Music for the Dying

Soothing: Music in sorrowful times can ease, encourage and uplift the soul PIC: CBSNEWS.COM
Soothing: Music in sorrowful times can ease, encourage and uplift the soul PIC: CBSNEWS.COM

In one scene in the 1987 movie, “A Prayer for the Dying,” a priest is seen administering the last rites to a dying man. The man is a professional killer on the run from his past. In a movie about the quest for redemption and the yearning for mercy by a thoroughly flawed man, this may appear unsurprising.

But there is music playing in the background. That music is classical music. This is the music of the medieval period, past through the Renaissance era, beyond the common period, the 20th century, and right up to the present postmodern period.

It is in the nature of classical music to make the unfamiliar sound inviting; emotional turmoil sound noble; pain sound bearable, and the bearable sound tasteful. And even if you are sceptical of or unfamiliar with it, as long as you are open minded, by its special pleading for your listenership, classical music will move and even awe you.


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