Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Alleluia Choo Choo!

It really does exist! I have listened to it on a couple of blogs now and- yes- I really do feel sick with embarrassment for its composer who, by all accounts, is a nice man. But what planet is he on?

The piece itself can only be described, in my opinion, as deeply shallow - a phrase, misattributed to Andy Warhol, which expresses the radical disjuncture between the elements of word and music. The tune is expressive not of reverent Christian praise but of mindless and inconsequential jollity.
I am reminded of a deeply disturbing experience I had a few years ago when listening to BBC Radio Three on a Wednesday afternoon.
In the Choral Evensong slot was to be Vespers or Evening Prayer from Clifton Cathedral which, on the face of it, was to be anticipated with pleasure. In the event I was both disappointed and perplexed since the music was in the jazz idiom. I once heard Jazz described as the only kind of music which the performers enjoy more than the audience. In no way could the music be said to be expressive of the text. Rather did it seem like a group of performers using the texts as excuses for musical improvisation- as much as if to imply that the texts themselves were of little interest- but hey! here's some fun music!

So it seems with the Choo Choo Alleluia. Actually another memory comes to mind. It is of those jolly little cassettes with jolly tunes to help young children learn their multiplication tables - although those I recall are somewhat better.

Anyone for Thomas the Tank Engine?

No comments:

Post a Comment