Picture the scene: it's a grey, cold, blustery, rainy Edinburgh morning. We've had a night of 60mph winds and torrential downpours; there are weather warnings all over the UK. I step out onto the tarmac at Edinburgh airport ready to board the craft which will whisk me down to London, only to find that it is a tiny 'Indiana Jones' type of plane. Not to worry, I tell myself, I like an adventure….
We taxi onto the runway. We pause, engines straining to get us going. And then we're off, up and away. Staggering from side to side, fighting through the low level turbulence of the cross winds, but climbing, climbing, with tenacity and determination. I silently give the Forth Road and Rail Bridges a nod before we are lost in the clouds.
Once we reach 'the cruise' as the captain has previously put it, the seat belt sign goes off and on goes all our electrical equipment. In my case, I take the opportunity to do a bit of LeapingTracks listening. Headphones in; buttons pressed – what's in store? Gesualdo.
An angelic caramel of harmony oozes into my ears. It turns out that Carlo Gesualdo was a Sixteenth Century renaissance composer of sacred music. It seems that he had a rather dramatic life – see his Wiki entry. Who can know to what extent this fed into his compositions.
But I have to say that it was a trifle unnerving to be bumping around in this tiny plane, whilst being sung to by a choir who might as well have been in the heavens. It rather focused the mind and made me wonder whether there might be a better time to be listening to this beautiful music?
To distract myself, I searched for ideas as to the circumstances in which it would be preferable to listen Gesualdo's work. At the times of the appropriate religious festivals, yes of course. He was particularly famous for his Tenabrae (like Passions) for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday (I have the middle work). But when else? Quiet moments of reflection/meditation?
It is at this moment that the clouds clear and I gaze out at the wonders which always amaze me whenever I take a flight:
When else might it be better to be quiet and reflective than when flying in that most amazing and phenomenal inventions, looking down on our incredible home, giving thanks to whatever spirit/entity/moment one might care to choose for all that we have in our lives.
It turns out that the voices in my ears were singing the perfect accompaniment after all.