It has always intrigued me how music can manipulate the emotions. Sometimes having a euphoric and happiness inducing affect. Occasionally an exhilarating and uplifting one, and on other occasions inducing sadness and tears.
My mother, a completely unsentimental woman could not bear to listen in company to a boy soprano or a group of young trebles, for fear we would see her tears and laugh at her.
Some very high coleratura voices, particularly when singing Richard Strauss, have the same affect on me, and I find myself shaking and almost at screaming point.
This is the physical reaction to certain sounds and pitches and is, I think, a separate thing from the result of listening to an immensely moving piece of music.
Last week, our choir at St. Mary's sang "Wash me throughly" which has, to my delight, an alto line which is lower - considerably - than the bass line. I sang a bottom D and loved it.
Today we sang "Solus ad Victimam" by Kenneth Leighton.
For anyone who doesn't know it, it is the story of Christ's journey to the cross. Not the most cheerful piece in the repertoire of the Anglican church, but sung really well, and it was this morning, it should and did have a quite spine-tingling affect on anyone who really listens.
To my surprise (and consternation) I found myself choking on tears and fighting to sing the last magnificent phrases.
What a privilege it is to have good hearing and to enjoy the great blessing of listening to music.