Press Play: “God Is Gone Up” by Gerald Finzi

I loved singing this one as a kid. There’s so much great stuff in it: the booming organ, the ritardando just before the choir enters, and you get to sing the word “seraphicwise”, which must be one of the most glorious words ever.

But the best part was the pure joy of shouting out the loud parts.

Key moment: The surprise chord on the word “glory” at 4:46.

That makes me think of: “Shout” by Tears for Fears.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”


Press Play: “I Was Glad” by Hubert Parry

The coronation of King George VII took place in 1902. There hadn’t been a coronation in Britain since 1838, so it was a big occasion. As such, it needed something with big emotion behind it. Parry’s response was the coronation anthem, “I Was Glad”.

The word “glad” doesn’t quite cover the emotion that Parry injected into this one. With trumpets, a six-part choir, and enough fortissimos to make Handel blush, it feels like the title should be something bigger. Like maybe, “I Was Pumped”, or “I Was Super Excited”, or “I Was Worryingly Over-Enthusiastic”.

Maybe Parry went huge with this one because he didn’t get to compose as much as he might have liked to. His life pulled him in various directions; a professorship at Oxford, constant writing about music history, his father’s obsession with wanting him to pursue a career in insurance…all these things meant that few works were ever seen through to completion. But when they did, as here, they were big.

Key moment: On the last line, “plenteousness within thy palaces,” the sopranos wrap it up with an enormous b-flat. Plenteousness indeed.

That makes me think of: Listen to the last 20 seconds of Parry’s masterpiece. Then listen to this. If those two pieces of music aren’t long-lost twins, I’ll sing a b-flat at the next coronation.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

Press Play: “Pur Ti Miro” by Claudio Monteverdi

Love songs are so one-sided. They’re usually about one person pining over another person, pleading with another person, breaking up with another person. Considering that it takes (at least) two people for love to happen, it’s surprising that there aren’t more love songs written as duets.

Can you imagine how much more interesting Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” would be if Billie herself showed up to sing the last verse? Shouldn’t we hear her side of the story before just accepting that the kid is not his son?

Or how about “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor? Maybe it was all a misunderstanding. Maybe the guy she’s singing about doesn’t, in fact, want her to crumble, or lay down and die. Maybe he was on the way to the florist to buy her an apology bouquet. Don’t you want to hear that last verse?

Anyway, this duet is the touching end to Monteverdi’s landmark opera “L’incoronazione di Poppea”. As Poppaea is crowned as empress, she stares into Emperor Nero’s eyes, and they sing to each other, “I gaze at you, I possess you.”

Key moment: After echoing each other’s phrases for the entire song, they finally share a line at 3:16.

That makes me think of: Saying, “I gaze at you, I possess you” is pretty much the 17th century way of saying this.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

Press Play: “Dixit Dominus” by Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi, had he been born a few centuries later, might have fit in well with the big hair and big guitar solos of the Sunset Strip bands.

Like many 80s rockers, Vivaldi experienced worldwide popularity in his 20s. There were no Billboard charts in the early 1700s, but if there had been, Vivaldi would have been at the top of them. He lived the rockstar life, making his way across Europe, influencing a generation of younger composers (including Bach). Even the title of his most famous piece, The Four Seasons, sounds like a documentary about a debauched night in an LA hotel.

Still need convincing? Take a look at this portrait of Vivaldi, and compare it to this photo of C.C. Deville, the lead guitarist from Poison. Uncanny, no?

But big hair and big guitar solos can only hold popular attention for so long. As he aged and musical tastes shifted, Vivaldi seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Eventually, he died poor and obscure, and his music was ignored for years after his death.

Key moment: The sneaky C-natural at 1:53.

That makes me think of: “Baroque and Roll” by Yngwie Malmsteen.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”