compelling... to say the least. Slightly less barebones synopsis: Vivian Bearing (Thompson) is a well-established and very demanding English professor (her specialty is John Donne) when she finds out she has Stage 4 Metastic Ovarian Cancer. Basically, the majority of the film is her narrating her experiences and how she 'got to where she is'. Quotes "Death, be not proud" quite a few times. Also, one of my very favorite orchestral pieces is played at intervals throughout.

Transitioning into that: If you have an hour (Movt. 1 is 27 minutes, Movement to is just over nine minutes and Movt. 3 is 19 minutes) and can stand orchestral music, listen to Henryck Gorecki's "Sorrowful Songs". Probably some of the most beautiful music written in the 20th century. It's a piece for strings and soprano. Heartwrendingly beautiful. Particularly the second movement. The music was written by Gorecki after World War II, the lyrics for the second movement are a prayer to Mary that was inscribed by a young girl on the wall of a cell at Gestapo headquarters in Zakopane, Poland. The other two movements have equally poignant music and lyrics, but I have always loved the second best --you will not understand until you listen to it. You have these long, sustained chords in the strings, providing the foundation for this ethereal soprano melody. Beautiful.

Lyrics from Movt. 2
Mother, Mother, do not cry
Queen of Heaven
Protect me always
Hail Mary, Full of Grace.

Mamo, nie płacz, nie.
Niebios Przeczysta Królowo,
Ty zawsze wspieraj mnie.
Zdrować Mario, Łaskiś Pełna.
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