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  • Writer's pictureMusic for Christ

Souvenir d'Italia - Saint-Saën

This is a classical piece for solo piano, not to be confused with similarly named Italian classic songs. The piece is perhaps not as lyrical as famous pieces of the Romantic era, but it holds its own charms.

For me, it feels like an journey through the intended country, Italy. As musical motifs are repeated, it's like seeing similar architecture or gardens on an adventure. The piece is sweet, but holds a slightly mischievous character; melancholic yet hopeful.

It reminds me of Psalm 121:

"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains—

from where does my help come?

My help comes from Adonai,

Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip.

Your Keeper will not slumber." (Psalm 121:1-3 TLV)

In this psalm, we are not just staying in place for G-d to protect us. We are on a journey, walking, specifically coming and going (v. 8). These verses capture the dual nature of the piece. There is a journey. We may fall and trip, it's a definite possibility. Yet there is Adonai waiting to help us, to come and lift us up, as the section starting at 3:55 lifts up the mood of the piece. It doesn't matter how often we return to the morose sections, the major sections, G-d, will come to cheer us up.

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