Sitting here at work trying to complete a brief and frustrated by the pesky forces of writer's block. Like Hezbollah, those blocky guerrillas are dug-in pretty good, hiding in the bunkers of my head. Thinking about something else for a moment is the best way for me to rout writer's block out of its hiding places.
I am listening this morning to Sir Edward Elgar's Symphony No. 1, (1908) (London Symphony Orchestra). To the extent that he is known by Americans at all, Sir Edward Elgar is thought of for his Pomp and Circumstance marches. Pomp and Circumstance No. 1 is overused at graduations and similar events; the trio theme from this piece is the melody for the British patriotic song "Land of Hope and Glory." Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme (better known as the Enigma variations) are also worth a listen.
In any case, Elgar's Symphony No. 1, particularly the fourth movement, "Lento-Allegro," is perhaps my favorite piece of music.
It is amazing how particular pieces of music become associated in one's mind with specific memories. Elgar's Symphony No. 1 reminds me of an especially bleak period of my own life -- when I hear certain chords, it's like I'm there again. For this reason (although it is not true today), I like to play it when I'm on a melancholia jag. I wonder about that, I'd like to talk to a neurologist or a shrink about it sometime. Still, despite some memories dredged up whenever I play Symphony No. 1, it is one of the favorite inhabitants of my music cabinet.