Today begins the St Anne’s Music Festival 2017 which I hope will be well attended. But, crowded or with just a few listeners, I am quite certain it will be rewarding for all who take part.
Such is the satisfaction of creating something of worth, and the privilege of doing so within such an amazing building. Quite recently the success of the school choir competition, organised by the St Anne Trust – which sadly I missed as it occurred while I was away for a few days – demonstrated just how powerful is the setting in creating atmosphere and a sense of participation in something far greater than ourselves.
In terms of music, we are at that point of creativity all of the time, as are those who draw or write or demonstrate skill that has been learnt through long practice in sport or whatever. So it is not just music that we rejoice in this week, but human creativity reflected in talented singers and instrumentalists.
One of the loveliest of art works in St Anne’s is that of the mosaic of the angelic musicians that was created above the great west doors in 1928, to remind us of the sacrifice and service of the Cathedral’s musicians in the First Word War. This is a gorgeous piece of work that we have the original cartoon of (pictured above), from which the Martin sisters worked with their Italian glass pieces to create a permanent memorial. One might say ‘where are the words to express our thankfulness?’
It is a similar argument for wondering how any work that has cost human effort can be recognised as valuable if we are not told. Every day we see things that raise our eyes above the mundane. That, in so many ways, is sufficient memorial, if we would but consider it carefully enough. How many lives have been lifted by looking at the mosaic of the angelic musicians? How many of us have pondered the artistic glory wrought in a few thousand pieces of coloured glass? How many have thought of the love with which they were put in place to create the memorial?
May every note this week, played and sung, heard or unheard, perfect or not, be created in love of music; joy at being in St Anne’s; happiness in sharing melody and harmony with others. And, for those who come and listen? Well, we shall know, shan’t we?