Earworm O’the Day

My heart will ne’er be free
to push aside the longings I still feel.
My eyes will ne’er forget
the fields of patchwork green, soft rain so real.
In my dreams I keep searching
for those paths I never find.
By those streams as they ebb and flow,
my heart longs to find peace, to still my mind.

I have no idea why “To Still My Mind” popped into my head as I stepped through my office door this morning. But it did. And it’s been there ever since.

The song, performed by Scottish singer Mae McKenna and written by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, is the first track from the score for “River Queen” — a 2005 film from New Zealand that stars Samantha Morton, Kiefer Sutherland, Cliff Curtis, and Stephen Rea, yet which has eluded me for years. Thanks to YouTube, I have familiarized myself with the score, and it’s superb — lush, atmospheric, and dramatic. If the film delivers on half the promise of its music, I’ll be kicking myself for missing it.


Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev for Crisis Magazine, and he mentioned Jenkins as a contemporary composer of particular interest:

Recently, I have discovered a very interesting composer, Karl Jenkins. He lives in Wales and writes beautiful music, which is bright, accessible, and simple. I regard his Requiem a real masterpiece of contemporary music.

I can’t decide what I think of his Requiem. It veers between undeniably powerful, spiritually-moving material and overly-dramatic, treacly bits. And that’s rarely a good combination for sacred music. (It is, however, a fantastic combination for a film score, which is why I think his work on “River Queen” deserves to be better known.)

Speaking of better known, “Palladio” is doubtless the most famous piece Jenkins has ever written, though almost no one would know him as the composer:

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