This morning on the way to drop the kids at school Elgar’s Enigma Variations came on, specifically the ‘variation’ played on the radio was ‘Nimrod’ . The conductor this time was Colin Davies and a commendable job was done by all concerned.
What struck me though was that part of the way through I realised I was driving along with tears in my eyes! I told the kids I thought this was a wonderful piece of music and continued to listen until the end. Clearly for me the music has tremendous significance, but it dawned on me that the kids would have no idea *why* it held such significance. To them, it was was (I hope) just an attractively constructed and played piece of music.
I explained that in my mind, whenever I heard it I was watching a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Albert Hall. I briefly described the occasion and the vision of current members of the armed services standing heads bowed whilst poppy leaves floated down from the above them, partly as consecration of their possible sacrifice and in memory of those who died to protect us from tyranny.
Of course my memory is slightly flawed in that it isn’t Nimrod that’s played at that point, but the Last Post. However, I think I managed to get the point over well enough that regardless of whether we feel a war is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, the role of the armed services has always been to do their duty and that this music reminded me of the bravery of those willing to stand up and be counted when their country needed them most.