Possibly the most beautiful piece of music ever written isn't by Mozart, or Debussy, or Vaughan Williams - though on certain days I could argue Williams - it is instead by the modern film score composer Angelo Badalamenti. You won't hear his name mentioned in many blogs, probably because everybody always forgets how you spell it. Anyway the piece of music in question is called 'Laurens Walking' and features in the film 'The Straight Story'. Now the film is about a man called Alvin who wants to go visit his estranged dying brother and make peace with him, as they have not spoken for many years following a devastating fight. Unfortunately Alvin can no longer drive a car and is of such fine old stock that he refuses a lift, correctly gauging that it is something he has to do alone.
However there is no law against Alvin riding a lawn-mower. And that's what he does - all the way over the many hundreds of miles to his brother. It's a a very simple film both tender and warm. And somewhat surprisingly it comes from David Lynch. And yes, it does all make perfect sense.
Anyway, Badalamenti composed a fine score for the film utilising his usual manner of synths teamed up with simple but haunting instrumentation. Quite unusual is the third piece in question on the original soundtrack, which is in the manner of a fine old country waltz. Kicking off with a simple guitar arpeggio that runs through the whole song, a warm keening violin joins in providing a wending, winding refrain that may wander but always gives the impression of a straight journey. A plucked cello provides the steady sound of feet determined yet in no particular hurry. The song is matched by simple, unfussy but breathtaking visuals by Lynch that swoop over endless cornfields and long, straight roads leading off to the horizon, and by shots of Alvin on his lawnmower waving to incredulous passers-by.
I'll quit holding out on you. Here's the piece in question:
Simply beautiful. Perfect stuff to listen to on a Sunday walk with the warm, golden light filtering through the trees and all that. Sometimes I literally play this song four or five times in a row, its that good. I wish Badalamenti did some more pieces in a similar style. If anyone else out there knows of any pieces of music that sound like this - or hell, any sort of music at all that even approaches this level of awesome beauty, please let me know.