“Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis”

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis is gorgeous, ethereal and, I came to discover, difficult to capture in words. Out for dinner the other night, I confessed to my husband that I was having trouble getting my essay about it off the ground. It was so clear in my mind, the … Read more

Waking to Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “The Lark Ascending”

Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “The Lark Ascending” falls into that delicious category for me, of classical pieces I discover upon awakening. On weekdays I set my iPad alarm to an HD classical station and at 4:06am the music pierces my dreams, awakening me in the kindest of ways (until the “real” alarm blasts me out of … Read more

Music for Grace — a Top 10 playlist for dying

I thought my friend Grace had died already. This past week I was away on a five-day personal retreat without internet, so I had to go with the old-fashioned news source: one’s instincts. In our last email exchange, three weeks earlier, she’d been frank. “I’m very weak. They (the hospice care team) told me I … Read more