Friday, July 4, 2008

On The 4th of July...

Last night, I spent several hours (obsessively) combing through my (massive) music collection, in an attempt to find just the right selection to celebrate my American friends' Independence Day.

I confess, I have a "thing" for American anthems and patriotic music.

You Americans have the privilege of playing and singing some of the most uplifting, inspiring melodies and lyrics in the world. You lucky, lucky people.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" brings tears to my eyes every single time I hear it... A national anthem that has its theme based on an arpeggio? Sheer brilliance. And that soaring pinnacle of the song, that is more-often-than-not slowed, ever so slightly, to heighten anticipation at the conclusion:

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
(Insert the beginnings of wild cheering and whistling of the crowd here)
O'er the land of the freeeeeeee........
And the home of the brave?

It leaves one positively breathless. And I'm not just talking about the singer who performs it.

My favourite American anthem, however, is undoubtedly, "God Bless America". I'm not sure why... perhaps it is the lyrical descriptions of the beautiful landscapes that I can picture in my mind's eye as I listen to it. I have many, many happy memories of travelling with my family, all over the United States. And, a great deal of the literature I studied in University was written by Americans. Much of the symbolism in those books was derived from the beauty of the land, and the deep, emotional connection its citizens have to it.

At the end of "God Bless America", the music swells to a climax, and after nearly bursting with national pride, the song concludes with a phrase that brings the whole sentiment back down to the level of the individual. Suddenly, the emotions become deeply "personal" in the very last line:

"God Bless America! My home sweet home!"

I. love. it.

But I digress. Slightly.

Picture me, once again, wading through musical selections. Listening carefully, with an (overly) critical ear. Considering... and then rejecting just about every, single one. Because I don't know if you've figured this out yet, but I'm just a wee bit picky when it comes to the music I post here...

By eleven-thirty, I still hadn't found anything "worthy", and it was time to drag myself off to bed. But before I closed down my computer, I decided to check my e-mails one last time.

And guess what?

My father had written to me. And attached a little "gift". Ironically, my dear old dad had been listening to music-for-the-fourth-of-July, as well, at the very same time as I had been. (This isn't the first time something like this has happened. We call this strange psychic connection the "Family Radar". Or, the "F.R." for short.)

The very BEST selection he found, he sent to me.

Up over there on the right, you will find a spectacular performance of "The Stars and Stripes Forever". It is played on a monster-sized pipe organ, by the brilliant British organist Simon Preston.

Crank up the volume, my American friends.

Enjoy, and know that I, too, celebrate all that is most wonderful about the United States: Each and every one of YOU.


mrinz said...

Love the music - thank you!

Leeann said...

You are fabulous! I love those songs, too!

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