Now there are exactly one thousand pieces of writing here in less than six years, over three a week on average, some articles short, some long, most original, a few simply links to other articles of interest. Here is something personal, which explains something of the musical inspiration behind how I came to write these articles (and many others) over the last forty-five years.
About every four years, between the ages of 4 and 48, twelve pieces of music came to me and reflected and revealed my understanding of the world. These were:
The Third Man – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oEsWi88Qv0
This is the music of the 1949 British film, set in post-War Vienna, where my father had ended his War. This music, expressing at the same time tradition and uneasiness, sums up my childhood, which was haunted by tales of the catastrophe that Hitler had brought. Later I understood that it also sums up the mystery of Europe, seen from the East, and its failure to return to the Tradition of Orthodoxy. Instead, it was diverted from the Tradition by its provincial, pseudo-intellectual Western rationalism, which had first misled the Christian Empire, and then chose to die at the hands of an American racketeer.
A Nightingale Sang – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RRNlBGL89g
My father, like all the soldiers of the Eighth Army, loved Vera Lynn and her songs. This was a song that he sang.
Dr Zhivago – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yd2PzoF1y8
In 1968 I was taken to see this film. It had the usual Hollywood absurdities and self-satisfied Cold War anti-Russian stereotypes of ‘Asian barbarism instead of European enlightenment’ (that same European ‘enlightenment’ which brought two World Wars, concentration camps, the genocide of Non-Western Europeans and the A-Bomb). However, it did introduce me to Pasternak, to Russian literature and music. Indeed, the composer, Jarre, officially French, actually had two Russian grandmothers, which is why the music expresses the Russian spirit so well.
By the patriot Smetana, this music expresses the lost spiritual beauty and nobility of the Czech Lands, the original missionary lands of Sts Cyril and Methodius, so cruelly snatched and separated from Orthodoxy by the heretics.
Solveig’s Song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR3N1yBEGbw
When I was 21, I was introduced to the fresh beauty of Norway, to it mountains and fjords. This music sums up for me the beauty of the North.
Je Ne Regrette Rien – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKPvx38D4GM
Living in France in 1980, I came to know Piaf. Of course, every Christian regrets their sins, but this is not the theme of this song. Piaf herself became Orthodox towards the end of her life.
Vocalise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuBexGEe1S4
By the extraordinary Rakhmaninov, whose music is so full of Orthodox values, this expresses the melancholy of Russian exile and yearning for the lost Empire.
Jerusalem – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKRHWT6xdEU
Here is the vision of faithful Old England, summed up by William Blake, and our rejection of ‘the dark satanic mills’ of faithless modern Britain, invented in his age of Imperialist exploitation and slavery.
Fado Português – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARS7Zi-Zpkw
Spending several months on missionary work in Portugal over several years from 1992 on, I came to know the melancholy in Portugal and the South, summed up by the fado.
Mes Jeunes Annees – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB7HI2n0MgY
Trenet, still alive and singing at the time, expresses nostalgia for a lost childhood in the Pyrenees.
Bells Across the Meadows is perhaps the finest piece of music by the little-known English composer Ketelby and expresses the love of the real England.
God Save the Tsar – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEOyvvKhb9k
The Orthodox anthem expresses the Christian Empire to which we all belong. We all have our national flags, but in the centre of each one, we place the unifying double-headed eagle and the hope of the Coming Tsar, who alone can protect us from the global evil that the Western heresy has created.
Since then I have heard many other beautiful songs and melodies, but none that has better reflected or revealed my understanding of the world.