Wednesday, July 14, 2010

La cathedrale engloutie

I was listening to the Boston classical station on the way to work this morning, which I like to do sometimes to keep things calm and even as I transition from one world to the other. Today I heard a piece I've never heard before, Debussy's La cathedrale engloutie (The Sunken Cathedral).

The piece was meant to tell the story of the doomed ancient Breton town of the old French legend goes, the people were punished for their sins (mostly false piety) as the sea rose up and engulfed the cathedral and all within it. But on a clear day, if you stand on the shore where Ys once stood, you can hear the strains of distant bells and the parishioners chanting as the cathedral rises to the surface and falls again with the swells of the sea. A cautionary tale, I suppose, for those who might follow the same path.

I'd never heard of this before- I find this sort of medieval mythology fascinating. The music is lilting and beautiful...and haunting and creepy at the same time. I love that.

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