Vampires and Crematoriums

So I was watching Breaking Dawn: Part 1 last night, and whilst I was deciding on whether I could deal with another minute of the male chauvinistic story (no offence to Twilight lovers, in fact I love the first film, but you have to be honest – Bella is passed from man to man like a newspaper on the underground), a classical tune in the background caught my attention.

It was Jeremiah Clark’s “Trumpet Voluntary” being played by a violin quartet during the wedding scene. I recognised it straight away, and thought it so wierd as it has such a regal sound for a wedding, especially for a film like Breaking Dawn.

The reason I knew what the song was, and this is going to sound like a real history geek kind of thing to say, but it’s because I once bought an album called The Magic of the Proms because it had a couple of tracks on it that reminded me of school and the First World War (funny how it reminds me of the two together. Depressing really – war and school). There’s something about the tracks that make me think of all the pomp and jingoism and patriotism before the First World War, as most of these tracks really are quite regal and poncy, like “Trumpet Voluntary” and also “Pomp and Circumstance March No 1” by Elgar. Elgar tried to disassociate the link that many people made between his music and jingoism.

Then there’s “Jerusalem“, composed by Hubert Parry, with lyrics taken from the poem originally by William Blake; the song at the beginning of many England games and at the end of every commemoration service that my school held at the end of every year in Canterbury Cathedral. Everybody seemed to love it. Funny how few people actually read into the words – if they did, they would have realised that the words are actually reflecting on the fact that England, rife with “dark, satanic mills”, is still trying to reach its Jersualem – not quite patriotic in the way you first think. “Nimrod from the Enigma Variations“, again by Elgar, always brings a tear to my eye – cue battle scene footage.

Finally, this is the track that I think I need to bar from bus journeys, and this is going to sound really geeky, but it practically makes me sob every time I listen to it in my headphones. I get the impression that many people think that Holst adapting part of the tune from his “Jupiter from The Planets” as a backdrop to the poem “I Vow to Thee My Country” by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, was a scandalous crime. But I love a good scandal and I love this song, though I’m probably showing myself to be a bit of a philistine. Strangely, Holst’s patriotic adaptation was written in 1921 after the First World War. Though I love this song, I am in no way a Royalist or land-lover (though I do like this country to an extent). To me, it’s quite a melancholy piece full of minor chords. It doesn’t make me think of how great this country is, but rather how many wars it’s waged. I will have this song at my funeral. It will play as everyone walks into the crematorium. And they will have to listen to the whole goddamn thing.

In all honesty, I didn’t think Breaking Dawn: Part 1 was too bad – some of it I enjoyed. And I bet you never thought that a history themed blog post could start with a Hollywood film like that of the Twilight Saga. But this is still a young blog, and I need to get some hits somehow.