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Richard

As an avid classical music fan who believes strongly in the therapeutic aspects of the classics, I wanted to share how helpful it can be to tie the mental health awareness week theme of nature in with compositions from the great composers. These often possess titles connected with nature and can be remarkably evocative.

Obviously Vaughan Williams’s ‘The Lark Ascending’ and Vivaldi’s ‘The four seasons’ are very popular and extremely well known. But there are less well known wonders from Bax’s November Woods and Tintagel to Malcolm Arnold’s ‘Larch trees’ written at the beginning of his career. Malcolm Arnold was diagnosed with mental illnesses and the story of his life on the YouTube. Towards the unknown region. A story of survival is very moving indeed. On the theme of nature I think the feelings awakened as Beethoven himself puts it with his pastoral symphony from entering the countryside can be incredibly powerful if one is in the right frame of mind to be connected ‘spiritually’ perhaps. I LOVE walking in the countryside though I’m currently not very fit. I think it can inspire us all. We don’t need to be Beethovens or Shakespeares to be enraptured by the summer day.

Sibelius is one of my favourites. His orchestral works such as Spring Song. The Bard and Tapiola for example. There is a colossal amount of music often especially from the Nordic countries which is so stirring and helps one to feel even more at home with nature. Sibelius is a well-known name but there is Jon Leifs the Icelandic composer who wrote Hekla a piece of music about the volcano and it is one of the loudest pieces of music ever written. Also Einojuhani Rautavaara wrote a piece called Cantus Arcticus a concerto for tape of birds singing with orchestra playing. The music of the living composer Aulis Sallinen also very inspirational. Shadows. Cello Concerto as well as his symphonies. Obviously the list is long. But also the list of numerous rewards and ideas directly from nature even without music is very great too.

Sometimes admittedly it’s nice just to sit and enjoy the silence. Ideas can pour into the mind from watching the pattern of the leaves in the breeze. And watching the behaviour of the numerous birds animals and insects  everywhere.

Perhaps it really is possible to combine all these interests more and more especially with helping mental health in the future. Music. Photography. Writing.  Drawing. The willingness to listen and learn and above all more wonders and delights in the natural world than can ever be counted.

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