Music Box

Sometimes we need a little inspiration. Here are a few personal suggestions.

Jean Sibelius: Symphony No1 in E minor Op39

My Finnish friend, Heikki, introduced me to Sibelius, who helped him remember home while he was working in Germany. Of Symphony No1 – written when Sibelius was 33 – Heikki said: ‘Can’t you hear the moment in the music when he realises, yes, I can do it, I can write a symphony?’  Career changers are willing to risk rejection, and going back to basics, to discover that they can still master things unimaginably new.

The Waterboys: This is the Sea

For a call to arms in a different genre, I turn to the title track of the 1985 album from which The Whole of the Moon is the best-known song. “These things you keep/You’d better throw them away... But that was the river/And this is the sea!”

Karl Jenkins: Jubilate Deo

This short choral work was commissioned by my church, St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, to mark the millennium. To me, it speaks in three voices: the rippling trumpets of proactivity, followed (beginning at ‘Glory be’) by the virtues of receptivity and acceptance, climaxed (in the ‘Amen’) by bringing both the earlier voices into harmony. It helps me remember the prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous and career changers alike:

God grant me the courage to change the things I can change,
The grace to accept the things I cannot change,
And the wisdom to know the difference.