Ad Fontes

Politics, Theology and Christian Humanism

Memorable musical moments meme

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Doug Chaplin has tagged me on this one. It’s a bloggers (though I’m still not so sure I am one) chain-letter. The meme asks us to share eight memorable musical moments, not favourite pieces, but the moments in which music combined to create memory. The rules are 

Think of eight memorable musical moments, not necessarily all time favourites, but those when, for example, you felt compelled to wait in the car when listening to this amazing song on the radio because you just had to know who it was by. Or the piece you heard on the tv in a drama that drove you straight onto iTunes to download… (remember once we spent the princely sum of 6s 8d on a vinyl single?!). Optional details for each song give where, why and Spotify or youtube links …


At least I can say that I’m still too young to ever spent 6/8 (that’s 33⅓ p) on anything. Here are my eight, in no particular order

  1. A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. When I was twenty, I bought a couple of editions of a jazz magazine. Each copy came with a cassette, and an excerpt from A Love Supreme was on one of them. I was rapt by its troubled passion, its prayer is total humanity communing with the divine. I love it, but jazz is musical marmite.
  2. Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards by Billy Bragg. I remember buying a cassette of his album Workers Playtime as a teenager. This track is the last on the album, and I remember playing it over and over. The mixture of protest song, poetry and humour was an inspiring first to me, and turned me into a complete Bragg fan. Below is an updated version rather than the one I know. It’s still good, but I miss the lines “Doctor Robert Oppenheimer’s optimism fell at the first hurdle” and “The revolution is just a t-shirt away”.
  3. Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré. This was sung by friends of the bride and groom at a wedding I took. The wedding was moving for pastoral reasons, and the gentle, thoughtful beauty of this song has remained with me. Last year, I sang this with the Wolfson(g)ians and loved singing its soaring, melodic tenor line.
  4. Prelude, Adagio et Choral varie sur le theme du ‘Veni Creator’, Op. 4 by Maurice Duruflé. This magnificent organ piece came on the radio one dark and stormy evening. It’s a musical history of the Holy Spirit, and leads into the ancient hymn Veni Creator Spiritus.
  5. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2. Just as U2 were getting big, before they got messianic, there was the Joshua Tree album. The live recording with New Voices of Freedom on Rattle & Hum is still my favourite.
  6. Deus in adjutorium by Claudio Monteverdi. I sang this in a choir in Durham Cathedral as a young undergrad. It was my introduction to early music. Its monotonous opening is almost shocking, punctuated by outbursts of brass, before opening out like an estuary in the alleluia.
  7. Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinéad O’Connor. I remember when this was all over the radio, and then I saw this video.
  8. Goldberg Variations by JS Bach. I’ve got a Glenn Gould recording. This is perfect for sunny mornings at home.

I now tag cycads.

Author: Gareth Hughes

A priest of the Church of England, who is Chaplain of Hertford College, Oxford, and doing Syriac research at Oxford University.

One thought on “Memorable musical moments meme

  1. Pingback: 8 most memorable musical moments « Cycads

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