This is a very difficult choice. Not only must I narrow down my favorites in both music and literature, but I must try to see which ones go well with each other!
In the end, I could not make the final cut. So, after much dithering and many tears of worriment, Urania made me a delicious mojito and I finally saw the light.
Thus, you are blessed to TWO entries today. (Who says there must be only one? Phooey!)
Haley Westenra’s “Dark Waltz”
is the theme song for
Melian and Thingol
from The Silmarillion
“Then . . . afar off he heard the voice of Melian, and it filled all his heart with wonder and desire. . . He came at last to a glade open to the stars, ad there Melian stood: and out of the darkness he looked at her, and the light of Aman was in her face.
She spoke no word; but being filled with love Elwe [Thingol] came to her and took her hand, and straight away a spell was laid on him, so that they stood thus while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above; and the trees of Na Elmoth grew tall and dark before they spoke any word.” (The Silmarillion 55)
Melian and Thingol were the Ainu and Elf who met under the trees of Arda and fell into such an immediate and deep love that they spent years staring at each other. Then they married and proceeded to build the first kingdom in Middle Earth, which flourished within the safety of their love and power, and developed a beautiful civilization. But they had both seen the Light of the Two Trees, which set them on more equal ground and thus made their love possible. But their story is haunted with loss: meeting separated Thingol from his people, and their attempt to protect and preserve their kingdom sets in motion it’s ultimate Fall.
Haley Westenra has long been one of my favorite musicians. Her voice is gorgeous, and her choice of music is always amazing; so every song is clear, poignant, haunting and filled with a sense of the open, wondering wideness of the world.
I have always thought that she was particularly suited to sing of the Elves of Middle Earth, but this song in particular reminded me of Melian and Thingol, of their all-encompassing love as the stars wheel overhead, of the culture and haven that their relationship brought about, and the consequences – both brilliant and tragic – of it all.
(Side note: If you like the clip above, Haley’s song “Across the Universe of Time” seems to describe the Fate of the Elvish love stories in Middle Earth.)
Debussy’s “Le Fille aux Cheveaux de Lin”
as the theme song for
Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse
(Ignore the histrionics of the performer: his actual playing is great.)
“”Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose,” she read, and so reading she was ascending, she felt, on to the top, on to the summit. How satisfying! How restful! All the odds and ends of the day stuck to this magnet; her mind felt swept, felt clean. And there it was, suddenly entire; she held it in her hands, beautiful and reasonable, clear and complete, the essence sucked out of life and held rounded here – the sonnet.” (121)
This the ultimate perfection of music and literature together.
Woolf and Debussy seemed to have similar approaches to their arts: unconventional, melodic, and heart-tugging.
It was tempting to pair Woolf’s “The Waves” with Debussy’s “Le Mer”, but while they undoubtably would work together, it is these two particular works that touch me on their own: the simple and tender beauty of this Debussy piece, and the gentle, heart-revealing narrative of “To The Lighthouse”.
In tandem, they open up worlds of experience in love and life.
(Side note: This is the one piece of music to which it might be possible for me to be seduced. Just in case you were wondering.)