Truly Spiritual Music (2)

Today’s selection was to be Spem in Alium, but I’ve hit a brick wall. First of all, I can’t find a decent recording that’s freely available for upload, and worse by far, it seems one of the characters of Fifty Shades of Grey (a book I wouldn’t give dustbin space to), according to the Guardian newspaper, likes it so much he (or she, “Christian”) uses it as background music for all manner of badly written sexual acts. So, it seems, sales are booming and you’ve probably already been introduced to this remarkable 40 part motet by Thomas Tallis.

Instead, some more old Bach. He was a follower of Martin Luther and his St Matthew’s Passion (which I’ve already quoted from on this site) contains some of the most beautiful sacred music ever written. As always, the piece I’ve chosen isn’t precisely the interpretation I would choose to share, but it’s not bad. Why isn’t it great? Because the oboe sounds like a constipated duck. The aria, “I would beside my Lord,” or “Ich will bei meinem Jesu,” is sung by the incomparable Fritz Wunderlich, so even I can forgive the fowl oboe. Why is it a ‘truly spiritual’ piece of music? Because the tune is sublime, and the sentiment bitter-sweet devotion.  

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