There is a genre of music that is not easy to define. Its effects go beyond the auditory. It’s melody and harmonics speaks to our souls, lifts us to a higher plane, transports us momentarily to a different place, makes us feel more connected. For want of a better word, I will call this type of music, “pensive music.” ‘Benedictus’ by Karl Jenkins is an example.
This melody, from Sir Karl Jenkin’s work The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace, is one of the Welsh composer’s best-known works and surely one of the most beautiful pieces of choral music from the last 50 years. In an interview with Classic FM, Jenkins recounted: “It’s got a unique sound that high, it’s haunting and yet strident in a way, because there’s a lot of tension because of the range of it. It starts with an ascending line, just up a D major triad, and then it rises up and falls down again. It’s a simple tune, and I wouldn’t have thought it had such resonance, but it did.”